I’ve repeatedly written how much we love the current generation Kia Sportage, which was all new for 2022. The Sportage has fantastic styling, a modern tech stack, and a full suite of safety features, all at a price considered a value in today’s market. The one model I had not tested in the Sportage lineup until now was the plug-in hybrid model.
The plug-in hybrid sits at the top of the Kia Sportage range and has a 261-horsepower hybrid powertrain. While I don’t have particularly nice things to say about the base Sportage engine, the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models are both excellent powertrains.
The Sportage PHEV features a 1.6-liter inline-four-cylinder engine mated to a 13.8-kWh battery. The Sportage PHEV is available in all-wheel drive only. In EV-only mode, the Sportage is rated with a 34-mile range. A full charge on an L2 charger will take about two hours.
I managed to get 31 miles out of a full charge in electric-only mode. However, the Sportage felt reluctant to perform hard acceleration maneuvers in EV vs. full-hybrid modes. You could feel the gas engine come on briefly to assist in those situations. The Sportage is a joy to drive in hybrid mode, and the combined hybrid fuel economy after was 31 MPGe.
The interior of the Sportage PHEV is just as impressive as the rest of the lineup. The two 12.3-inch screens that comprise the infotainment and gauge cluster are sharp and bright. Kia’s infotainment system is easy to use and very responsive.
The two gripes I have with the Sportage interior are the large swaths of piano black throughout the cabin, which show dust and fingerprints everywhere. The use of piano black must stop, especially in high-touch areas. Nothing cheapens the feel of an interior more than surfaces covered in oily fingerprints and dust despite best efforts to keep them clean.
The 2023 Sportage PHEV is a great vehicle for individuals who find themselves doing a significant amount of city driving. The allure of doing most daily errands on battery only is extremely appealing, but it comes at an $11,000 higher price than the regular Sportage Hybrid. For my lifestyle and driving habits, the regular Hybrid is the sweet spot in the Sportage lineup. For those who do more city driving than highway driving, the Sportage PHEV is definitely worth a look.
The 2023 Kia Sported PHEV X-Line Prestige AWD starts at $44,285 and comes fully loaded with only small upcharges for different paint colors.