2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro Prestige Delivers Quality Without Inflating Its MSRP - IMBOLDN
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Kia Motors’ lineup has undergone a non-stop “glow up” for nearly a decade. The once dirt-cheap subcompact disposable imports from Korea are now imposing contenders standing wheel-to-wheel with automakers from Germany, Japan, and America. The all-new 2023 Kia Sportage is the latest example with a radically different design from the outgoing model. This new Sportage is offered in three drivetrains, two engines, and seven trim levels. But more importantly, the Sportage offers upscale styling and personality without inflating its MSRP.

I recently had the chance to kick the tires on a 2023 Kia Sportage AWD X-Pro Prestige. This top-of-the-range trim level features off-road-inspired equipment as standard and a dual-screen dashboard that helps provide a quality atmosphere at a reasonable price. Moreover, Kia provides a Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid variant as an alternative to the gas-powered Sportage.

More Chic for Your Buck

Kia Motors gave its crossover an entirely new look for 2023 inside and out. The most significant change from the outgoing model is its chevron-shaped headlights. Some have used the word “alien” to describe the 2023 Kia Sportage’s face, and I can see why. The car’s appearance makes one think of sci-fi as if it left the assembly line cosplaying for Comic-Con. The vehicle’s rear features a roof rack with a ducktail roof spoiler ending the roofline in a cliff. The taillights are joined by a slim LED that extends the tailgate width.

Amongst the CUV market, which is plentiful, the new Sportage’s styling helps it pop like a peacock in a pigeon coop.

The Kia Sportage X-Pro Prestige shown in this article features the optional two-tone exterior paint scheme in Jungle Green and Ebony Black. The CUV’s look is further enhanced with 17-inch matte-black alloy wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires.

Amongst the CUV market, which is plentiful, the new Sportage’s styling helps it pop like a peacock in a pigeon coop.

Economy Plus Interior

The new Kia Sportage’s stylish exterior design continues inside. Similar to its frontend design, the Sportage’s interior highlights one key detail above the rest. Its 12.3-inch dual-screen is placed neatly on the mantel of the dashboard. The dual-screen displays the car’s instrument cluster and infotainment/navigation systems and gives the interior an upscale look and feel when you enter and see this giant curved screen across the dash.

Kia’s interiors have been on point in recent years, offering comfort and style simultaneously. The model shown came equipped with Perforated Misty Gray Syntex. The almost-white, gray interior appeared to be floating in the space in contrast to the black carpet and interior accents. In addition, the panoramic sunroof offered the allure of wide-open spaces. Speaking of space, the 2023 Kia Sportage provides class-leading interior storage with nearly 40 cubic inches to fit car seats, a college dorm room, or most hobbies at a sporting goods store.

Levels of Performance

The all-wheel drive Kia Sportage, with the BF Goodrich tires, offers 8.3 inches of ground clearance. In addition to a center-locking differential and Off-Road drive mode, the new Sportage has the tools to take the road less traveled. However, there is one area where the Sportage lacks the necessary gusto – the engine bay.

It’s not a slow vehicle and will easily accelerate and meet the average commuting driver’s needs. However, do not expect it to ask “how high?” when you tell it to jump.

As mentioned, two engine options are available on the new Kia Sportage. The model I test drove was the 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine produces 187 horsepower, which is the Sportage’s biggest problem. More muscle is needed to carry the CUV’s bulk. Nevertheless, it’s not a slow vehicle and will easily accelerate and meet the average commuting driver’s needs. However, do not expect it to ask “how high?” when you tell it to jump. The gasoline-powered Kia Sportage will not be rushed, no matter what drive mode you select. Moreover, the fuel economy is rated at 25-28 MPG.

But there is a solution! The Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) variants feature a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine in two outputs. As a result, the Hybrid offers 227 horsepower, and the PHEV kicks it up to 261 horsepower with 258 lb.-ft of torque. The added power would make a noticeable difference in performance and driving feel compared to the sluggish gasoline engine.

More importantly, if optioned right, you can get the added power without the added cost. For example, the 2023 Kia Sportage AWD X-Pro Prestige, as shown, has an MSRP of $38,555. The same model in a Hybrid starts at $44k. But a Kia Sportage Hybrid with the lesser trier EX trim level offers the performance, and the fancy 12.3-inch digital dash, as standard for under $35k. 

As for fuel economy, Kia states the Sportage Hybrid gets 38-43 mpg and a combined 84 mpg for the PHEV.

New Kia Sportage AWD Hits All the Key Points

There are crossover SUVs on the market that offer better off-road performance than the new Kia Sportage. There are also plenty of models that compete within the $28-40k benchmark. But what the 2023 Kia Sportage manages to do is hit all the key points. It offers stand-out styling, a premium-feeling interior with the latest digital motif, safety tech as standard, Hybrid alternatives, and enough off-road hardware to survive a campsite weekend.

The Sportage is a jack of all trades but a master of none. However, it looks and acts the part of an all-wheel drive compact SUV with the confidence of a poker player having an Ace up their sleeve.