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The Kia Sportage and the Honda CR-V are rivals in the highly competitive compact crossover SUV segment. Both vehicles are much improved for the 2023 model year with superb redesigns. However, the 2023 Kia Sportage has one huge item that the 2023 Honda CR-V doesn’t offer: a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model. 

2023 Kia Sportage has a plug-in hybrid model — but the 2023 Honda CR-V doesn’t offer one

Front angle view of gray 2023 Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid crossover SUV
2023 Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid | Kia

The redesigned 2023 Kia Sportage crossover SUV has many improvements and additions, including a sleek exterior design, a more modernistic interior, better driving dynamics, and new features and technologies. Another addition for the 2023 model year is the new plug-in hybrid model.

Both the Sportage and the 2023 Honda CR-V have traditional hybrid vehicles. However, unlike the CR-V, the Sportage offers a plug-in hybrid. One of the benefits of a plug-in hybrid is the ability to drive on electric-only power. The Sportage PHEV has an estimated electric-only driving range of up to 34 miles. 

Also, a plug-in hybrid like the Sportage PHEV is a good alternative to an all-electric vehicle. With some EVs, there’s a concern about range anxiety with running out of battery power. However, when the electric power runs out for the Sportage Plug-In Hybrid, it switches to power from the internal combustion engine.

2023 Sportage PHEV has better performance and gas mileage than the 2023 CR-V

Rear angle view of black 2023 Honda CR-V crossover SUV
2023 Honda CR-V | Honda

Another benefit of the plug-in hybrid powertrain in the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV is superior performance. It delivers an output of 261 horsepower. For the 2023 Honda CR-V, the strongest powertrain is the traditional hybrid, which produces only 204 horsepower. 

Also, the Sportage Plug-In Hybrid provides high gas mileage. The crossover SUV gets an estimated fuel efficiency rating of up to 84 MPGe in electric-only mode and 35 combined mpg in hybrid mode. In comparison, the CR-V Hybrid gets up to an estimated 40 combined mpg. However, without the ability to drive on electric-only power, it doesn’t reach the peak efficiency of the Sportage PHEV.

Other ways the Kia Sportage is better than the Honda CR-V

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There are some other ways that the 2023 Sportage is better than the 2023 CR-V. This includes greater towing capacities. The Sportage can tow up to 2,500 pounds — versus 1,500 pounds for the CR-V. Another strength is off-road use. Unlike the CR-V, the Sportage has off-road models with the rugged X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige trims.

Plus, the redesigned Sportage offers a new dual panoramic curved display, with two massive 12.3-inch screens for the infotainment system and digital instrument cluster. However, the CR-V doesn’t have a dual panoramic curved display — and its largest screen is 9.0 inches.

Also, the Sportage is more affordable. It has a starting price of $26,290 MSRP, compared to $31,610 for the CR-V. Additionally, the Sportage has longer warranty coverage, with a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. The coverage for the CR-V is only a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. 

With its plug-in hybrid model, the 2023 Kia Sportage has a huge item that the 2023 Honda CR-V doesn’t offer. While the availability of a plug-in hybrid doesn’t mean that the Sportage is a superior overall vehicle, it’s a factor to consider when deciding between the two crossover SUVs.