2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid First Look Review: Up to 39 MPG
Power, style, and efficiency. At one time, you could likely have two of any of these attributes. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid posits the question: Can you have it all? Kia thinks so, which is why this version of the new Sportage (which was unveiled in non-hybrid form back in October) packs a 226-hp hybrid powertrain that should return up to 39 mpg.
That’s Kia’s number, and it’s a target for the most efficient Sportage hybrid, the front-wheel-drive model. We don’t have official EPA mileage figures yet, nor do we know how much the all-wheel-drive version will drop fuel economy. Also unknown: pricing. All that will be revealed closer to the on-sale date, we’re sure.
As for what we do know, the Hybrid is largely similar to the regular gas Sportage inside and out. It gets unique 17- and 18-inch wheel designs, and some “HEV” badging, but otherwise it is largely indistinguishable. The same goes for the interior, although the Hybrid is well-equipped as standard and offers plenty of optional comfort, entertainment and safety features. Three trim levels will be offered: LX, EX, and SX-Prestige, with LX being the only trim with available FWD.
So the powertrain is the main difference, and it consists of a 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4 paired with a single 44-kW motor and a 1.49 kWh battery, channeling power through a six-speed automatic. No surprise that this mechanical package and its output is identical to its platform-mate, the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. That said, the Tucson Hybrid comes standard with AWD, so the FWD Sportage Hybrid will likely have an absolute fuel economy advantage (and possibly a price advantage, too). The Sportage Hybrid can tow, too, with a 2,000 lbs tow capacity rating.
We expect a PHEV variant to follow on, but details of this are not yet available. If the Sportage Hybrid is any guide, and it should be, the Sportage PHEV should be very similar to the Tucson PHEV, pairing the same 1.6-liter turbo I-4 with a larger 13.8-kWh battery.
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