2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Preview

Chris Teague | Feb 10, 2022

The Sportage is Kia's longest-running nameplate, and to keep it fresh, the automaker gave it a complete redesign for the 2023 model year. Kia will offer the new Sportage SUV with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain for the first time, which will bring an all-electric range of 32 miles to the popular compact crossover. The automaker notes that PHEVs like the Sportage and larger Sorento, along with the brand-new all-electric EV6, are helping it pave the way to a fully electrified future. 

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Front Quarter View

The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV is available in two trim levels: X-Line PHEV AWD and X-Line Prestige PHEV AWD. Both trims pair a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor to provide excellent fuel economy and standard all-wheel drive (AWD).

What's New for the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV? - Find the best Kia deals!

  • The Sportage PHEV joins its standard gas-powered counterpart in getting a complete redesign for 2023
  • The 13.8-kWh battery provides up to 32 miles of all-electric range
  • Several advanced driving assistance systems come standard
  • Sportage PHEV sales will begin in the third quarter of 2022
  • Pricing and specific configuration details will be available closer to launch

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Exterior - Find the best Kia deals!

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Rear Quarter View

Both Sportage PHEV trims come with Kia's rugged X-Line package that brings blacked-out exterior trim and black wheels. Though it looks the part of an aggressive off-roader, the X-Line package brings more upgrades to the SUV's appearance than it does to performance. The Sportage PHEV features Kia's signature "Tiger Nose" grille with a floating design and boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights. Around the back, LED taillights are standard and feature a unique notch shape with a black graphic connecting the two lights across the rear tailgate.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Interior - Find the best Kia deals!

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Interior Dashboard

Kia says the Sportage PHEV's interior takes inspiration from high-end outdoor products, furniture, and architecture. Though it will share an interior and design with its non-PHEV counterpart, batteries in electrified vehicles can sometimes cut into passenger and space. The standard Sportage offers best-in-class cargo space of 39.6 cubic feet and generous rear legroom of 41.3 inches. In the case of the Sportage PHEV, the battery penalty adds up to a reduction of almost two inches of rear legroom and front head room. Rear head room drops to 38 inches in the PHEV, compared to 39.4 in the standard Sportage.

There's also a useful hands-free liftgate feature that senses the key fob and automatically opens the rear gate. The standard Sportage offers interior features that include synthetic leather and clever features such as clothes hangers on the front-seat headrests, so the PHEV will likely offer similar accommodations. Expect the PHEV to follow a similar formula.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Specs - Find the best Kia deals!

Kia offers the 2023 Sportage PHEV with a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, a 66.9-kW electric motor, and a 13.8-kWh lithium-polymer battery. It pairs with a 6-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel drive or AWD. The SUV should offer an all-electric range of up to 32 miles with a full battery. The Sportage PHEV also gets a 7.2-kWh high-efficiency onboard charger that allows a full charge in just two hours using Level 2 charging.

Because of the way regenerative braking affects brake pedal feel, it can be awkward for people not used to driving a PHEV or EV. In some cases, regenerative braking causes the pedal to be ultra-sensitive and "grabby." Kia says it got around the braking issues with an integrated electronic brake that provides a linear brake feel and a higher energy recovery rate than the competition.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Safety - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV will feature the same safety technology as the standard Sportage, including Kia Drive Wise and available Highway Driving Assist.

The top Sportage X-Line Prestige PHEV gets additional safety tech, including a forward-collision avoidance system with a junction turning function. The system helps prevent collisions with other vehicles in an intersection when turning left. A navigation-based cruise control system is also standard for the top trim, which uses map data to proactively change vehicle speed in preparation for a curve or upcoming change in road conditions.

Finally, the Prestige trim uses its digital gauge cluster to project a camera image of the vehicle's blind spots when a turn signal is activated. The image momentarily replaces either the tachometer or speedometer and adds an extra layer of awareness when changing lanes.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Technology - Find the best Kia deals!

The new Sportage PHEV comes standard with a dual-panoramic screen infotainment system that combines a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 12.3-inch touchscreen into a sweeping display. Kia used a touchpad unit for climate and audio controls in place of physical buttons.

Kia offers a 360-degree camera system with 3D view, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, and Kia Connect Services. The suite of connected services includes the ability to remotely control charging from a smartphone, a 4G LTE hotspot with support for up to five devices, over-the-air map updates, and a cloud-based navigation routing system that uses artificial intelligence and traffic data to provide the quickest, most efficient routing.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Competitors - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV will compete with the Ford Escape PHEV, Hyundai Tucson HybridHyundai Tucson PHEV, Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, and Toyota RAV4 Prime.

Kia is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of February 9, 2022, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker's website or your local dealership.

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