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2017 Kia Sportage vs Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

2017 Kia Sportage vs Mazda CX-5

Compact and midsize crossovers are getting sportier, more fuel-efficient, and just better all the time these days, so it's no surprise they're dominating the market. Two of the very best at the moment--that also represent pretty good value for money--are the 2017 Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Let's compare them to see which one is the better choice.

2017 Kia Sportage vs Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Styling

The previous Sportage was a big success for Kia, which was largely because of its knockout looks. Kia could have played safe with this new version but instead the Korean automaker went bold, especially at the front with its completely redesigned lights and grille and available "ice cube" fog lights. At first glance, the new styling could be a love or hate design, but linger a little longer and most will decide this is a smart and fabulously individual design.

The refreshed Hyundai Santa Fe Sport looks a lot like a slightly bigger version of the Tucson, which itself is heavily based on the Sportage. So, if you like the Sportage you're very likely to find the Santa Fe Sport to your liking too, although the Hyundai is notably more conventional than its inspiration. This styling comes down to whether you want something unique or something ordinary--and we lean toward the Kia's uniqueness.

Power and Performance

Two four-cylinder engines are available in the 2017 Kia Sportage, which are a 2.4-liter developing 181 horsepower and a 2.0-liter turbo producing an impressive 240 horsepower. The steering and ride are better than the previous model and both engines are strong, but the turbo is very good indeed and all models are available with all-wheel drive.

It probably won't come as too much of a shock that the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport also has 2.4-liter inline-four and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines producing pretty much the same power as the Kia's powerplants. If you were pushed to choose between these two related crossovers, the Sportage is quite a bit lighter and that makes it a little more nimble.

Features and Equipment

The Kia Sportage is actually a value-focused model, but you probably wouldn't know that unless you saw a price list. Value has always been Kia's strong point, but the stellar shift upwards in quality recently hasn't dented that philosophy. Even base LX models get standard power features, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, touchscreen audio with six speakers, satellite radio, a rearview camera, Bluetooth hands-free calling, and streaming audio.

The Hyundai offers a similar standard package, with all models featuring cruise control, keyless entry, daytime running lights, 17-inch alloys, projector headlights with LED accents, LED taillights and an AM/FM/XM/CD player with auxiliary and USB ports and Bluetooth audio streaming.

Interior

Don't be put off by the compact classification of the 2017 Kia Sportage as there's a good amount of room inside this crossover for five adults. Of course, the higher you go up the trim levels the more luxurious and feature-packed the Sportage becomes, but even entry level models are great places to be. The dash is a bit busy with lots of buttons, but some will prefer that to a wholly menu-driven touchscreen system.

There's even more room inside the Santa Fe Sport, but it is bigger on the outside and costs more for that extra space too. The style and quality is almost identical to the Sportage, but, to be honest,the extra space has no clear purpose when there isn't a third row for additional passengers. If you want more room than you find in the Sportage and you're going to pay more, a model with a third row seat probably makes more sense.

Learn More about the Kia Sportage

2017 Kia Sportage vs Mazda CX-5

As these are very similar vehicles it's almost impossible to separate them. Yes, the Hyundai is bigger with more interior space than the 2017 Kia Sportage, but you do pay more for the privilege. The exterior styling of the Sportage is more modern, more unique and more aggressive than the Hyundai, so that, and the fact the Sportage is less expensive, helps us recommend the Kia in this head-to-head battle.