In the quickly growing market of crossovers and compact SUVs, only a few brands have released 2017 models. Ford and Kia are ahead of the game, showing us their latest and greatest only halfway through 2016. Today, we’re comparing the 2017 Kia Sportage vs Ford Escape. We’ll take a look at pricing, specs, design, performance, safety, features, efficiency, and more to help you pick the best compact SUV for your needs.
Kia Sportage (base)
Engine: 2.4L 4-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 23 City / 30 Hwy
MSRP: From $22,990
2017 Kia Sportage Review
Totally redesigned, the 2017 Kia Sportage looks like no other vehicle in the US. Features like the Band-Aid grille, quad LED fog lamps, and bug-eyed head lamps truly make this compact SUV stand out. The 2017 Sportage has a rounded, more simple rear-end, and a sporty stance to balance out the uniqueness found up front.
While Kia updated the cabin of the Sportage, it’s less dramatic than the exterior. You’ll find more soft-touch materials and high-quality trim inside this SUV. Road noise has been decreased significantly from last year. The layout of buttons and gauges is driver-centric, and is divided into 2 parts. A screen sits upon the top half, while a variety of buttons and knobs are set lower to control items like climate and audio.
Four adults should have no problem getting comfortable in the Sportage. Behind the 2nd row of seats, this SUV offers 30.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the back seats down, and you’ll find an average cargo area for the class. Small additions like a dual-level cargo floor and flatter-folding rear seats are welcome improvements.
There are 2 engines available in the 2017 Kia Sportage. The base option is a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that produced 181 hp. The more powerful option is a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that offers 240 hp. Both engines come with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and paddle shifters are standard in the SX trim. AWD is available in every trim. It’s not the quickest or sportiest crossover available, but the typical driver will be satisfied with the power of the turbo engine, if not the base engine.
Fuel economy is slightly below average in the Sportage. The base engine achieves a respectable 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, but with AWD these numbers decrease to 21 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. With the turbo, expect around 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. With turbo and AWD, you’ll achieve an estimated 20 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
The new Kia Sportage design held up almost perfectly to crash testing, achieving the esteemed “Top Safety Pick +” rating from the IIHS. We’re still waiting for an NHTSA rating, but we expect this crossover to receive 5 stars.
Every 2017 Sportage is equipped with a backup camera. The list of available safety tech is very long, with options like blind spot monitors, rear cross traffic alerts, front and rear parking sensors, automatic high beams, pre-collision braking, lane departure warnings, and more.
USB, Bluetooth, a 5-inch touch screen with infotainment, satellite radio, and a backup camera come standard. Optional features include a fast-charing USB port, navigation, dual-zone auto climate control, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, heated seats, 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, sport suspension, power tailgate, and much more.
Ford Escape (base)
Engine: 2.5L 4-cylinder
Fuel Economy: 21 City / 29 Hwy
2017 Ford Escape Review
The 2017 Ford Escape has also been redesigned for the 2017 model year, but the exterior change is much less dramatic. Those who know the 2016 Escape will have no trouble recognizing the 2017 model. Ford evolved the Escape’s grille into a hexagonal centerpiece like the Ford Edge. It’s a sleek, fairly simple design that should appeal to the masses.
Overall interior quality is much improved for 2017. The interior layout of buttons and gauges is somewhat complex and attractive, laced with modern Ford DNA. The design and materials are new and of high-quality for the class. Sound deadening is also improved, creating a more peaceful driving experience.
You should have no problem fitting 4 adults in the Escape. The rear seats aren’t the roomiest in class, but they do recline. There is 34 cubic feet of cargo space behind the 2nd row of seats, which is slightly above average for the class. The low cargo floor also makes loading and unloading large items a breeze.
The base engine is a 2.5L 4-cylinder that produces 168 hp, but you probably won’t find many of these at the dealership. Next up is a 1.5L 4-cylinder EcoBoost turbo engine that produces 179 hp. Finally, there is a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 245 hp. The 2017 Escape is one of the best handling vehicles in its class. While the 2.5L 4-cylinder engine offers lackluster acceleration, both turbo options offer plenty of power. The 2.0L turbo offers top-of-class towing capacity, rating at 3,500 pounds. The 1.5L and 2.0L engines are available with 4WD.
With the 2.5L 4-cylinder engine, expect to achieve around 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. The 1.5L turbo will achieve a more impressive 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. At the top, the powerful 2.0L achieves 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. These numbers decrease very slightly when 4WD is added.
We’re waiting on crash test results for the 2017 Escape. Last year, this compact SUV achieved imperfect scores. The 2016 Escape achieved 4-stars from the NHTSA. This SUV achieved “good” IIHS ratings in every category except the difficult “small overlap front” test. In this test, the 2016 Escape achieved a concerning “poor” rating. We’ll see if Ford’s redesign will improve crash test ratings.
Every new Escape will have 7 airbags, rearview camera, Ford MyKey, and more. Optional safety features are improved this year, including adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitors, parking sensors, and more.
Standard features include rearview camera, Sync infotainment, 4.2-inch screen, power accessories, and more. Upgrades include leather upholstery, 10-way power seats, upgraded audio, dual USB ports, hands-free tailgate, memory seats and mirrors, remote start, heated mirrors, navigation, keyless ignition, and more.
Pros and Cons:
2017 Kia Sportage
- Quiet cabin
- Great list of tech
- Edgy, unique exterior design
- Unimpressive engine options
- Less efficient than the competition
2017 Ford Escape
- Top-of-class handling
- Great turbo engines
- Tons of tech
- Poor crash-test history
- Inefficient, weak base engine
2017 Kia Sportage vs Ford Escape Conclusion
When comparing the 2017 Kia Sportage vs Ford Escape, both compact SUVs have very attractive qualities. For 2017, the Ford Escape has two great turbocharged engines and incredible handling, making it one of the most fun-to-drive in its class. The Sportage has styling like none other, and the interior of a much more expensive vehicle. Both vehicles are bound to be very competitive in the 2017 model year.