The Sportage is offered in LX, EX and SX models. All but the SX come with a 182-horsepower, gasoline direct-injected 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that returns 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. The SX comes with a turbocharged gasoline direct-injected 2.0L 4-cylinder that makes a very competitive 260 horsepower. All Sportages are available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, with a 6-speed automatic transmission tasked with putting power to the wheels.
Kia's Dynamax all-wheel-drive system shows some off-road aspiration by offering a locking center differential that can lock the power split 50/50 front to rear at lower speeds. The Sportage operates in a "smart" mode most of the time to optimize on-road performance.
Underneath the Sportage, a MacPherson strut-type front and multi-link rear suspension provide crisp handling yet good ride comfort. This setup helps maximize cargo and passenger space, Kia says. The Sportage features a lightweight hydro-formed subframe, with isolated front and rear suspensions, to help keep road noise out of the cabin. There's room for five in the Sportage and the back seats fold down neatly for a flat cargo floor.
In addition to front seat-mounted side airbags as well as side curtain airbags and front active headrests, the Sportage includes electronic stability control plus anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, a system that helps provide full stopping power in panic-braking situations.
Modern technology and connectivity features abound in the Sportage. The LX trim includes auxiliary and USB inputs, as well as Bluetooth with steering-wheel controls, for hands-free calling. Sirius satellite radio is also included with a trial subscription. Kia's new UVO communication and entertainment system is standard on the EX and SX models. Developed with Microsoft, it can bring up music easily through voice controls; the system includes SD-card capability as well as HD radio.
The Sportage includes a surprisingly long list of standard equipment, including power locks and windows, air conditioning and a 6-speaker sound system. EX models add larger alloy wheels, leather seats, side-mirror indicators, privacy glass and extra power outlets, as well as an expanded options list. SX models are equipped like a luxury vehicle, with dual-zone automatic climate control, a telescopic steering wheel, roof rails and other upgrades. Heated seats are available.
The EX and SX now come with standard leather seats. And there was some other equipment shuffling, but for the most part, the 2016 Sportage is about the same as the outgoing model.