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Review Kia Sportage 2023 for the first time | Bigger, greener, off-roadier

The Kia Sportage always one of the little things Compact SUVand for the last two generations has been a valuable, style-conscious alternative to the larger, more family-friendly CR-VAT of the world. The thing is, there are now a huge number of similar small alternatives that we call midcompacts. That even make one of them, Seltos. That liberates 2023 Kia Sportage to advance in the world.

Literally. The Sport now almost the largest in the compact segment. It’s 7.1 inches longer overall with a 3.4-inch increase in wheelbase. Goods Capacity, previously sacrificed to provide surprisingly roomy rear legroom, is now class-best at 39.6 cubic feet. Rear-seat legroom extends even further to be a class leader at 41.3 inches. These are not only incremental differences from generation to generation, but they are completely game-changing. The Sportage goes from being a choice best suited for singles, DINKs or those in an empty nest to a family-friendly option.

It’s also a difference that you can totally tell just by looking at it. Compared to the two sporty, corner-to-corner configurations of its two predecessors, the new Sportage’s extra length makes it grotesque and reminiscent of an even larger vehicle. Sorento. This is countered by a much more expressive style. The expansive grille surrounded by huge boomerang-shaped LED headlights is striking and can be dramatic, as it prevents the 2023 Sportage from having the car-like “face” we’ve come to expect. The rear is similarly bolder Sorentowith recessed raised doors and evocative full-width taillights EV6.

However, not just a new look. Like other Kia SUVs, the Sportage gets a new level of X-Line trim with different bumpers, gloss black trim, exclusive wheels, raised roof rails and stitching. like the tread on a SynTex seat. Not like Sorento X-LineHowever, ground clearance remains the same as every other all-wheel-drive Sportage at a reasonable 8.3 inches (1.5 inches taller than the last Sportage and 0.1 better than the Sorento X- Line). If that sounds like an appearance pack to you, there’s also the new X-Pro (pictured above right), which goes a bit further by adding BF Goodrich off-road tires, 17-inch color wheels matte black and the drive mode settings recalibrated for reduced traction conditions. Oh, and a black roof.

While the tires certainly improve the Sportage’s off-road ability, and a quick ride around a prepared off-road shows that the lockable all-wheel drive system is capable of dealing with off-road situations. Cakes vary, this is at most a small step apart from a Mazda CX-50 more than a match for The Subaru Forester Wilderness or Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. You also have to deal with stiffer and more rushed rides, more road noise and degraded grip due to the tires being too cool. The steering is at least still commendably accurate, which is good, as it’s generally a strong suit of the new Sportage along with commendable body control.

Perhaps the crazier thing is that you’re stuck with the underlying motive, which, to be fair, is the same situation as Wilderness Forester and Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road. The Sportage comes standard with a new 2.5-liter inline-four that produces 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque – a decent average for the segment. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is a good thing when so many competitors have CVTs. Together, they deliver decent acceleration and response (especially in the well-tuned Sport mode) and a soothing soundtrack. Basically, if you tell us this is RAV4 engine, we wouldn’t be surprised.

However, there is a special alternative. While other compact SUVs give you the option of a performance upgrade or a hybrid, the Sportage offers a two-for-one deal. The new one Sportage Hybridlike related to machines Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, which has a combination of a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four electric motor, a six-speed automatic, and front- or all-wheel drive. The latter is the same mechanical system found in the gas-only Sportage, unlike the system Combined RAV4 to achieve all-wheel drive by powering the rear wheels with an additional electric motor. Total output is 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, less than a Mazda CX-5 and CX-50The engine upgrade is turbo only, but still presents a strong thrust.

The result is win-win-win. The turbocharged hybrid is more pleasant to drive than both the base engine and other hybrids, thanks to the conventional automatic (compared to some CVT forms) and the turbocharger which seems to smooth the transition between electrical and gaseous energy sources both in terms of sound. and power distribution. The turbo-plus electric motor combination also makes it feel remarkably powerful around town and when overtaking, though the small displacement engine is quieter when you hit the gas. Ultimately, as expected, it’s much more efficient, at 43 or 38 mpg combined depending on powertrain and trim level, compared to 28 mpg combined (FWD) and 25 mpg (AWD) for gas versions.

Better yet, the hybrid is only about $1,000 more expensive than a comparable engine-only model (the price varies by several hundred depending on equipment). You’ll get those premiums paid off instantly with gas savings, then go on to enjoy the performance advantage with the purchase of a home.

However, it is not the only hybrid. The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV arrives later this year with the same powertrain assisted by a plug-in that could be significantly larger the battery. Full specs and pricing to come, but Tucson PHEV should be a good indicator of what to expect. We know it will provide an estimated 32 miles of electric range, not equal to Toyota RAV4 Primebut still should be a perfectly useful range capable of covering most round-trip routes.

This is the crease, though. American customers are learning about the outdoor look and extra capabilities of models like the X-Line. For example, the Sorento has received more pairs of X-Line trim levels for 2022. And while the Sportage PHEV will be available as an X-Line, the hybrid won’t and won’t be like the X-Pro. This may be suitable for Toyota RAV4doesn’t offer more rugged Adventure and TRD Off-Road equipment like hybrids (let alone Subaru or Jeep don’t offer hybrids), but unlike Toyota, Kia maybe actually pairs a mechanical all-wheel drive system with a hybrid powertrain. According to Sportage product planner Derrick Ty, the current lack of hybrid/X-Line combinations is due to both supply constraints as well as anticipated demand. Basically, Kia can’t produce enough hybrids at this point. It’s also why Kia expects only 20% of its 2023 Sportages to be hybrids. Over time, and with the supply burden eased, that percentage could go higher (as much as for Combined RAV4), and Ty said his team will be watching to see if customers really want the hybrid/X-Line combo.

The interior of the new Sportage presents another advantage over the best-selling cars in the segment. In short, it is cool. There’s a sense of style here that you don’t get with a CR-VAT or forester. In addition to the design, there’s also a red, navy and sage green interior depending on trim level and powertrain, and the EX Hybrid is even eligible for a combination of Misty Gray and Triton. Navy is especially cool. Ty says he’s made sure to include such aesthetic options alongside Kia’s usual generous feature content on lower trim levels because he hates the idea of ​​short changers. term, who can’t pay a lot of dollars for the highest trim levels. It’s a trait he’s acquired from working for Disney for several years – essentially, every guest deserves a magical experience regardless of their budget.

Another example of this is the cabin’s main draw: the huge curved dashboard housing two 12.3-inch screens shared with the EV6. Found on every trim but the LX, it not only catches the eye because of its curved design and beautiful graphics, but like other Kias, the infotainment touchscreen is easy to use. Combined with it from the EV6 is a row of unique capacitive-touch “buttons” that double-duty as climate control and infotainment menu shortcuts. I can see how it can be frustrating, but I’m also happy with them during my week with the EV6.

Well-executed driver-assistance tech is plenty, with forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist and inattention warning all standard. Blind-spot warning is included on the EX and above, while Kia/Hyundai’s excellent adaptive cruise control with lane-focused steering assist is available on the SX trim. ACC is standard on every CR-V, RAV4 and Forester, but overall Kia’s system performs better.

Add it all up and the 2023 Kia Sportage looks like an absolute winner for the segment. It now has the space needed for home duties and electrified versions are required today for a variety of reasons, while maintaining the combination of distinctive style and strong value that is inherently weak. key element of the Sportage for two generations. Prices start at $27,245, including destination for the base FWD LX. That’s right between the CR-V and the RAV4, so don’t expect a bargain price for a Kia in 2023. And you really shouldn’t, considering how good and competitive this car is. That said, the LX Hybrid’s $28,545 price tag is a few points lower than the CR-V and RAV4’s hybrid entry points. Even that EX Hybrid with that luxurious navy blue interior is about $1,000 cheaper than the base model CR-V Hybrid FOR EXAMPLE. That’s just one more reason to consider the Sportage Hybrid the pick of the ages – you’ll just have to live without the X-Line’s almost certain flourishes. At least for now.

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