2017 Kia Sportage SX AWD

Written By Anqoinette Crosby

There are days when I want to go off the beaten path for a few hours to unplug. This time, I decided to take a long scenic drive along the George Washington Parkway to Gravelly Point Park in Arlington, Virginia. This hidden gem has stunning views of the District and is also the best place to watch airliners fly surprisingly close overhead as they take off and land at Reagan National Airport.

The exhilarating experience is even better inside the 2017 Kia Sportage SX AWD, as the panoramic sunroof elevates plane watching to WOW-level. Singing along to Bruno Mars’ That’s What I Like on the eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system between sips of peach-berry iced-tea, I was blissfully immersed in the Kia’s stress-free zone.

Watching the aircraft reminded me the Sportage’s 2017 redesign was inspired by aviation. The South Korean automaker says modern fighter jets informed the sassy, bold exterior styling of the fourth generation of its compact crossover. A stylish blend of hard and soft, the Kia’s sweeping feminine curves are counter-balanced by the in-your-face masculinity of its wide “tiger nose” grille and menacing quad fog lights.

The interior design is also wonderfully contemporary and pleasing to the eye. Among the SX Turbo’s standard features are a heated steering wheel and paddle shifters, heated and ventilated power adjustable front seats and LED interior lighting, which adds a warm welcoming glow to the cabin at night. There’s also an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment interface and a straightforward navigation system. Tasteful gloss-black interior accents cap it all off with a hint of elegance.

While the Kia's overall size might lead you to believe otherwise, legroom is great in all seating positions. Even six-foot adults can sit comfortably behind other six-foot adults in the Sportage. Outward visibility is good all around and the driving position is good for hours of fatigue-free motoring.

One of my favorite features is the hands-free power tailgate, because it seems I’m always loaded down with stuff. You’ll find 30.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seat and 60.1 cubic feet with both of its split-folding seatbacks lowered. While other models in the class offer more room in this regard, I found the Sportage to be adequate for my needs.

In the Sportage, Kia's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine pumps out 240 horsepower and 237 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and all wheel drive. Fuel economy is an estimated 20 mpg in the city, 23 on the highway and 21 overall.

While I wouldn’t call it fast, the Kia is both entertaining and agile. The latter quality infuses driving it with good confidence. Similarly, ride quality is a nice balance between comfort and control. Happily, even with its athletic nature, the Sportage is also remarkably quiet for its class.

Safety is always a paramount concern and Kia’s product planners packed the SX Turbo with a solid roster of features to help keep you and your passengers out of harm’s way.  Dual front and full-length side-curtain airbags are complemented by a rear-view camera, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and front/rear parking assist. These add yet another layer of confidence and convenience. Even better, all of those primo features are standard equipment.

For 2017, Kia Sportage pricing starts at $23,200. The SX AWD Turbo comes in at $34,895.00.

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