Believe it or not, the previous-generation KIA Sportage was in dire need of looking fresh in order to survive the grueling compact SUV landscape in the US.
Unlike in Europe, where the Sportage has more than just held its own against pretty much everyone except the Tiguan and the Nissan Qashqai in its segment, the US model has struggled to keep up its rivals. And that’s a little strange considering how people actually talk positively about the Sportage’s appearance.
And by the way, that was before the all-new model came out at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and started to spark some minor controversy whether or not it was a visual downgrade compared to the car it was replacing.
As with pretty much everything in life, there are two sides to this story as well. In terms of performance, on-board tech or interior design & quality, the all-new Sportage is obviously an improved car. So people concerned with practicality and quality should respond to what KIA are doing in this segment, even in the US.
Visually however, and without trying to force any opinions on anyone, the old Sportage had a pretty dynamic front end, don’t you think? As opposed to this pseudo-Subaru Tribeca design which a lot of people are complaining about.
Of course, KIA is banking on customers not looking at the car through those eyes, and focusing more on its improved exterior features such as the Bi-HID headlights (with Dynamic Bending Light), LED fog lamps and taillights or those fancy 19″ wheels.
But since inside is where the “magic happens” with most SUVs, it’s clearly worth noting that the 2017 Sportage packs a good amount of driver assistance tech such as Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist.
Customers will also enjoy the UVO3 infotainment system (7″ display), running Android Auto & Apple CarPlay, with access to apps like Pandora and Soundhound, though not as much as they’d enjoy the bigger 8″ touchscreen – available on the top of the range SX Turbo version.
With the all-new Sportage, KIA North America will definitely be aiming at the likes of the 2017 Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and other top-selling compact SUVs, seen as how the larger Sorento has managed to stay very competitive against its own rivals.