GRAEME FLETCHER / DRIVING
The base price for the newly redesigned Kia Sportage is about $28,000.
Winnipeg Kia West officially introduced the 2017 Kia Sportage on March 15 with a reception for about 40 guests. Part of the event included a draw that resulted in five lucky couples each presented with a model to test drive at home for week (spread over a five-week period).
“The Sportage has been completely redesigned for 2017,” said Birchwood Kia West sales associate Oksana Berezanski. “The new model has a lot sleeker look with the front end comparable in appearance to competitors’ more expensive luxury models.”
The 2017 Sportage is powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that puts out 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. (The top of the line SX model has a 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.)
Berezanski reports the key to the success of the new Sportage is in the option packages. There are seven trims available.
The trims include the base LX with FWD, LX with AWD, the EX also in FWD and AWD models, the EX Premium and Tech options and the SX AWD. The base model (in FWD and AWD) includes as standard features heated front seats, keyless entry, five-inch LCD display audio and rearview camera and Bluetooth to list a few. (The AWD LX also adds roof rails.) The EX models also include LED lighting, automatic folding side view mirrors, leather steering wheel and shift knob, seven-inch LCD display, pushbutton start, Android auto smartphone integration and Google maps navigation.
The EX AWD Premium package — the trim Berezanski anticipates will be the most popular model — also features a panoramic sunroof, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, leather seats and a heated steering wheel. The EX AWD Tech ups the ante with electronic parking brakes, smart power liftgate, xenon HID headlights and eight-inch multigrade interface and integrated navigation system among other standard features. The SX has front and rear parking sensors and lane departure warning.
Berezanski reports the base price for the LX is about $28,000 (plus freight and pdi) while the EX Premium trim sells for $35,500 (plus freight and pdi).
“We had a couple of models in initially,” she says. “We are expecting a lot more within the next week or two.”
New Winnipeg Kia West sales associate Mike Debrowski has some big shoes to fill. His dad, Ted Debrowski, who retired from Winnipeg Kia West and auto sales last May, was one of the Birchwood Auto Group’s most successful sales associates over the past 15 years.
Ted Debrowski enjoyed successful careers as president of The Sleep Warehouse and later as a senior executive with Nygard International before going into auto sales in 2002. (He had tried retirement and didn’t enjoy it at the time.)
Debrowski built his success with outstanding customer service, first selling Hondas and later Kia products. He kept in touch with his customers through a regular newsletter and also operated a website. He also did little things such as providing his customers with pens and calendars.
Mike Debrowski, who is 28, joined the sales staff at Birchwood Kia West at the beginning of January after doing some bartending and travelling the country setting up trade shows. “I was doing a lot of travelling and having weird schedules,” he says. “I wanted a career that involved more routine scheduling.”
Debrowski is learning a lot about the auto business and his father has been very helpful with sales tips. “Dad is a nice resource to have nearby,” he says.
He reports that while Ted has left auto sales, he is not far away. He is working part time as a driver for Enterprise Rent-A-Car which has a presence at Birchwood Kia West.