2023 Kia Sportage Review

The 2023 Kia Sportage celebrates the fifth generation of the South Korean automaker’s longest-running nameplate. Previous generations of the Kia Sportage were excellent choices for a compact family SUV with comfortable seats, plentiful standard features, and an outstanding warranty. However, the Sportage gets lost in translation when facing Japanese stalwarts like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and even the Subaru Forester – but the 2023 Sportage begs to differ.

“The tremendous success formula of our current stable of SUVs has been infused into every ounce of the new Sportage, transforming it into a leader of the pack with its cutting-edge design, adventurous capability, and desirable in-car technology,” said Sean Yoon, president and CEO, Kia North America.

2023 Kia Sportage: What’s New?

The Sportage debuted earlier in 2021 as the most extensive iteration of Kia’s compact SUV. It’s now a full 7.1 inches longer than the outgoing model while having a 3.4 inch longer wheelbase. In addition, the new Sportage is half an inch taller and wider than before. Naturally, the growth spurt translates to a roomier cabin. Kia claims the 41.3 inches of rear legroom and 39.6 cubic feet of cargo room (with the rear seats in the upright position) make it a class leader in the segment.

The 2023 Kia Sportage is sitting on the automaker’s new N3 architecture, just as the larger Sorento seven-seat SUV. Kia says the stiffer chassis has more hot-stamped parts and a greater amount of ultra-high-strength steel. Furthermore, the new Sportage has more sound insulation to deliver a quieter ride.

Available trim levels include LX, EX, X-Line, SX, or SX-Prestige. Kia is also launching off-road-ready versions of the Sportage called the X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige.

2023 Kia Sportage
Photo: Kia Motors America.

Drivetrain & Fuel Economy

The 2023 Kia Sportage comes with just one engine, regardless of trim level. Under the hood is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with gasoline direct and multi-port injection (you may see Kia list this as “GDI + MPI” on the window sticker). The naturally aspirated engine produces 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft. of torque.

An eight-speed automatic is standard along with front-wheel drive (FWD), although all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional across the lineup (and standard for X-Line and X-Pro). AWD versions gain 1.5 inches more ground clearance over FWD variants.

Max towing capacity is the same for both FWD and AWD versions of the Sportage at 2,500 lbs. when properly equipped with the optional trailer brakes. Fuel economy does vary with FWD models earning an EPA-estimated 25/32 city/highway, while AWD models return 23/28 city/highway.

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

Arriving later in 2022 is the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid, boasting the same hybrid powertrain as the Tucson Hybrid. It has a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, a 44 kW electric motor, and a 1.49 kW lithium-ion battery pack, pumping out a combined 226 horsepower to the front wheels (FWD) or Kia’s Active AWD system with an electro-hydraulic coupling and a center locking differential.

Kia claims up to 39 mpg with the new Sportage Hybrid, keeping it in close company with other hybrids like the CR-V and RAV-4 Hybrid.

New Age Design

Kia has been hitting the nail on the head in terms of design, and the 2023 Sportage is no exception. Although based on Hyundai’s Tucson, Kia’s “Opposites United” design idiom is a mishmash of crisp lines, angular fenders, muscular shoulders, and “smooth surfaces offset by rugged forms,” said Kia. It has a floating “tiger nose” grille that now spans the width of the front fascia.

In addition, the boomerang daytime running lights form dramatic angles to deliver an aggressive façade. At the back, the new Sportage gets notched-shaped taillights and a thin black panel across the tailgate. Of course, it’s hard to miss the oversized Kia logo resting under the rear glass.

The 2023 Sportage X-Line has unique front and rear bumpers with satin chrome trimmings, gloss black side mirrors and window surrounds, and custom 19-inch alloy wheels. On the other hand, Sportage X-Pro has 17-inch matte black off-road wheels, BF Goodrich all-terrain tires, LED fog lights, and multi-terrain driving modes, among many others.

Feature-Rich Cabin

As expected, the 2023 Kia Sportage will feature a brand new cabin with better materials and a slew of near-luxury features. There’s an available dual panoramic curved display with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen. The dashboard gets angular air vents that seem to hug the curved display for an organic feel. It also has an asymmetrical center console with a new touchpad (for the climate and audio controls) and massive cupholder trays.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity are standard. At the same time, the long list of available features includes a Harman Kardon premium audio system, multi-connection Bluetooth, wireless charging, and a 360-degree surround-view monitor.

2023 Sportage X-Pro interior layout.
2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro interior layout. Photo: Kia Motors America.

Advanced Safety Features

Every 2023 Kia Sportage is standard with forward collision avoidance, lane following assist, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, reverse parking distance warning, and many more.

Kia Sportage Warranty

Every new Kia leaves the factory with a five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Kia vehicles have one of the best warranties in the business, but you can still benefit from a Kia extended warranty if you do a lot of driving.

2023 Kia Sportage: Pricing By Trim Level

Here is a look at the starting MSRP for each trim level, which already includes the $1,215 destination fee.

  • LX: $27,205 (FWD) / $29,005 (AWD)
  • EX: $29,205 (FWD) / $31,005 (AWD)
  • X-Line: $32,005 (offered in AWD only)
  • SX: $32,705 (FWD) / $34,505 (AWD)
  • SX-Prestige: $34,705 (FWD) / $36,505 (AWD)
  • X-Pro: $36,206 (offered in AWD only)
  • X-Pro Prestige: $38,005 (offered in AWD only)

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

Photos & Source: Kia Motors America.