The newest model of the Kia Sportage has one main shine. Kia has been aggressively pushing the design of its automobiles to such an extent that the muscular 2023 Sportage Hybrid SX Status seems to be like a wholly completely different lineage as a substitute of the beautiful, small SUV. (Heck, it is barely recognizable as a Kia.) And behind that wild styling is a candy new hybrid powertrain, vastly improved cabin tech, and the automaker’s newest driver-assistance know-how.
head-turning new look
The brand new Sportage is bigger at 183.5 inches from bumper to bumper – 7.1 inches longer than the outgoing mannequin – and has an extra 3.4 inches between its axles, bringing the brand new wheelbase to 108.5 inches. The sharply elongated shoulders, extra muscular flanks and horizontal grille and rear bumper components create the phantasm of a a lot wider stance, whereas the 73.4-inch-wide SUV is barely 0.4-inch wider than its forebears. General, the facelift is extra mature with an excellent steadiness of proportions acquainted to trendy SUVs on this class, with considerate and difficult design particulars that make the Sportage flip heads wherever they go.
The expansion spurt makes room for a extra spacious inside. The Sportage Hybrid now boasts extra legroom than the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, significantly within the second row the place it features 3.5-inches (41.3 inches in comparison with the RAV4’s 37.8 inches). And with the battery pack costing a bit extra cargo capability than the non-hybrid mannequin, the 39.5 cubic toes of cargo area behind the Sportage Hybrid’s elective hands-free liftgate (73.7 cubic toes with the seats flat) continues to be fairly beneficiant for . class, beating the RAV4 Hybrid’s 37.5 cubic toes.
Regardless of being known as Shadow Matte Gray, this instance’s elective $595 exterior end is extra satin than True Matte and, frankly, extra premium-looking for it. The highest SX Status spec feels prefer it was designed with this end in thoughts, complementing the paint with satin chrome accents across the grille and window and shiny black trim across the physique and wheel arches. reverse occurs with. And whereas the LX and EX trim ranges include machine-finished 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels, respectively, the SX Status has virtually color-matched matte grey 18s with 235/60 all-season tires.
1.6-litre turbocharged hybrid
The Sportage Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 mated to a 44-kW electrical motor and 1.5-kW-hour lithium-polymer battery. Collectively, they make a complete of 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque that’s routed by way of a 6-speed computerized transmission with both the entrance wheels or an elective all-wheel-drive system with a locking heart differential for gentle off-road is completed. Use. It is Basically the Similar Hybrid Powertrain Excellent Hyundai Tucson HybridHowever with one other ponytail, so when you do not just like the Kia’s look, perhaps Hyundai will tickle your fancy.
Consumer-selectable drive modes (Regular, Eco and Sport) enable for intensive customization of the Sportage Hybrid’s responsiveness. In the meantime, normal paddle shifters supply extra exact management over the habits of the transmission, however I nearly by no means want them when given the hybrid SUV’s comfortably-tuned suspension in favor of a extra relaxed driving type.
The Hybrid is essentially the most highly effective Sportage model (for now), considerably extra highly effective than the 187-hp 2.5-liter engine within the non-hybrid. I am impressed with the easy acceleration and energy of strong passing. The 1.6-liter engine would not supply essentially the most nice wide-open-throttle listening expertise, but it surely’s far much less drone-y than most CVT-equipped hybrids and, throughout gentle cruising and metropolis driving, the Sportage Hybrid satisfactorily is cool.
It’s also fuel-efficient. The front-drive Sportage hybrid averages 42 mpg in metropolis, 48 mpg freeway and 43 mpg, in keeping with EPA estimates. Including all-wheel drive lowers the quantity to 38 mpg throughout the board for my instance. From a mixture of efficiency testing and 149 miles of leisurely cruising, I averaged 35.5 mpg—not too far off the mark.
Watch for PHEV?
In fact, when you’re as impressed with the Sportage Hybrid’s efficiency as I’m, it may be value ready for the upcoming plug-in hybrid mannequin It’s anticipated to launch later this yr. The PHEV swaps in a bigger 7.2-kWh battery pack that may be recharged at an electrical vary outlet or charging station for as much as 32 miles earlier than switching again to gasoline hybrid operation, which ought to increase total effectivity. It must also be a contact extra highly effective due to its 67-kW electrical motor.
Nonetheless, there are potential trade-offs to think about: making room for extra battery will price the PHEV 1.8 inches of rear legroom and a couple of.1 cubic toes of cargo area—although, it can nonetheless find yourself forward of the RAV4 by each metrics. There’s additionally the upper anticipated value and doubtlessly extra restricted availability to think about. Nonetheless, if it is wherever nearly as good as Hyundai Tucson PHEV – which can nearly actually be with the identical powertrain and know-how – the Sportage PHEV might be properly well worth the wait.
Twin-screen cabin know-how
The Sportage’s cockpit homes Kia’s now-famous dual-display infotainment system, which connects the 2 screens to a single curved glass panel that spans midway throughout the dashboard. It is basically the identical infotainment setup we have seen earlier than Kia EV6However the EV-specific menu was swapped out for a hybrid display screen.
The left show is residence to the usual 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and data show. On the correct you may discover the newest technology of Kia’s UVO touchscreen infotainment. The bottom LX trim will get an 8-inch touchscreen, whereas the EX and SX Status get a 12.3-inch show with navigation. I am a fan of this technique’s logical and acquainted menu system, user-customizable ‘star’ shortcut buttons on the steering wheel and dashboard, and its distinctive, bizarre options like the power to document audio memos or take heed to nature sounds.
apple carplay And android auto The 8-inches on the bottom LX spec are normal for all fashions with wi-fi connectivity on the system, however not for the larger-screen EX or SX Status fashions. It is an odd omission that makes the added wi-fi cellphone chargers on these trim ranges appear rather less helpful, however not fairly a deal breaker.
Customary Drivewise Driving Aids
No matter trim, all 2023 Kia Sportage hybrids come normal with the automaker’s DriveWise Driver Help Suite. It rolls in lane-keeping help, forward-collision avoidance with braking help, blind-spot monitoring, auto-braking rear cross-traffic alert and rear park distance sensor. Different elective security options coming on-line with the SX Status trim embrace adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go, Kia’s Blind Spot View cameras and surround-view parking cameras, in addition to 360-degree parking with collision avoidance brake help. Distance sensor included.
The SX Status additionally consists of Kia’s Distant Good Parking, a function that enables the motive force to steer the Sportage straight ahead or backward whereas standing curbside. For security, the system makes use of distance sensors to forestall collisions with obstructions or pedestrians and operates solely when the motive force is near the automobile. It is nowhere close to as difficult as, say, the Tesla Summons promise, but it surely’s additionally tremendous straightforward to function. To information the Sportage residence merely line up the automobile alongside a slim car parking zone, exit and maintain down a button on the important thing fob. As somebody who lives with a storage that goes principally unused as a result of most automobiles will not match whereas nonetheless having the ability to open their doorways, I might use this function every single day.
The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid begins at $28,585 ($1,295 together with vacation spot) for the bottom Hybrid LX, a $1,300 premium over the identical non-hybrid spec. Add $1,800 if you need all-wheel drive, however provided that you assume you may actually need it on your local weather; The bottom Sportage Hybrid is doubtlessly extra price and gas environment friendly with out it. The EX and SX Status fashions roll all-wheel drive to their respective $32,285 and $37,485 value tags, simplifying packaging considerably and lowering the hybrid tax to $900 for the highest SX spec – selecting a hybrid Nearly a no brainer. grade.
Together with paint and carpet flooring mats, my instance as examined is available in at $38,235—$4,000 lower than the RAV4 Hybrid Restricted when outfitted by comparability. So the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is just not solely one of many prime in its class with glorious efficiency and beautiful design, however it’s also among the best values.