Just like some people call the store Target “Tar-zhay,” you might be tempted to call this redesign “Spor-tahzh.”

The base 181-hp, 2.4-liter engine delivers healthy midrange grunt. Its 9.6-second 0-60 mph time may be slow for the segment, but everyday acceleration is brisk enough.

Restrained engine noise, combined with a smooth and responsive six-speed automatic, make the Kia pleasant to drive. Fuel economy is just fair, however, at 23 mpg.

Handling is mildly sporty for the class, with quick reflexes and a stable attitude, but it’s short on steering feedback. The ride is a touch firm, although not to the point of being stiff.

The front seats offer good thigh support. The rear seat is roomy, and the seatbacks recline, a nice touch in the compact segment. Knobs and buttons feel almost retro in their simplicity. The LX’s 5-inch infotainment touch screen is small; higher trim levels get larger screens.

A notable improvement: Large windows alleviate some past rear visibility problems, and a rearview backup camera comes standard. But advanced safety systems come only with the pricey EX trim.

With an improved ride, better noise isolation and visibility, straightforward controls, and a refined powertrain, the Sportage is a compelling choice that adds a dash of youthful style.

Read the complete Kia Sportage road test.

2017 Kia Sportage Review

HIGHS: Handling, powertrain, room, easy controls
LOWS: So-so fuel economy, rear visibility
POWERTRAIN: 181-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cyl. engine; 6-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 23 mpg
PRICE AS TESTED: $26,720

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the October 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.