2023 Kia Sportage PHEV X-Line Prestige AWD

By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
We drove a Kia Sportage in the mid-1990s when it first came to the United States. The small Korean-built sport utility was unlike most of the “trucklike” SUVs of the time. It had a comfortable interior, smooth ride and a little four-cylinder engine. It wasn’t the best SUV on the market, but it was one of the best values with a starting price of about $16,000.

Larger Value
Four generations later the fifth iteration of the Sportage is much larger, more refined and it’s a class leader with a variety of trim levels and power choices. And it’s still one of the best values on the market.

The latest model is about two feet longer than the original and it’s one of the largest in its small SUV class. The 2023 model has an attractive design, impressive interior, and a large offering of tech goodies.

Sportage 3 Ways
The 2023 Sportage is available with three propulsion systems: gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Combined, it comes in eight trim levels which means you can buy a traditional gasoline powered Sportage for as little as $26,290 plus destination charge and options. Or you can spend as much as $44,285 for the sophisticated two-row Sportage PHEV X-Line Prestige AWD like the one we drove.
Sportage PHEV.

The Kia Sportage plug-in electric hybrid is a new model for 2023 and it comes in two very well-equipped trim levels with the X-Line Prestige being the fully loaded model. The only decision is what color?

Based on the Sportage hybrid, the PHEV has a larger 13.8-kWh battery which adds an all-electric range of 34 miles operating just like an electric vehicle. This means for many commuters and those running errands in the neighborhood the gasoline engine may never start. The benefit for the plug-in hybrid is that when the battery power diminishes the gasoline engine automatically starts and powers the Sportage extending the range to about 430 miles on a full tank of gas. It’s kind of like having the best of both electric and gas. Obviously, it’s the best system for road trips.

Turbocharged Gas & Plug-In
The four-cylinder gasoline engine in the Sportage PHEV is a 1.6-liter turbocharged 177-hp four-cylinder engine, supplemented by a 66.9-kWh electric motor and 13.8 kWh lithium polymer battery. Combined, the electric motor and gasoline engine produce a potent 261 horsepower and a zero to 60 mph time of 6.9 seconds according to buff magazine tests. While that doesn’t compare with some of the dizzying acceleration numbers being recorded by many of the electric vehicles, it is enough to provide good passing power and freeway entrance acceleration while still logging very good fuel economy numbers. The EPA rates the PHEV at 84 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) using electricity and gasoline and 35 mpg on gasoline only.

Unlike most hybrids which have continuously variable transmissions (CVT), the Kia Sportage PHEV has a 6-speed automatic transmission with selectable drive modes. We think that’s a big advantage over the belt driven CVT which tends to feel and sound like it’s running on rubber bands.

Charging the Sportage
Charging the Sportage PHEV is best done with a Level-2 charger in your own garage. A complete charge takes about two hours. Level-2 chargers are also available at most public charge stations and at many workplaces. The PHEV cannot use the high-speed chargers that the Kia electric vehicles can use.

7 Color Choices
Exterior color choices include three standard colors and four optional ($395) colors, while inside the very nice, quilted leather-like SynTex interior comes only in black or green sage. The front seats are heated and ventilated, the steering wheel is heated, and there is a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade.



2 Panoramic Displays
The instrument panel is made up of dual 12.3-inch curved panoramic display panels which display navigation, Kia Connect, SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition to instrumentation, the panel displays a 360-degree Surround-View Monitor and Blind Spot Detection with cameras showing the side rear view when the turn signal is activated.


Tons of Tech Features
Other convenience features include a Smart Power Tailgate, auto rain-sensing wipers, wireless phone charger, rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping and Following Assist, high beam assist and several other driver’s aids. In addition to being very well appointed, the interior is well-designed and user-friendly. Our only complaint was the seats were not as supportive as in some other models.

Best for Typical Drivers
The Sportage PHEV isn’t going to win any prizes from driving enthusiasts, but it does provide a comfortable ride quality and good level of performance for typical drivers. It has active all-wheel drive with central locking differential, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and a 2,000-pound towing capacity.

The 2023 Kia Sportage plug-in hybrid is an impressive link for new car buyers, as we make the mandated transition from gasoline to electric vehicles over the next dozen years. It’s also one of the best values for vehicles in this category. And as a bonus, it has the best warranty in the business: 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain and battery and 5-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty.

Read More

2024 Buick Envista: First Look

April 17, 2023 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 313

What Is It? Although most people don’t know it, Buick is one of the longest-running brands sold in America, and an originator of premium automobiles in this country. And in an attempt to keep up with the current U.S. buying public, Buick now carries a lineup exclusively consisting of SUVs

Ford Bronco Raptor

Ford Bronco Raptor Advance 4×4

April 5, 2023 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews, Ford, SUV • Views: 358

“Ford Bronco Raptor 4-Door Advanced 4×4” The Wild West meets Jurassic Park   By Arv Voss OVERVIEW: Ford’s bucking “Wild West” Bronco in its Jurrasic Age Raptor form would likely have changed OJ Simpson’s now legendary attempted getaway from law enforcement. The 4-Door

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 4MATIC Sedan

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 4MATIC Sedan

March 13, 2023 • Automotive Reviews, Cars, electric, Mercedes-Benz • Views: 317

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 4MATIC “A Sleek Electrified E-Class Sedan” By Arv Voss OVERVIEW As with most auto manufacturers, the Tri-Star Mercedes-Benz camp is gearing up to the inevitable future – the demise of gasoline fueled vehicles. Essentially, in a nutshell, Mercedes is offering up two

Chevrolet Bolt EUV Premiere LSF

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Premiere

February 12, 2023 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews, Chevrolet, Chevy, electric, SUV • Views: 502

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Premiere Redline “An Efficient and Affordable All-Electric Hatchback” By Arv Voss OVERVIEW: American auto consumers seem to be attracted to SUVs, so to take advantage of that, the Bowtie team took the underpinnings of the basic Bolt EV hatchback and wrapped the EUV in a

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Debuts in Chicago

February 9, 2023 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 375

2024 Subaru Crosstrek Subaru introduced the Impreza-based Crosstrek 12 years ago, and after recently completing a year of record sales this small crossover is now the most popular model in the company’s lineup. Never one to rest on its laurels, the Japan-based automaker premiered the

Ford F-150 XLT Lightning Pickup

Ford F-150 XLT Lightning Pickup

January 29, 2023 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews, electric, Ford, Trucks • Views: 409

2022 Ford F-150 XLT Lightning 4×4 SuperCrew “Not the First Rodeo for Ford’s Lightning Truck” By Arv Voss OVERVIEW: It’s been said that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. The Blue Oval team has put that notion to rest. Ford’s SVT (Special Vehicle Team) introduced the

Aston Martin Says Farewell to DBS With 770 Ultimate Edition

Aston Martin Says Farewell to DBS With 770 Ultimate Edition

January 18, 2023 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 440

DBS 770 Ultimate Aston Martin introduced the current DBS in 2018, and this V12-powered thing of beauty has reigned atop the British marque’s lineup ever since. And even though all good things must come to an end, the current DBS is approaching its final glory in style. Certainly not a

Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC Sedan

Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC Sedan

January 2, 2023 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews, Mercedes-Benz • Views: 413

2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC Sedan “Iconic C-Class Gains Historic Status” By Arv Voss OVERVIEW: The now iconic Mercedes-Benz C Class sedan first appeared on our shores in 1993 (code-named W202). It was the company’s inaugural entry into the “compact” segment and was affectionately

2023 Kia EV6 GT: First Drive Review

December 19, 2022 • Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews • Views: 536

2023 Kia EV6 GT One year ago, Kia introduced its first dedicated battery-electric vehicle called the EV6. The stylish electric crossover offers efficiency, versatility and performance that responsible for bringing many new consumers to the Korean brand. When the EV6 first came to market, the