Kia’s current tagline is “movement that inspires” and while I am not sure if the 2023 Kia Sportage will be inspiring, exactly, it will catch your attention.
The venerable subcompact crossover SUV gets a major makeover that looks distinctive (whether it’s attractive or not is up to you) when set against the sea of anonymity that so often exists in that class. Oh, and it sets the stage for future electrified versions.
As with so many vehicles (and, often, humans), the Sportage is gaining in size as it ages — it’s now 7.1 inches longer, with a 3.4-inch longer wheelbase, and taller and wider by half an inch compared to the previous model. It’s also getting a bit nicer, thanks to features like an optional dual-panoramic setup for the 12.3-inch infotainment screens.
Ground clearance is up by 1.5 inches for all-wheel-drive models, which will have a multi-terrain drive-mode system.
The trim walk goes like this: LX, EX, SX, SX-Prestige, X-Line, X-Pro, and X-Pro Prestige. The latter two trims are off-road oriented.
This fifth-generation Sportage will be built (with a few exceptions for certain trims) in West Point, Georgia, alongside the Telluride three-row SUV and the K5 sedan.
Power will come from a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 187 horsepower and mating to an eight-speed automatic transmission. While all-wheel drive is available, front-wheel drive is standard. The AWD system has a center-locking differential that it will use to distribute power between the front and rear wheels.
The off-road-oriented X-Line and X-Pro models will get AWD standard, along with 19-inch wheels (X-Line) and unique appearance features. X-Pros will have Bridgestone all-terrain tires, 17-inch wheels, LED fog lamps and available LED headlights, heated windshield, available two-tone roof, and cooled front seats.
The usual electronic driver aids and safety nannies will be available, and the list is long — a bit too long for this post. New for this year are a 360-degree surround view with 3D and a blind-spot monitoring camera feed for the gauge cluster.
Other standard or available features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, coat hangers and USB ports molded into the front-seat headrests, touchpad climate and audio controls, Harman Kardon audio, Bluetooth, wireless charging, and Kia Connect — which replaces Uvo infotainment and includes in-car wi-fi and smart-speaker integration.
Expect to see the next Kia Sportage on sale in the first quarter of next year.
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