2023 Kia Sportage
For years, the Kia Sportage has been the odd one out. Its design for the past two generations either invite or polarize its customers. The unusual shape worked for Kia, as it sold quite well since deviating from the segment’s norm of putting a pane of glass on its C pillar.
This time around, Kia delivers on another unique and polarizing design for the new generation of its compact Sportage SUV. More than just its design is the inclusion of both a hybrid and plug-in hybrid driveline into the model mix.
We were curious whether this is the Sportage we always wanted. Kia sent over one of their Hybrid models for us to find out.
The Sportage shows a more geometric design that pushes the headlamp units to the edge of the front clip. A pair of sideways chevrons acts as LED running rights. In all, it creates a very distinctive face that goes along with its distinctive look. However, the Sportage now has a more conventional look from the front clip rearward.
A glass pane appears on the C-pillar for the first time in over a decade. It is juxtaposed by a satin chrome surround with a geometric pattern etched into it. The rear of the Sportage features a taillight design that is also geometric. They frame the liftgate, that sports a spoiler over the glass to extend the roofline.
Our Hybrid EX tester came with a set of 18-inch alloy wheels that finish off the contemporary, future-forward look of the Sportage.
In terms of contemporary styling, the Sportage now sports an interior design language we first seen on the EV6. A piano black panel stretches two-thirds down the dashboard. Two wide screens provide everything you need. The 12.2-inch left digital screen is for instrumentation and vehicle functions, while the 12.3-inch right one handles the infotainment. The ignition button is moved to the center console, where the rotary shifter resides, along with a few other controls.
The EX’s front seats are a tad firm, but very supportive. Rear seat room is fantastic for all bodies to sit comfortably. Cargo space is up from the previous generation model. It starts with 39.5 cubic feet with the second-row seats up, expanding to 73.7 cubic feet with them folded down.
You can get your 2023 Sportage with three different power options. Our tester came with the hybrid driveline that starts with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, attached to an electric motor running from a battery pack, a six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. Combined, this system puts out 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
This driveline is quick off the mark and can deliver highway speeds with ease. In turn, the Sportage Hybrid did average 35.0 MPG.
Ride quality was pretty good overall. The Sportage did its best to absorb a lot of the road imperfections. When taking on the curves, there were some roll and lean, along with some tire feedback.
The steering system was good, offering great feedback at the wheel and a solid on-center feel. The Sportage has a decent turning radius for those tighter spots. Brakes were also good, exhibiting a solid pedal feel. It also turned in solid normal and panic stops.
Pricing for the 2023 Sportage starts at $25,990 for a LX with front-wheel drive. Our all-wheel-drive Hybrid EX tester came with a sticker price of $33,860. In all there are 13 Sportage trim levels, including three Hybrids and two Plug-In Hybrids.
The new 2023 Kia Sportage is better positioned within the most competitive segment in the marketplace – the compact SUV. A Sportage customer may be looking at a Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Jeep Cherokee.
However, a uniquely-styled SUV may be the right kind of vehicle that could sway you to check out the 2023 Kia Sportage. It now offers more variety across its lineup that you may choose the right one that fits your needs. Check out a few of the 13 trim levels before you decide which one to take home.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors