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The 2023 Subaru Forester is one versatile SUV. With its peppy boxer engine and all-wheel drive, the Forester handles challenging conditions with ease. Additionally, with plenty of room for people and gear, it’s ready for any adventure.

However, by the same token, the 2023 Kia Sportage gives drivers a lot of SUV for the money. With appealing bodywork, it looks like it costs thousands more. And since it has abundant standard features, Sportage buyers can stick to a budget.

While either sport utility vehicle is a worthy pick, the Forester edges ahead of the Sportage in one area.

Where the 2023 Subaru Forester edges out the 2023 Kia Sportage

SUVs are all about utility. Without it, drivers might opt for smaller, sportier sedans. One of the most significant class advantages, cargo space, lets drivers pack plenty of gear, groceries, and luggage. So, when it comes to storage, how do the Subaru Forester and Kia Sportage compare?

In that area, the Subaru barely edges out the Kia. With 74.2 cubic feet of storage, the Forester nips the Sportage’s 74.1 cubic feet of space. However, while the Subaru has bragging rights, the Kia’s no slouch. And whichever buyers choose, they can store everything they need.

2023 Subaru Forester: Features, specs, pricing

Over the years, Subaru has built a reputation for hardy vehicles that stand up to tough environments. From the GL wagons of the 1980s to today’s Outback, these Japanese cars get the job done without fuss.

The Subaru Forester lives up to that heritage. At an MSRP of $27,720 (with destination), this trustworthy SUV packs value into a compact package. Here’s what that includes.

Subarus have a unique sound and drive due to their horizontally-opposed “boxer” engines. The lumpy thrum adds character and off-the-line torque feels satisfying. The Forester’s 2.5-liter boxer four delivers both, with appealing sound and a power output of 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque.

Also central to every Subaru is the company’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system. This provides all-conditions security and improves everyday traction and acceleration. Combine that with the Forester’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and you can add light off-roading to the mix. That’s helpful on any adventure.

Inside, the Forester offers a utilitarian, functional experience. U.S. News notes the high-quality materials and quiet ride. Additionally, a Starlink touchscreen infotainment ensures seamless connectivity on the go.

2023 Kia Sportage: Features, specs, pricing

On the street, the 2023 Kia Sportage compares well against more expensive SUVs. With a sleek style and strong stance, it looks ready for anything. Add ample standard equipment, and you’ve got a sport utility that’s hard to pass up, starting at $27,615 (with destination).

Under the hood, the Sportage uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. While it won’t win many drag races, it has plenty of grunt around town. While the base model uses front-wheel drive, buyers can opt for Kia’s Active All-Wheel Drive system. Using a center locking differential, the AWD setup ensures balanced traction. That’s good to have when the snow falls or the mud gets thick.

However, it’s the Sportage’s interior that stands out. With an upscale look belying its MSRP, the Kia’s cockpit provides an ideal environment. The 12.2-inch instrument display is high-tech and functional, while standard Apple CarPlay and Android Audio offer seamless connectivity. U.S. News was impressed.

The Subaru Forester and Kia Sportage offer value, utility, and quality. With both SUVs starting well below $30k, consumers get a lot for the money. Also, with copious storage space, either vehicle lets drivers pack anything and everything. Add in trustworthy powertrains and all-wheel drive, and these sport utilities give buyers go-anywhere versatility.

Related The 2023 Kia Sportage and 2023 Subaru Forester Share the Same Weakness

The 2023 Kia Sportage and 2023 Subaru Forester Share the Same Weakness