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Monday, November 21 2016 08:17

Test Drive - Rockin' the Road: 2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo

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While we're still not among their ranks as an owner, there is no other automotive brand on the road that my wife and I tend to like across-the-board more than Kia. There's certainly some specific models that I love from other makers, but when we're talking about consistency from top to bottom, over the past few years, Kia has positioned themselves to have their entire family of vehicles feel like the truly belong together - from the entry-level Rio to the K900 Luxury Sedan. Toward the middle of the pack are the crossovers, and in that "compact SUV" scale lies the 2017 Kia Sportage - recently named a 2017 "Best Buy Award Winner" by my friends at Kelley Blue Book, and a "Rock Father Pick" among them. If you're in the market for a solid crossover that wins on many levels, it's time to give the Sportage a look.

2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo Review

The 2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo that I was driving in the area around Rock Father HQ is Hyper Red with a black interior, the 6-speed automatic transmission attached to the 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder engine. A front-wheel drive model, the ride offered some serious torque - rocketing from a stop and pulling those of us in the cockpit along, but also serving to remind me that due to the weather here in Northern Illinois, the all-wheel drive would be my personal choice in dealing with rain, ice and snow.

2017 Kia Sportage Review

Size-wise, this is perfect for a family of four - a vehicle that is both spacious and stylish, with a nice amount of cargo space in the rear. If more space is needed, you're probably going to want to check out one of my favorite vehicles - the Kia Sorento (featured here and here), available in multiple packages, including one with third-row seating.

As always, Kia's UVO infotainment system and Harmon/Kardon Premium Audio System are excellent (UVO's nav features are among the best anywhere), and safety features like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking and rear back-up camera are all standard.

2017 Kia Sportage Review

In its class, the Kia Sportage is similar in size (technically a bit smaller) to one of our daily drivers here at HQ - a Chevrolet Equinox (which we've had quite a few problems with... including an engine replacement) - but feels just leagues above it, again really solidifying why it nabbed the top spot in the category at KBB. And, while other makers are shrinking their warranties, Kia offers a 10-year/100K mile Limited Powertrain Warranty, paired with 5-year/60K Limited Basic Warranty and Roadside Assistance. While upfront price and things like mileage (combined 23mpg here) are important, knowing that you're covered in the years down the line has become a bigger deal for us - especially since we put a lot of miles on our rides.

And the all-important kid-test? The 2017 Kia Sportage is 100% Rock Daughter-approved!

2017 Kia Sportage Review

The LX model starts at just $22,990, while the SX Turbo starts at $32,500. As-driven, this one carried a sticker price of $33,395 ($32,500 + $895 freight and handling).

With just one year to go on our current car payment here, there's a good chance that my wife and I could become Kia owners once that commitment is all wrapped-up.

Learn more and build your own Sportage at Kia.com

2017 Kia Sportage Review

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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