Kia unveils plug-in hybrid option on 2023 Sportage

The 2023 Kia Sportage now comes with a third powertrain option, and it can go 32 miles on battery electric power. The redesigned compact crossover can be fitted with a plug-in hybrid powertrain loaded with convenience and safety features, the brand announced Tuesday.

The 2023 Sportage PHEV comes in two X-Line grades and standard all-wheel drive. It moves by a 177-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4 and 66.9-kw electric motor, with a 13.8-kWh lithium polymer battery acting as an energy buffer for hybrid driving or enabling those electric miles. It will use a 6-speed automatic transmission with selectable drive modes. Kia didn’t disclose total system output, but the larger/related 2022 Hyundai Tucson PHEV and 2022 Kia Sorento PHEV make 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Like those vehicles, Kia estimates the Sportage PHEV will travel 32 miles on electric power and have a miles-per-gallon equivalent of 79 mpg.

The Sportage PHEV’s 7.2-kw onboard charger will allow 240-volt (Level 2) charging in less than two hours.

The fifth-generation Sportage will also be offered with a base 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes 187 hp, instead of 181 hp in the outgoing model. An 8-speed automatic replaces the sluggish 6-speed automatic. A Sportage Hybrid offers another fuel-efficient choice but without a plug: the 1.6-liter turbo-4 and 6-speed automatic transmission work with a single motor powered by a 1.49-kwh battery pack, same as the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. Kia states an output of 226 hp and towing capacity of 2,000 lb. Base LX versions come with front-wheel drive and a forecast 39 mpg combined.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV

The Sportage PHEV will come in X-Line and X-Line Prestige grades with LED headlights and LED taillights, distinct bumpers, gloss black trim, and 19-inch black alloy wheels. Inside, the X-Line PHEV can be upgraded from an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen, though smartphone connectivity likely will require a wire, as in other Hyundai/Kia models. A surround-view camera system and Harman Kardon sound are available. 

The X-Line grades come loaded with standard driver-assist features, including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, automatic high beams, and a safe-exit sensor that warns exiting occupants of approaching cars. Prestige models add adaptive cruise control, navigation, and other features. 

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