2023 Kia Sportage Preview

Jack R. Nerad and Christian Wardlaw | Oct 28, 2021
FAST FACTS
  • Fifth generation of the Kia Sportage
  • Larger overall size, inside and out
  • Increased passenger room, luggage space
  • 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine
  • Hybrid coming soon, plug-in hybrid likely
  • Available Multi-terrain driving mode settings
  • Dashboard has 25-inch display for instrumentation and infotainment
  • Dramatically expanded driving-assistance technologies
  • Most versions to be assembled in West Point, Georgia
  • 2023 Kia Sportage release date is the first quarter of 2022

The 2023 Kia Sportage gets a complete redesign that makes it larger, safer, and more technologically advanced than ever.

2023 Kia Sportage SX White Front Quarter View Action

Historically, the Sportage was smaller than its primary rivals. Now, the new 2023 Sportage is all grown up and sized to better compete with the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. In fact, Kia claims the redesigned 2023 Sportage supplies class-leading rear-seat room and cargo space.

With a release date of early 2022, the new Kia Sportage comes in LX, EX, SX, SX-Prestige, X-Line, X-Pro, and X-Pro Prestige trim levels. That's more than double the variants of the previous-generation model. All at the top end of the lineup, the new versions add luxury or off-roading capability or both.

The 2023 Sportage has a new gasoline 4-cylinder engine powering the front or all four wheels. A hybrid powertrain is coming soon, and Kia also confirms that future electrified versions of the new Sportage are on the way. Turbocharging, at least for the U.S. market, is no longer available.

Exterior Features - Find the best Kia deals!

2023 Kia Sportage SX White Rear Quarter View Action

Adhering to Kia's "Opposites United" design language, the 2023 Sportage looks more substantial than before, emphasizing that it is larger than the previous-generation Sportage in virtually every dimension. The broad grille plays up the crossover's width, and the still-new Kia logo tops it. The boomerang-shaped daytime running lights cut a jagged path around the standard LED headlights.

The 2023 Sportage also joins the recent two-tone trend with the availability of a contrasting black roof, while the robust roof rails that are standard on some trims make it clear that the Sportage is an SUV. The side windows taper up toward the rear window over pronounced haunches, and the Sportage has a rear spoiler and trapezoidal taillights that bleed into the liftgate. The new Sportage rolls on 17-, 18-, or 19-inch wheels, depending on the trim level.

The result is a futuristic take on the Sportage, but compact crossover SUV customers are likely to react strongly to the design, both positively and negatively.

Interior Features - Find the best Kia deals!

2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro Interior DashboardEqually as bold as the exterior, the 2023 Kia Sportage interior is downright daring—especially in the compact crossover SUV segment.

The dominant trait is a curved panoramic 25-inch display housing dual 12.3-inch digital instrumentation and infotainment screens (SX trim and higher). Together, they're presented in a broad sweep that evokes Mission Control. And because of the high-definition nature of the displays, they don't require a traditional "hood" to shield them from sunlight. In turn, this enables Kia to place them higher than usual, which makes them more visible to the driver and front passenger alike.

Overall, the effect is very much like a modern Mercedes-Benz.

Designed to seat up to five people, the new Sportage boasts what Kia claims is best-in-class rear-seat legroom. Starting with EX trim, the SUV features synthetic leather upholstery, and the Sportage is available with a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, an 8-way power front passenger's seat, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and more.

The center console between the front seats is angled toward the driver. It houses the engine start button, a traditional gear selector, the Multi-terrain powertrain controls, and more. Reconfigurable cupholders adjust for different storage needs, and a wireless smartphone charging pad is available. Kia even integrates coat hangers, shopping bag hooks, and USB charging ports into the Sportage's front seatbacks.

Kia says the Sportage also offers more cargo space than any rival in the segment. Behind the back seats, this SUV supplies an ample 39.6 cubic feet of cargo room. The automaker does not provide a maximum figure with the back seats folded down.

Under the Hood - Find the best Kia deals!

At first, the 2023 Sportage will have a new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine under its hood, making an estimated 187 horsepower. An 8-speed automatic transmission will deliver the power to the front wheels unless you opt for all-wheel drive (AWD). With AWD, the Sportage adds 1.5 inches of extra ground clearance.

New for 2023, the Sportage X-Line, X-Pro, and X-Pro Prestige add a more rugged look to the SUV. With X-Line trim, the Sportage wears 19-inch wheels with all-season tires. Choose the X-Pro or X-Pro Prestige and the SUV has 17-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires.

Kia says the Sportage's available Multi-terrain driving modes include Normal, Sport, Smart, and Snow. When the SUV made its home-market debut in South Korea, Kia also mentioned Mud/Sand.

A Sportage Hybrid is coming after the SUV's initial rollout, and Kia says it is planning other electrified versions. Electrified Sportage models will likely leverage the hybrid technology used in the 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. The Tucson's hybrid powertrain uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder plus a 44.2-kW electric motor to produce an estimated 226 total system horsepower. The plug-in hybrid version kicks that up to 261 hp.

Safety Systems - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2023 Kia Sportage will feature a robust roster of standard advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). They include:

Additionally, the new Sportage features a rear-seat reminder system, rear parking sensors, and a leading-vehicle departure alert system that tells a distracted driver when traffic ahead is moving again.

The list of available ADAS, depending on trim level, is even longer:

  • Blind-spot warning
  • Blind-spot collision avoidance assist (prevents unsafe lane changes)
  • Rear cross-traffic warning
  • Rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist (brakes to avoid a collision)
  • Junction Turning forward-collision avoidance assist (prevents unsafe left turns across traffic)
  • Front parking sensors
  • Navigation-based adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability (includes proactive speed reduction in advance of curves and reduced limits ahead)
  • Safe Exit Assist (notifies driver and passengers when it is unsafe to exit the vehicle due to approaching traffic)
  • Blind-Spot View Monitor (camera-based blind-spot monitoring)
  • Surround-view camera

Highway Driving Assist is also available, helping maintain a set speed and distance from the vehicle ahead when driving on a highway while also helping center the Sportage in its lane when lane markers are present. It is a Level 2 hands-on technology but certainly hints at Kia's readiness for a hands-off system.

Infotainment and Technology - Find the best Kia deals!

The Sportage's 25-inch curved panoramic screen with dual 12.3-inch displays is not a standard feature. Instead, the Sportage LX includes a 12.2-inch LCD instrumentation display paired with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and multi-connection Bluetooth are standard, though.

Upgrade to EX trim and the SUV adds the more sophisticated 12.3-inch infotainment system with satellite radio, a navigation system, voice-recognition technology, and wireless smartphone charging. With this upgrade, the Sportage also includes Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility.

Choose the Sportage SX and Kia swaps in the 12.3-inch instrumentation display that uses the latest-generation full thin-film-transistor (TFT) liquid-crystal technology for clear graphics even in direct sunlight. The SX trim also equips the Sportage with a Harman Kardon premium sound system.

Kia Connect subscription services are also available, including access to 4G LTE Wi-Fi among its many offerings. The Kia Access smartphone app is also updated and is now compatible with smartwatches.

Located on the dashboard below the infotainment system display, a touch panel switches between the stereo and climate system functionality. The physical controls correspond to each as selected by the driver.

2023 Kia Sportage Competitors - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2023 Kia Sportage will compete in a segment filled with high-volume models. Included among them are the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4. Key competitors from domestic brands include the Chevrolet EquinoxFord Escape, and Jeep Cherokee. The Hyundai TucsonMazda CX-5Mitsubishi OutlanderSubaru Forester, and Volkswagen Tiguan are also among the Sportage's rivals.

Entering battle in this segment is not for the faint of heart. Kia's new 2023 Sportage is armed with arresting design, impressive technology, and plenty of interior room. New off-road-oriented versions, plus electrified variants coming soon, should position the new Sportage for success.

Kia is the source of information in this article. It was updated on October 27, 2021, 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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