This is the first PHEV Sportage ever.
In October last year, Kia USA revealed the new 2023 Sportage, but this was just the first of three models bearing Kia's longest-running nameplate. The second arrived in November as the Sportage Hybrid, and since then, the first American-made Sportages have begun leaving the production line in Georgia. Now, a third variant has been revealed, and it's arguably the most practical.
Say hello to the 2023 Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV). Like all other Sportage variants, the new model comes with the "Opposites United" design language employed, meaning it's an attractive crossover. Another thing it shares in common with its siblings is its size, with this being one of the largest SUVs in its class.
Two trim levels are being offered at launch: X-Line PHEV AWD and X-Line Prestige PHEV AWD. The X-Line treatment means satin chrome surrounds the bumpers while the side mirrors, roof racks, and window surrounds are all finished in gloss black, as are the 19-inch alloy wheels. Kia's signature Tiger Nose grille appears between a pair of LED headlights with "boomerang" running lights. LED technology features in the rear lighting clusters too, with these being "notch-shaped" and connected by a thin black accent across the width of the tailgate. Open that tailgate and you'll find 34.5 cubic feet of storage capacity, while the second row offers best-in-class rear legroom of 39.5 inches.
Other noteworthy elements of the cabin include the option of dual panoramic curved screens made up of two displays each measuring 12.3 inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on both trims, while a 360-degree surround-view monitor is an option.
On the Prestige trim, a Harman Kardon premium audio system comes standard too. A WiFi hotspot has also been added to the list of features, with the ability to connect up to five devices. This also enables over-the-air map updates, cloud-based navigation, stolen vehicle tracking and immobilization, and traffic updates.
In terms of safety, driver attention warning, forward collision avoidance, and a rear occupant alert are supplemented by a rearview camera with dynamic parking guidelines, blind spot collision and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, and intelligent cruise control. The Prestige version further adds a blind spot monitor, remote park assist, reverse collision avoidance, highway driving assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, and front cross-traffic collision avoidance. Navigation-based, curve-aware cruise control is also added.
As for performance, the 2023 Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 177 horsepower. This is bolstered by a 66.9-kilowatt electric motor with a 13.8-kWh lithium polymer battery. A six-speed automatic transmission with selectable drive modes is the only gearbox on offer. Charging happens via a 7.2-kW onboard charger that, when connected to a Level 2 charger, can refill the battery in two hours.
The all-electric range is a respectable 32 miles. Kia also claims that the Sportage PHEV offers a higher recovery rate for its regenerative braking system than its competitors, but EPA fuel economy ratings will only be available closer to the SUV going on sale. As for when that will happen, we only know that it is planned to occur in the third quarter of this year, at which point Kia will reveal pricing information too.