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10 Things To Know Before Buying The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

HotCars logo HotCars 5/17/2022 Mohith Mohan
© Provided by HotCars

With the launch of the all-new, fifth generation of the Kia Sportage for the 2023 model year, Kia has managed to up their game in the compact SUV segment like no others with the striking design language, long list of features and tech, and a comfortable driving experience, making it much more superior to the outright rivals. However, another main addition to this new generation is the hybrid powertrain, which is offered in three trim configurations.

Research

Offered for a base MSRP of $27,290, the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid takes forward all the qualities of the regular Sportage while making it much more frugal than the gasoline variants. It is also one of the most value for money offerings of the compact hybrid SUV lineup, and that is one of the major plus points of the Sportage Hybrid, too. Competing with the Honda CR-V Hybrid, Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, and Ford Escape Hybrid, here are 10 things you need to know before buying the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid.

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A Comfortable Cruiser

The light steering which weighs up reasonably well at highway speeds coupled with a suspension that doesn't feel very bouncy makes it a comfortable family cruiser on the open highways. Even with the softer tune of the independent front and rear suspension setup, the body roll was well controlled as well.

The steering is quick to respond and there is an adequate amount of feel and feedback on offer. Along with that, the performance on offer from the hybrid powertrain is good enough, and this SUV can cruise on the highway speed limit all day long. The 6-speed automatic is reasonably quick to respond and offers smooth gear shifts.

One Of The Most Spacious Of Its Segment

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid turned out to be slightly more spacious than the previous generation. The front row offers more than enough headroom and legroom, and even the taller folks would have no problems fitting in. The spacious under-armrest storage, multiple cupholders, and large glovebox add to its versatility.

We also loved the rear seat, which can easily accommodate three passengers. The 41.2" of legroom tops the chart, and with no major transmission tunnel, the middle passenger is going to be alright during those long freeway road trips. The wide armrest, charging ports, and soft upholstery are other plus points. The cargo capacity of 39.6 cu ft is excellent too.

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Performance Is Adequate

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The 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI inline-4 engine comes mated to an electric motor and produces a combined output of 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The transmission duties are handled by a 6-speed automatic, and it comes standard with a full-time AWD drivetrain. This compact SUV has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 lbs and a 0-60 mph time of 7.6 seconds.

Even though the Sportage Hybrid is not going to push you back in the seat when flooring the gas pedal, the powertrain is much more punchy than the regular gasoline motor. There is enough pep for a quick overtaking while city driving and the highway driving experience is decent too, similar to the CR-V Hybrid. However, the motor sounds unrefined higher up the rev range. It also isn't as good as the RAV4 Prime in terms of acceleration.

Sharp Brakes

The braking is handled by the 4-wheel disc brake setup with 12.6" front rotors and 11.9" rear rotors. The other much-needed braking features like ABS with EBD, brake assist, hill hold control, hill descent control, and electric parking brake are also standard. Being a hybrid variant, there is a regenerative braking system as well.

We found the regenerative braking to be quite excellent, as it feels smooth and refined while reducing the speed whenever you take the foot off the gas pedal. The passengers won't notice it too much, unlike the system in the Ford Escape Hybrid. The brakes offer a sharp initial bite and decent braking progression. The 70-0 mph distance is identical to that of the Tucson Hybrid.

Exterior Looks Different From The Rivals

The 2023 Kia Sportage's design is a departure from the conservative and relatively bland design that was present on the outgoing fourth-generation version. This hybrid variant does not see any major changes from the regular Sportage trims, and hence comes with the gloss black grille with silver accents, an updated Kia logo, and sleek LED headlights with LED DRLs.

The seven exterior colors match the youthful styling of the Sportage Hybrid, and the excellent width and height make it quite macho when viewed from the front. The side profile is highlighted by the 18" wheels, black pillars, black body cladding, and best-in-class length. The LED taillights, angular trunk design, and hidden wiper give it an expensive appeal.

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Classy Interior Design

This brand-new interior of the Sportage Hybrid does see some influences from other Kia products like the Telluride and Stinger. It does look much more elegant than the outgoing model year. The chunky leather-wrapped steering wheel and the beautiful perforated and quilted SynTex upholstery of the top-of-the-line trim make it feel very premium on the inside.

We also loved the red and beige color combination on offer for the upholstery, even though the lower trims come with different color options. The neatly integrated infotainment system, a heavy dose of leather, soft-touch plastics, and subtle piano black elements on the dashboard and door cards make the cabin look better than the CR-V and Escape. There is a massive panoramic sunroof as well, giving the cabin an airy feeling.

Excellent Crash Safety Performance

Being a family SUV, Kia has managed to shove in most of the safety and driver-assistance features as standard with the 2023 Sportage Hybrid. This includes forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, driver monitoring system, blind-spot monitoring, and aerial view camera.

However, some of the features like adaptive cruise control with stop and go, rear auto braking, and highway driving assist are standard with the highest SX Prestige Hybrid trim only. Solid build quality coupled with a long list of standard driver-assistance tech would help it to be one of the safety of the lot too, even though the NHTSA and IIHS haven't revealed the crash safety ratings yet.

Quite Frugal

This all-new hybrid variant of the Sportage is superior to many of the competitors in terms of fuel consumption, and that is going to make it a compelling proposition of the segment, especially for the family buyers. This compact SUV managed 38 MPG on the city and highway, partially thanks to the 13.8-kWh battery pack.

With a 13.7-gallon fuel tank capacity on offer, the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid managed to do around 520 miles on a full tank of gas. This is much better than any of the gasoline-powered models offered at a similar price point. The rivals like the Honda CR-V Hybrid and Hyundai Tucson Hybrid churned out an identical combined gas mileage too.

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Superb Build Quality

The build quality offered by the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is very similar to other models from the Kia stable, especially the Telluride. The interior comes with soft-touch materials all around, and there are no uneven panel gaps and fitment issues anywhere. We found the overall quality to be slightly superior to the Stinger as well.

The Sportage Hybrid comes constructed in high tensile steel and aluminum. The Hyundai-Kia N3 platform is quite strong too. All of this provides this SUV with top-notch exterior build quality, with solid-feeling doors, fenders, trunk, and hood. There is no flexing or creaking when you press hard against the panels, and the paint quality is excellent.

Desirable Infotainment System

The lower Sportage Hybrid trims come fitted with the standard 8" touchscreen infotainment system, and this is pretty intuitive, feature-packed, and reasonably big. However, the 12.3" UVO touchscreen infotainment system that comes in the higher two trims is even more capable. The menu layout is very intuitive, and the learning curve is minimal.

All the features like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM radio, navigation, UVO telematics, voice recognition, USB, Bluetooth, and 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio system are offered with the SX Prestige trim. The audio quality is better than that of the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Honda CR-V Hybrid, and even the audiophiles would be happy with the system.

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