We all love a good SUV, statistics prove that point time and time again. However, good SUVs don’t have to come with the lofty price tags, such as the turbo-charged 2017 Kia Sportage SX.

Starting at an MSRP of $33,395 (as driven), the 2017 Kia Sportage SX packs a ton of features into a small package, doing so with style and fun. Lots and lots of fun.

dsc03762Anytime anyone says ‘turbo’, we get excited. And the 2.0L turbocharged, direct injection 4-cylinder gets up in a hurry. The 240 horsepower engine producing 260 lb-ft of torque is connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a driving mode selection. It was usually kept in Normal mode, because there was a little too much traffic to utilize the extent of Sport mode.

And that’s as it should be. We like having smiles and fun just using the normal mode tuning engaged. Getting kicks in granny – ‘Eco’ – mode would be even better, but that was not the case (and isn’t 99 percent of the time).

Pop the 2017 Kia Sportage SX into Sport mode and the torque pull is noticeably more aggressive and speed limits achieved much quicker. If only everyone made SUVs this sporty all the time.

dsc03771Scooting around the tiny roundabouts in Seattle neighborhoods was fun enough that more than a few times, I went around them all the way just for kicks. It’s a nimble SUV that’s for sure.

The fun factor we found with the Kia Sportage SX Turbo is what we look for in daily driver vehicles. Sure, there’s a need for the space, the height against mountainous speed bumps and AWD (when chosen) is a good addition considering our close proximity to snow and off-roading.

However, when the complete package makes each mundane trip as fun as a road trip then its an SUV worth buying.

Our tester model had a front-wheel drive layout, however it is available in all-wheel drive if buyers so choose.

dsc03723The real elephant in the room is the new looks. While they grew on me during my time with the 2017 Kia Sportage, the new looks are bold. A wide and mustache-looking grille graces the front, flanked by two aggressive headlights. An stylish angry person with a mustache and big dimples. But grow on us it did, and we soon found ourselves enjoying Kia Sportage SX’s aesthetics as we walked toward it.

The Kia Sportage SX has 19-inch alloy wheels that made a tasteful contrast to the Sparkling Silver paint color.

dsc03850The interior looks good in solid black with silvered accent trim pieces illuminated by the panoramic sunroof. There’s a push-button start, dual-zone climate control, leather trimmed seats, and heated and ventilated front seats. And, you know it’s fast when it has a D-shaped (heated) steering wheel…

There’s a seriously good Harman Kardon premium audio system with the Clari-fi to enhance the listening quality of the audio. Clari-fi recreates lost information to restore compressed audio to play high quality music. It also adds equalization, bass boos, and other effects for a unique high-fidelity sound experience.

It has an 8-inch touchscreen set with navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Sirius XM radio with traffic updates, and Bluetooth connectivity abilities. There’s also UVO voice activated eservices for your Kia.

(More below photographs.)

Driving through Seattle traffic to daytime appointments was a breeze in the luxuriant 2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo. Comfortable bolstering in the seats and a good audio beat made each recurring turn around the fun roundabouts even better.

Safety systems include rear cross traffic alerts, blindspot monitoring and lane change assist, lane departure warning, and autonomous emergency braking.

The automated cruise control worked brilliantly in heavy traffic on I5 and the front and rear parking assists did wonders in the basement garages near Westlake.

dsc03810In the days leading up to the holidays, relax in a new 2017 Kia Sportage SX Turbo for a peppy engine, good looks and connective technologies.

For us, the best part was green lights, on ramps and those moments when you could put the pedal down without wanton abandon. When an SUV is this fun to drive, we lavish in every second we have with it.

To learn more about the 2017 Kia Sportage SX, please call or visit your local Kia retailer or visit Kia.com/sportage/.