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The 2023 Kia Sportage is much improved with a complete overhaul for the new model year, as it aims to catch the best-selling compact SUV, the 2023 Toyota RAV4. However, the Kia Sportage loses to the RAV4 in one big way. It’s not as safe, for unlike the Toyota SUV, it didn’t win a 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick award.

Unlike the 2023 Kia Sportage, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 won a 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick award

Side view of black 2023 Toyota RAV4 compact SUV
2023 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Safety is an often overlooked aspect of vehicles. Driving is such a routine experience for many people. Day after day, they’ll drive without any incidents of car accidents, giving them a false sense of security. However, at any moment, a crash can happen, leading to an injury or death. With this in mind, it’s ideal to own a vehicle with high-level safety.

And for compact SUV safety, the 2023 Toyota RAV4 is better than the 2023 Kia Sportage. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed its 2023 safety awards earlier this year. With many years of the organization evaluating vehicles, these awards carry a great deal of weight in the automotive industry.

And once again, IIHS honored the RAV4 for safety. The Toyota compact SUV earned a 2023 Top Safety Pick award. However, for the Sportage, it’s a different story. While the Kia SUV earned a Top Safety Pick award in 2022, IIHS kicked it off the list this year. It was left empty-handed.

Toyota RAV4 did better than the Kia Sportage in crash tests and safety evaluations

Front angle view of gray 2023 Kia Sportage compact SUV
2023 Kia Sportage | Kia

The 2023 Toyota RAV4 compact SUV earned the Top Safety Pick award because it did well in a series of crash tests and safety evaluations from IIHS. Also, IIHS has stricter criteria for its safety awards in 2023, so there is a higher bar for a vehicle to get one. This is the primary reason why the 2023 Kia Sportage didn’t earn an award this year. It failed to meet the more rigid requirements set by IIHS.

In most of the crash tests and safety evaluations conducted by IIHS, the RAV4 earned perfect scores. Conversely, the Sportage had more issues for the evaluations, so it didn’t make the cut for the 2023 awards. 

Additional strengths of the 2023 RAV4 over the 2023 Sportage

There are some additional strengths that the 2023 Toyota RAV4 has over the 2023 Kia Sportage. This includes more powerful engine options. The horsepower output of the RAV4 ranges from 203 hp for the base-level 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to 308 hp for the plug-in hybrid system in the Prime model. However, for the Sportage, it ranges from 187 hp in the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder to 261 hp in the plug-in hybrid. 

Also, with its higher ground clearance, the RAV4 is better for off-road use and driving in the snow. It provides up to 8.6 inches of clearance, compared to 8.3 for the Sportage. Also, RAV4 has more capable off-road models, especially the TRD Off-Road.

Furthermore, the RAV4 makes servicing a vehicle affordable with its two-year/25,000-mile free maintenance plan. However, the Sportage doesn’t offer a complimentary maintenance program.

The 2023 Kia Sportage loses to the 2023 Toyota RAV4 for compact SUV safety. This is because the RAV4 earned the highly coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick award in 2023, but the Sportage didn’t get one.

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