2017 Kia Sportage: More style, sophistication and spirit

By Bob Nagy on September 8, 2015 12:25 PM

Making its global debut in Frankfurt, the all-new Kia Sportage steps up its game with a fresh new look and features. Although these images are of a top-line Euro-spec variant, we're told they reflect what we can expect next spring when the new Sportage arrives as a 2017 model.

As Kia previously confirmed, this compact 5-passenger front-drive/all-wheel drive crossover SUV features edgier styling from the automaker's European design unit with input from its Korean and California studios. The new Sportage is slightly longer but no taller than the current model and boasts and an additional 1.2 inches of wheelbase and better aero detailing that trims the drag coefficient from 0.35 to 0.33.

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Melding sharp creases with flowing contours that Kia says echoes a modern jet fighter, the recast Sportage pops its curb appeal with bolder fascias and more prominent fender bulges to accommodate new 16-inch through 19-inch wheel/tire fitments. Up front, the Sportage features a bolder take on the firm's signature "tiger-nose" grille flanked by restyled projector-beam headlamps with the new top-line Euro GT model adding "ice-cube" LED fog lamps and aluminum-look faux skid plates at both ends. The tail on the new Sportage borrows touches from the Provo Concept, most evident in its slim-line taillamps linked by a narrow brightwork strip. 

Quietest, roomiest and safest Sportage ever

Less evident but no less critical to this makeover is a subtle re-proportioning. Thinner A-pillars and C-pillars coupled with a slightly taller rear glass improve driver sightlines while the larger rear hatch cutout lowers liftover by nearly two inches. Look even deeper and you'll find more robust central structure made from 51 percent ultra high-tensile steel that improves impact resistance while increasing torsional rigidity by 39 percent. The chassis has a new and more refined suspension that significantly improves both ride and handling as well a larger brakes that bolster stopping power.  

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Rich in soft-touch surfaces, the Sportage's cleaner, quieter and more ergonomically styled cabin complements additional passenger and cargo space with a host of new available premium touches that range from upgraded seats and the latest in connected infotainment systems to wireless smartphone charging and a Smart Power Tailgate. New safety features will include Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Auto High Beam Assist and a Speed Limit Information Function. 

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In Europe, the Sportage will be powered by Kia's 1.6-liter direct-inject gasoline engine in 130-horsepower naturally aspirated or 177-horse turbocharged form as well as 1.7-liter and 2.0-liter turbodiesel engines. Beyond the existing 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions, the Euro Sportage will offer a new 7-speed double-clutch automatic. No word yet on what we'll see under the hood here, but it seems likely the existing 2.4-liter/180-horse naturally aspirated 4-cylinder and the 240-horse/2.0-liter turbo four will continue, with the 1.6-liter turbo and 7-speed DCT a possibility. We expect to see the 2017 Kia Sportage in full U.S. guise at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

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