Written by Marco Carvajal
2023 Sportage X-Pro Prestige AWD
The new 2023 Sportage is more comfortable and more powerful with off-road enhancements.
The Kia Sportage is a compact SUV built by the South Korean manufacturer since 1993, and now for 2023 the new Sportage is bigger and better with more features, off-road features, and more technology
The new Sportage looks great, with unique front and rear ends, gloss black exterior styling cues, and a roof rack.
The X-Pro trim model is one of the top models in the Sportage lineup and it offers more with off-road tires, additional drive modes, and powertrain tuning that takes off-road tires into account, plus helpful features like LED fog lights and a heated windshield.
Kia created the fifth generation of the Sportage, 2023 model, completely redesigned, larger, and loaded with more technology than the previous model.
This new generation offers newly available very efficient hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, and the introduction of rugged models like the X line gives the Sportage an off-road feel to compete further with other SUVs.
Testing the Sportage in Florida, I have been able to test drive this new SUV on several types of roads, small and big cities, including dirt roads where off-road performance was necessary.
The new Sportage drives and looks great, with unique front and rear ends, gloss black exterior styling cues, and a roof rack.
All four-wheel-drive Sportages have a tall stance and 8.3 inches of ground clearance, which isn’t too far off from the outdoorsy Subaru Forester and its 8.7 inches. The front-wheel-drive Sportage has a more typical 7.1 inches of clearance which is OK for its segment too.
The Kia Sportage is in the group of the best compact crossovers on the market, competing with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Mazda CX-5, all offering a nice roomy interior for their size, low pricing, and good fuel economy.
The 2023 looks more premium with comfortable seats, an extensive set of technological features, and the class-leading warranty of the previous generation which is typical of Kia, and then adds even more cargo capacity and off-road capabilities. It is an excellent purchase for the price and for its value.
The Sportage has a lot of interesting features and a good value to offer, however one small detail on my wishlist is to add a physical volume knob for the audio volume or radio tuner in the center console, an exclusive control, as we usually expect to find in most cars.
Currently, if you want to adjust the volume in the 2023 Kia Sportage you must use a small control on the steering wheel which works well for the driver, but if you have passengers seated next to the pilot then they can not easily adjust the volume. I prefer to adjust the volume in the central dashboard, instead of the wheel.
Another alternative is to turn the volume up on your phone while using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Or you can tap the home button to set up, sound, and volume, but this is not as direct and easy to do while driving.
Trims and Pricing
For 2023 the Sportage has very flexible pricing starting from $26,290 for the baseline model Sportage LX going all the way up to $37,090 for the top-of-the-line Sportage X Pro Prestige that I am test-driving.
A few models like the SX and the X Pro include Prestige versions that are usually $2,000 higher in price that include some upgrades.
In general pricing for the Sportage is low and flexible, giving you many options in a good price range.
- 2023 Sportage LX
- 2023 Sportage EX
- 2023 Sportage X-Line AWD
- 2023 Sportage SX
- 2023 Sportage SX Prestige
- 2023 Sportage X Pro
- 2023 Sportage X Pro Prestige
The new Sportage rides on a new platform with a longer wheelbase, and ride comfort is improved as a result. During my first drive, I have been test driving the X-Pro Prestige AWD a great model with the most features available.
The Sportage is available with a variety of engines. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and offers a choice between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.
The 2023 Sportage’s engine produces more power, and the Sportage’s dimensions have also increased, a great upgrade for this year. This has resulted in more rear legroom and cargo space.
The Sportage ride is smooth and well-isolated from most road imperfections. It felt stable and in control when turning.
The hybrid Sportage model is more powerful with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor and produces a combined 227 horsepower. The PHEV model can go 32 miles in electric mode alone. Electrified versions of the Sportage are available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid format.
The X-Pro Prestige AWD, with its 2.5-liter non-hybrid engine, performs well on fast highways, however, its main purpose is its off-road element. I was able to drive it on rough trails where it felt very capable.
The X-Pro Prestige AWD also smooths out ruts and minimizes discomfort when tackling rough trails.
The X-Pro has good equipment to help tackle the toughest trails. It rides on 17-inch black wheels and all-terrain tires and features a selection of drive modes, which can help in very rough terrain.
The new Sportage is definitely more advanced than the 2022 model. It has new off-road dynamics, an off-road ride that excels, and good comfort for its price range.
The 2023 Kia Sportage comes completely overhauled and remains Kia America’s oldest model.
Hybrid Version: 42 mpg city, 44 mpg highway
Standard Gas Version: 25 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
The interior of the new 2023 Sportage is excellent for the segment with quality materials, it is one of the best in its class. The dashboard has a substantial, upscale look and includes a wide central control layout that slopes toward the driver, giving the cabin a sporty character.
The interior is available in an attractive two-tone color scheme as an option, but if you prefer an all-black cabin, that’s also available. The center console features a rotary gear knob, push-button start, and a myriad of other controls.
Passenger space and comfort for the new 2023 Sportage are exceptional for this class.
As you expect in a crossover, the driver and front passenger have plenty of leg and leg room. even for the tallest passengers. Rear passengers will have no problem getting comfortable. This level of comfort is normally associated with midsize crossovers.
The new Sportage comes with plenty of interior storage space for small personal items. The door pockets are a good size and the cup holders in the center console area are configurable so you can put cans or bottles in or set it up to hold a tablet.
The Sportage gets better and bigger, the real upgrade is in the rear cargo area, which happens to be class-leading, offering 39.6 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats. That tops out the Honda CR-V, the former champion, and its 39.2 cubic feet.
Kia enhanced the Sportage with a good group of controls. It’s the slim digital display located below the center touchscreen that’s further complemented by two control knobs that serve as a reconfigurable control interface for the Sportage’s climate, navigation and audio systems. Riders can toggle between all three, this is not my favorite feature of the new Sportage but I understand the logic behind it. There is no haptic feedback on the buttons on the screen and it can be hard to tell if you have actually pressed one of the buttons or not, which means more distraction for the driver, producing less use of the infotainment system.
Nice features of the Sportage are remote start and climate with smart key, wireless device charging, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
You can enjoy excellent premium audio with Its Harman Kardon sound system.
Standard safety features on all Sportage models include antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, a rearview camera, hill start assist, front-seat side airbags, and full-body side curtain airbags.
All Sportage models feature forward collision alert with pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, rear parking sensors, and lane centering assist.
Top trims like the one I am test driving, the X-pro, are equipped with blind-spot monitoring, a blind-spot camera, and an adaptive cruise control system that can automatically slow down when you enter an area with a lower speed limit.
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