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The Kia Sportage and Subaru Forester are appealing choices for the compact crossover SUV segment. There are satisfying qualities for both models. However, the 2023 Kia Sportage has a huge item that the 2023 Subaru Forester doesn’t offer: efficient hybrid models.

Unlike the 2023 Subaru Forester, the 2023 Kia Sportage has hybrid models in the US

Front angle view of green 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid compact crossover SUV
2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid | Kia

Gasoline is a significant cost of vehicle ownership, so the efficient hybrid vehicles that the 2023 Kia Sportage offers can save compact SUV drivers a great deal of money over the long haul. And the Sportage offers two types of hybrids: a traditional one and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

An advantage of the PHEV is the ability to drive with electric-only power for up to an estimated 34 miles. This is nearly the average daily driving distance for Americans. Also, the Sportage Plug-In Hybrid is a good alternative to EVs — for it doesn’t face the range anxiety issue. When the electric power runs low in the Sportage PHEV, it switches to power from the internal combustion engine. 

Conversely, the 2023 Subaru Forester doesn’t offer any hybrid vehicles for the American market. While there’s a hybrid version in Europe, all Forester models in the United States are fully gas-powered.

2023 Sportage Hybrid and PHEV have higher gas mileage than the 2023 Forester

Front angle view of green 2023 Subaru Forester compact crossover SUV
2023 Subaru Forester | Subaru

The biggest benefit of the hybrid and PHEV models for the 2023 Kia Sportage compact SUV is higher gas mileage. The Sportage Hybrid has an estimated fuel economy of up to 43 combined mpg, while the PHEV gets up to 84 combined MPGe in electric-only mode and 35 combined mpg in hybrid mode.

In comparison, the 2023 Subaru Forester is much less efficient. The highest gas mileage it achieves with its internal combustion engine is an estimated 29 combined mpg. 

In addition to saving money on gasoline, another benefit of the high fuel economy of the hybrid models for the Sportage is convenience. With lower fuel consumption, they require fewer stops at gas stations than the Forester. 

Other strengths of the Kia Sportage over the Subaru Forester

The 2023 Sportage has some other strengths over the 2023 Forester for compact SUV drivers. This includes better performance, particularly for the hybrid models. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the fully gas-powered Sportage generates 187 horsepower, while the Hybrid produces 226 horsepower. And the most potent one of all is the PHEV, which churns out 261 horsepower.

In comparison, the Forester only offers one engine option in America: a 2.5-liter flat-four, which generates 182 horsepower.

Another strength of the Sportage is value. It offers more standard features than the Forester — especially driving assistance technologies. Plus, the Sportage is slightly cheaper, with a starting price of $26,290 MSRP, compared to $26,395 MSRP for the Forester.

Further adding to the affordability of the Sportage is its generous warranty coverage, which helps reduce the cost of repairs. All models of the Kia compact SUV have a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, the Forester only has a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

With its hybrid models, the 2023 Kia Sportage has a huge item that the 2023 Subaru Forester doesn’t offer. For drivers choosing between the two compact crossover SUVs, the hybrid models are a key factor to consider.

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