3 Things Prevent the Kia Sportage Hybrid From Being Perfect

Based on our week with the Kia Sportage Hybrid, we can determine that rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Honda CR-V Hybrid should be nervous. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is an affordable, well-rounded option. Only three things hold it back from earning a perfect score. 

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid could be the best hybrid SUV 

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid off-roading
2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The competition is really heating up thanks to the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid. It’s changing the game with an affordable entry-level price of about $27,290. Plus, it gets an EPA-estimated 42 mpg in the city and up to 44 mpg on the highway. 

Plus, the fuel efficiency doesn’t compromise power. The Sportage Hybrid can really go with 277 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The ride is smooth, the handling is responsive, and the brakes are confident. It’s nearly perfect, but there are three areas where things could be improved. 

1. The tech could be a little more intuitive 

The 2023 Kia Storage Hybrid is loaded with modern tech, including an available 12.3-inch infotainment display that’s connected to a digital gauge cluster. The single screen that spans across the dashboard looks great. 

However, the lack of physical controls can be a little confusing at first. You have to find the right touchscreen button, and the symbol that looks like an airplane above a little fan is used to adjust the function of the dials between volume control and climate control temperatures. 

Connecting your phone without a cord can be tricky. You can only connect a wireless device while the vehicle is in park. Plus, it seems like some of the menus have a few extra steps. 

This is only a temporary issue. When you take a moment to learn the controls then the system becomes easy to use. It works very quickly too.

2. Visibility could be improved 

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid has massive windows that let in tons of natural light. We’re fans of the massive panoramic sunroof too. However, think pillars frame the windshield and can block your view while turning. 

Also, the rear window seems a bit narrow, and the headrests in the second row can block your view. On a positive note, the Sportage has massive rearview mirrors and blind-spot warning to make up for the difference. 

There are a fair amount of seat and steering wheel adjustment controls, but it can be challenging to see the left corner of the hood. This takes a little convenience away from parking in tight spaces. Perhaps things would be easier if our model had the 360-degree surround view. Edmunds loves the camera!

3. Features are limited to higher trims 

A green 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro compact SUV driving on a dirt road as its tires kick up dust clouds
2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro | Kia America

While the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is value-packed with standard LED lights, a digital gauge cluster, dual-zone automatic climate control, and more, some options are reserved for higher trim levels. 

For example, the ventilated seats, ambient interior lighting, the 360-degree overview camera, and the tow-hitch are only available with the top-spec SX Prestige trim. Also, only the standard model is available with front-wheel drive. 

Having AWD included with the higher trims is a nice perk unless you live in an area without inclement weather. Then it just adds to the price and can impact your fuel economy. 

Other than that, the Kia Sportage Hybrid is an excellent vehicle to consider, with plenty of space, tons of comfort, and even off-roading capabilities.

RELATED: Driven: 3 Ways the 2023 Kia Sportage Beats the Toyota RAV4