Cars

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid: A Stylish and Capable Crossover SUV

Introduction

Kia has come a long way from its reputation as a budget brand. While many models have undergone significant transformations over the years, the Kia Sportage remains a steadfast member of the lineup. Since its launch in 1993, the Sportage has evolved into a true mainstream crossover SUV. However, to truly stand out in this crowded market segment, Kia knew it needed to offer something more. That’s where the redesigned 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid comes in. With its first-ever hybrid powertrain, Kia aims to make its mark in the hybrid crossover game, joining the likes of Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4 in offering an eco-friendly option. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what the Sportage Hybrid has to offer.

Front three quarter view of the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid
Image credit: Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

Design and Interior

One glance at the 2023 Sportage makes it clear that Kia has taken some bold design choices. The radical new front fascia features blade-like LED daytime running lights that wrap around triangular headlights, giving the Sportage a distinctive, almost alien-like appearance. The rest of the exterior styling is more conventional, but the Sportage’s front-end design is sure to turn heads. It’s refreshing to see Kia taking risks in a segment that often prioritizes practicality over style.

The Sportage Hybrid is built on the same N3 platform as the Kia Sorento. This redesign has resulted in increased dimensions, particularly in length. The new Sportage is taller and wider than its predecessor, with an impressive increase in length. The longer wheelbase translates to improved passenger space. However, it’s worth noting that the hybrid model offers slightly less headroom and cargo space compared to the non-hybrid version.

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Interior of the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

Tech, Infotainment, and Driver Assist

The 2023 Sportage boasts a major infotainment upgrade. Kia now offers a spacious 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a touchscreen, which create an impressive curved display. This setup is reminiscent of luxury cars from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. While this configuration is only available on the top SX-Prestige model, the LX and EX models come with their own infotainment screens. Standard features include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a touch-control panel, and multiple USB-C ports. Higher trim levels add extras such as wireless phone charging and a Harman Kardon audio system.

In terms of safety, the Sportage Hybrid comes equipped with standard driver-assist features including forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, and automatic high beams. Higher trim levels offer additional features such as blind-spot collision avoidance assist, adaptive cruise control, and a 360-degree camera system. Kia has prioritized driver safety, giving customers peace of mind as they navigate the road.

The 2024 Kia Sportage Hybrid's digital instrument cluster
Image credit: Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

Driving Experience

Under the hood, the Sportage Hybrid boasts a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and a single electric motor. This powertrain delivers a total system output of 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Compared to its competitors, the Sportage Hybrid offers more horsepower and a seamless blend of gasoline and electric power. The linear application of power, quick shifts from the automatic transmission, and smooth turbocharged engine make the hybrid version of the Sportage a pleasure to drive. The Sportage Hybrid also stands out for its remarkably quiet interior and comfortable ride. While it may not be the most performance-oriented crossover, it excels as an everyday vehicle designed for practical transportation.

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Gas Mileage and Safety

The Sportage Hybrid achieves an impressive fuel economy rating of 43 mpg combined (42 mpg city, 44 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models achieve slightly lower ratings of 38 mpg in all three categories. These numbers make the Sportage Hybrid a worthy contender in the fuel efficiency department. As for safety, crash-test ratings from the IIHS and NHTSA were not available at the time of publication due to the Sportage Hybrid’s recent release. However, Kia’s strong track record in safety, combined with the standard driver-assist features, provides customers with reassurance on the road.

Our Verdict

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid ticks all the boxes, offering a competitive option in the hybrid crossover market. With more horsepower and better drivability than its rivals, the Sportage Hybrid sets itself apart. The stylish exterior design, comfortable interior, and advanced tech features make it a strong contender among its competitors. While it may not be the most thrilling or visually pleasing option for everyone, the Sportage Hybrid offers a solid all-around package. Kia has demonstrated its expertise in hybrid vehicles, making the Sportage Hybrid a compelling choice for eco-conscious drivers.

Should You Consider the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid?

Absolutely! Although new to the hybrid game, the Sportage Hybrid enters with a bang, showcasing Kia’s commitment to innovation and delivering a strong contender from the start.

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(Disclosure: This article is provided by OnSpec Electronic, Inc. Learn more about the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid and other vehicles at OnSpec Electronic, Inc.)

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