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Plot twist, the Kia Sportage just came from behind to take the Toyota RAV4 down. After spending time in the 2023 Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV4, we might have a few ideas about how the underdog came out with this win. But let’s see why the Sportage outranks the RAV4. 

Is the 2023 Kia Sportage better than the 2023 Toyota RAV4? 

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 off-roading in water and mud
2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

The 2023 Kia Sportage and 2023 Toyota RAV4 both have unique benefits to offer drivers, making it difficult to officially crown a winner. For example, the Sportage is more refined, while the RAV4 is slightly faster with more muscle. 

But according to Kelley Blue Book, the Sportage outranks the incredibly popular RAV4. Both models have a score of 4.6 out of 5.0, and KBB placed the Sportage in second while the RAV4 dropped to third place. 

The SUVs could have tied, but KBB put the Sportage ahead. It likes the Sportage for having a fresh design, tons of leg space in the second row, and a spacious interior. 

But the fierce face of the Kia Sportage might not be for everyone. It approaches the Sorento in size, and wireless Apple CarPlay is limited to higher trims. 

KBB praises the RAV4 for having a solid resale value, tons of standard features, and a spacious interior. But the cabin is loud, and the interior is dated. 

Does the Sportage or RAV4 drive better? 

The 2023 Kia Sportage has a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 9.5 seconds, which isn’t terrible for the class. Also, the eight-speed automatic transmission is clumsy. 

But the steering is direct with responsive handling and limited body roll. The brakes are smooth and responsive as well. 

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 has a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It can reach 60 mph in about 9.1 seconds and has smooth transmission shifts from the eight-speed automatic transmission. 

But the steering is vague and hefty while the handling remains confident with solid brakes. Both SUVs have hybrid and PHEV options to consider for more power and refinement. 

The Sportage has an edge by being more comfortable. It has a smoother performance with a quieter cabin. The RAV4 is a bit bumpier with more wind and road noise. Plus, you get an occasional engine wheeze. 

For off-roading, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road has 18-inch wheels and an off-road-tuned suspension. The Sportage X-Pro has a locking differential, 17-inch wheels, and multi-terrain driving modes. Both SUVs have all-terrain tires, roof rails, and a 360-degree camera system. 

Is the Sportage or RAV4 bigger? 

The 2023 Kia Sportage driving down the road
2023 Kia Sportage | Kia

The 2023 Kia Sportage provides 39.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and up to 74.1 cubes in total. The 2023 Toyota RAV4 has 37.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseats with 69.8 cubes overall. 

While the Kia Sportage has more leg space in the rear, the RAV4 has more headroom. They provide a similar amount of space in the front row. Also, the rear seats recline in the Sportage, allowing passengers to relax. 

The Sportage can tow up to 2,500 lbs, while the RAV4 can tow up to 3,500 lbs. The Sportage is longer than the RAV4, with a slightly wider turning radius. But both models are easy to maneuver. 

Surprisingly, the Kia Sportage also has a much higher reliability ranking. It outranks the RAV4 because the interior is modern, more comfortable, and provides extra space. That said, the RAV4 is slightly faster and can tow more.