The new Kia Sportage has finally made it to America.
Last week, Kia teased us with a shadowy image of the all-new Sportage, which we found rather comical considering that the ROW (rest of world) model was revealed long ago. We saw the first of its reveals in June this year, while the second arrived early last month. Now, it's finally America's turn to see its own Kia Sportage, and as expected, it looks pretty similar to what other markets have received. Just to be clear, that's not a complaint - the 2023 Sportage is a looker of note and its tech is pretty impressive too. Let's dive in and see what we're getting from Kia's bigger and bolder crossover.
"The Sportage is Kia's longest running nameplate with almost 2 million vehicles sold," said Russell Wager, VP of marketing. "It's helped Kia earn a world-class reputation for design and adventure-ready capabilities, and the new fifth-generation is poised to set the benchmark in the subcompact SUV segment."
Kia's new "Opposites United" design language has been used here, with the Tiger nose grille getting a "more technical" floating design above a blacked-out graphic that stretches across the front fascia. New "boomerang" daytime running lights make it impossible to miss the new Sportage, while angular fenders aim to give the SUV a hint of sporty aggression. The shoulder line leads all the way around the car to the "notch-shaped" taillights that are connected by more black detailing. It's not just styling that has changed either, as the new Sportage is 7.1 inches longer with a 3.4-inch longer wheelbase. It's also taller and wider by an inch, and the result is a best-in-class cargo capacity of 39.6 cubic feet, along with class-leading rear legroom of 41.3 inches. A dual-level cargo floor further enhances practicality.
Thanks to a new N3 platform as used on the Sorento, the new Sportage aims to offer "better driving dynamics via expanded use of hot-stamped parts and ultra-high-strength steel for increased average tensile strength and torsional stiffness," as well as "minimized road, wind, and engine noise via greater application of sound absorbing and insulating materials."
A new 2.5-liter inline-four is more powerful yet should be more efficient than the old one. Paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, Kia is targeting 187 horsepower and 8% better fuel economy despite an increase in size. Power goes to the front wheels, or you can opt for all-wheel drive, which adds 1.5 inches in ground clearance compared to the old Sportage. This AWD system features an electro-hydraulic coupling with a center-locking differential for enhanced ability in slippery situations. A hybrid model is also coming, but Kia has not revealed when.
Inside, buyers can look forward to a futuristic curved display with almost 25 inches of screen area thanks to a pair of matching 12.3-inch displays for the driver cluster and the infotainment system. Angular air vents frame the display on each end for a smart design while an asymmetrical console aims to be ergonomic while offering smart storage solutions like removable cupholders.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on all trims, while a new touchpad can change what the physical knobs control, allowing you to tailor the cabin to the most practical functions. A 360-degree surround-view monitor is offered, as is a Harman Kardon premium audio system and features like wireless charging, a WiFi hotspot, and improved Kia Access App compatibility.
As for safety, driver attention warning, LED headlights with auto high beams, lane following assist, lane keep assist, forward collision avoidance, rear occupant alert, a rearview camera with dynamic parking guidelines, front and rear parking sensors, and a blind-spot monitoring system with collision avoidance assist are all offered. You can also have highway driving assist with traffic sight recognition, navigation-based smart cruise control, reverse parking collision avoidance, vehicle exit warning, and radar-based smart cruise control with stop-and-go.
In addition, a new X-Line trim aims to add a more rugged yet sporty image to the SUV while an X-Pro package offers all-terrain tires, LED fog lights, ventilated front seats, multi-terrain drive modes, and more for genuine bushwhacking ability.
"What the X-Line and X-Pro models do is provide a more adventurous personality that consumers are seeking. It's a partner that comes with them," said Derrick Ty, senior product planning strategy manager. "It provides a more enjoyable and easier outdoor life activities. It comes standard with active AWD with hydraulic electric lock, which brings you more confidence in your outdoor adventures."
More information will be released before the Sportage is expected to go on sale domestically in the first quarter of 2022.