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The 2023 Kia Sportage features a lot of changes from a recent redesign, one of which is that Kia now offers hybrid options for the car. While the hybrid option is a good thing overall, it’s not perfect and has a few drawbacks that are exclusive to the hybrid powertrains. Here’s a look at the three disadvantages the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid models have compared to the regular version of the car.

This is what’s good about the 2023 Kia Sportage in general

A Kia dealership, maker of the 2023 Kia Sportage.
Kia dealership | Getty Images

According to Consumer Reports, the Sportage is a solid compact SUV overall, and it has a few positive traits that will be true no matter which powertrain option you choose. Those positive traits all concern the car’s interior and comfort features, as these are the areas where the Sportage excels. 

Despite being a compact SUV, the Sportage’s interior is spacious. That spaciousness means that the seats are comfortable, even in the rear. On top of that, Kia ensured the Sportage had a good ride quality. Furthermore, it’s not enough to be a comfortable car to sit around in. Kia also ensured the Sportage was a comfortable car to get into and out of. 

The three downsides of the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

Regarding powertrains, the Sportage starts with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that gets 187 hp. Kia offers two other powertrain options, and they’re both hybrids. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder traditional hybrid powertrain gets 227 hp, and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder PHEV powertrain that gets 261 hp. These hybrid powertrains are more powerful, but they come with some flaws. 

Despite being weaker, the standard Sportage handles better than the hybrid version. The hybrid version didn’t do a poor job. However, as Consumer Reports said in the tests, it had “less tire grip” and a “more pronounced body roll” compared to the standard Sportage. Similarly, it did worse on the braking tests, as it took the hybrid version longer to slow down.

The standard version came to a stop from 60 mph in 134 feet on dry surfaces and 151 feet on wet surfaces. The hybrid version needed 139 feet and 156 feet, respectively. Lastly, the hybrid version came with a monostable rotary gear selector. However, Consumer Reports wrote that using it could be “unintuitive.” For example, if you want to shift to Park, rather than rotating the knob, you’ll have to press a button.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid has one exclusive trait that’s great

While those issues are exclusive to the hybrid option, car shoppers who choose this option for their Kia SUV will get one sole benefit, and it’s a significant one. Unsurprisingly, the Sportage Hybrid will get a much better fuel economy than the standard version, and this is especially true if folks choose to go for the PHEV version.

The standard Sportage gets about 25 mpg overall, which is average for a compact SUV. The hybrid option boosts that number up to 36 mpg, which is a difference of 11 mpg. That’s a big enough difference to make some real difference in terms of gas money. The PHEV version, meanwhile, is even more fuel efficient.

This is because PHEVs can travel in the battery-only mode, where the car uses its battery for power, not gas. This version of the Sportage gets 34 miles of range from its battery. This means that many folks can run errands in their Kia without burning any gas. 


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