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May 1, 2017
By Mario Cywinski

Compact SUVs make up over 23 per cent of the total fleet light truck market in Canada, trailing only the large pick-up truck market. It is a growing segment in Canada, outpacing traditional fleet car based segments.

Technological advancements with engines, transmissions, aerodynamics and weight reduction have helped make compact SUVS more fuel friendly, while maintaining their SUV characteristics.

Kia has been in the SUV business since it came to Canada in 1999 with the first generation Sportage Compact SUV. At first known for its quirky advertisements, technological advancements make the fourth generation Sportage a serious player in its class. THe second generation model came in 2005 and third generation is 2011.

“With many fleet users looking for a high-quality, fun-to-drive vehicle with ample storage space, Sportage has become a very important piece of our fleet business – not only for sales but also a great way for potential customers to get a great first impression to what the Kia brand is all about,” said Stephanie Smith, Manager, National Fleet Sales, Kia Canada Inc.

Sportage has been completely redesigned inside and out for the 2017 model year. The front fascia, bumpers, headlights, optional ice cube fog lights and use of LCD lighting all come together for the new design.

Sportage has two engine options. A 2.4 litre GDI engine with 181 horsepower and 175 foot/pounds of torque; and a 2.0L turbocharged GDI engine with 237hp and 260 ft/lbs of torque. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Non-turbo models are available with front wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available on both turbo and non-turbo models.

Fuel economy for the Sportage: 2.0L AWD is 11.9L/100km in the city and 10.2L/100km on the highway; 2.4L offers 10.4 (FWD)/11.3 (AWD) L/100km in the city and 8.0/9.5L/100km on the highway.

On the inside, the Sportage has everything that a driver would need. A five-inch LCD display is standard with satellite radio, Bluetooth, and iPod/USB input; a seven-inch LCD display is available with Android Auto integration; and the top end offers a eight-inch navigation system, with Harmon/Kardon sound system, inductive wireless charging and high-output USB charge port.

Safety is never a second choice for fleet managers and the Sportage has a wide array of standard and optional features that are sure to satisfy the most safety conscious among them. Sportage comes with four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, as well as ESC, hill assist control and down hill brake control.

Six air bags are standard (front, side, and curtain), a rear parking camera is standard with front and rear sensors optional, other standard safety features include automatic headlights, impact sensing door unlock, and obstacle detecting power drivers window. Optional advanced safety features offered are: Blind Zone Mirror, Blind Zone Detection System, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning System, and Electronic Parking Brake.

When deciding to select a compact SUV, fit for purpose is a crucial determinate. Many fleets that use compact SUV’s need to have space for cargo as well as for clients. Cargo capacity of the Sportage varies by how the seats are configured. With the floor lowered, the space behind the 1st row of seats is 1,703L, and behind the 2nd row is 868L, with the floor raised the volume is 1,565L and 798L, respectively. Total interior volume is 3,660L.

Interior head room is 997mm front without a sunroof (954mm with sunroof), and second row is 993 (962) mm; leg room is 1.053mm front, 970mm back; hip room is 1,380mm front, 1,300mm back; and shoulder room is 1,450mm front, and 1,400mm back.

For fleets who need towing capability, Sportage has 2,000LBs towing capacity when properly equipped.

Sportage is definitely an option to consider when looking for the next compact SUV for a fleet. One unique option the vehicle offers is handfree operation of the tailgate, when it senses you are near with your keys the tailgate will beep a few times and open, with no need to click on the tailgate, the key, or kick under the bumper.

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