Kia has racked up a number of awards over the past year. However, none of these accolades were as notable as the AutoPacific 2017 Ideal Vehicle Award, which was ultimately taken home by the 2017 Kia Sportage. This group surveys more than 50,000 owners regarding their interest and feelings on a number of 2016 and 2017 models. Considering the abundance of options that are available, it’s rather impressive that the 2017 Kia Sportage came out on top. As the press release notes, the judges ultimately commended the vehicles for their “ride and handling, interior storage, safety features, power and acceleration, and technology.” As you’re about to learn, the SUV certainly delivers when it comes to these specific attributes.
“We’re honored to hear that the Sportage has earned AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award and that we are succeeding in our mission to provide our customers with world-class products,” said Orth Hedrick, the vice president of product planning at Kia Motors America. “The fourth-generation Sportage is the best iteration of our esteemed nameplate, now with a stellar combination of sharp design, clever utility and advanced safety features.”
Below, we’ve explored why the 2017 Kia Sportage ended up taking home the Ideal Vehicle Award…
Reason #1: Innovative Technology
Kia provides a host of technological amenities that will surely improve any commute or journey. It starts with the UVO eServices system, which provides easy access to a number of notable application via the seven- or eight-inch touchscreen display. Thanks to the accompanying Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, drivers can also capitalize on many of their phone’s basic capabilities, including texting and calling. The unit even allows occupants to search through Yelp and other similar programs, thus leading to maximum convenience. While many brands offer some type of infotainment service, none of these offerings are as advanced as Kia’s unit.
Reason #2: Reasonable Interior Space
Considering the Kia Sportage’s standing as an SUV, it shouldn’t be overly surprising that the vehicle delivers excellent cargo space. Ultimately, drivers will have the opportunity to capitalize on 30.7-cubic-feet of space when the seats are completely hidden, meaning they’ll have more than enough room to fit any type of luggage or equipment. Plus, thanks to the inclusion of the 60/40 flat-folding rear seats and the accompanying dual-level cargo floor, owners will find that it’s relatively simple to fit both cargo and passengers.
Engineers even made it easy to load all of that cargo into the Sportage. Thanks to the addition of Smart Power Liftgate, drivers won’t have to fumble with their keys while their hands are full. Instead, the system will automatically detect that you’re in possession of the key, and it will open automatically when you get close enough to the vehicle.
Reason #3: Surprising Performance
Kia’s vehicles aren’t necessarily known for their performance capabilities, but engineers took their engine offerings to a whole new level in the 2017 Kia Sportage. The 2.4-liter engine is incredibly muscular, delivering an impressive 181 horsepower and 175 pounds-feet of torque. Plus, thanks to a number of fuel-saving technologies, owners will also be able to anticipate an impressive 30-mile-per-gallon highway fuel efficiency, allowing them to save some extra money at the gas pump.
Somehow, the smaller 2.0-liter engine elevates those performance specs to insane levels. Drivers can ultimately anticipate an impressive 240 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque, which means they won’t have any issues cruising past their fellow drivers on the highway. The uptick in power leads to a predictable decline in efficiency, although the 26 miles per gallon on the highway is still notable.
The vehicle was also specifically designed to accommodate all of this power. The brand engineered the SUV around the Iso-Structure, which will improve rigidity (which will vicariously impact handling and performance). Meanwhile, the all-wheel-drive system will optimize traction, meaning you won’t think twice about traveling through any type of odd terrain.
Reason #4: Reliable Safety
The 2017 Kia Sportage includes a number of safety functions that are intended to both prevent accidents and protect in the event of an emergency, providing occupants with the utmost security. In regards to preventative features, inclusions like the Anti-Lock Brake System provide maximum stoppage power, which could be especially useful if you find yourself in a dangerous situation. Meanwhile, the Electronic Stability Control will be appreciated on those slick mornings, as the system assures that the SUV will remain on the proper path.
If you find yourself driving through a monotonous area, then you’ll quickly learn to appreciate the Hill Start Assist Control, which adds an extra bit of power when traveling up an incline. Meanwhile, the Downhill Brake Control system will help drivers maintain complete control of their vehicle, even when they’re traveling down a steep slope.
In the event of an emergency, occupants can trust that the brand’s Advanced High-Strength Steel body will absorb the majority of the impact, keeping the dangerous energy away from the passengers. Of course, the extensive airbag system should also protect, and the accompanying sensors will assure that the unit is deploying the airbags with the proper amount of pressure (thus preventing injuries).
Reason #5: Stylish Exterior
Kia’s vehicles, including the 2017 Sportage, are very affordable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that engineers failed to make these models stylish. In fact, the Kia Sportage is one of the most striking SUVs in the class, including a number of exterior features that improve the vehicle’s overall aesthetics. Engineers included sleek lines and sudden curves throughout the exterior, making the Sportage a lot less boxy than some of its competitors.
Furthermore, engineers added a unique grille to the front, which proves to be the perfect complement to the exclusive hood design. The wheel arches are also one-of-a-kind, and the innovative design will ultimately lead to fellow drivers gawking at the accompanying wheels. Finally, the wheelbase has been extended for the 2017 model year, thus giving the Sportage a much more intimidating stance.