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Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, are great for people who are curious about electric cars but aren’t ready to leap from Ford to Tesla. Despite this, many people don’t give PHEVs a shot because they can be relatively easy to forget, especially regarding SUVs. So which is the best PHEV SUV on the market? Here are four advantages the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV has over the Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV.

1. Lower price for the 2023 Kia Sportage

A grey 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV parked in a desert area.
2023 Kia Sportage PHEV | Kia Media

Given the current economy, price is probably one of the determining factors for many people. This is why the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV wins this round.

It has an MSRP of $38,490 for the standard X-Line trim, according to Edmunds. In contrast, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV’s MSRP is $40,000 for the SEL Convenience trim. That’s a difference of $1,510.

Things change a little when you look at the next trim level up. The Kia Sportage PHEV has an MSRP of $42,990 for the X-Line Prestige, while the Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV Limited has an MSRP of $41,295. This is a difference of $1,695. 

2. Fuel economy ratings

Things can be a bit tricky when looking at the fuel economy ratings for PHEVs because you have to consider the traditional miles per gallon, and the MPGe, or miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent. This is essentially the energy efficiency metric used to compare how much energy an electric vehicle uses when compared to its gas-guzzling siblings.

In the case of, the Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, it has an EPA rating of 33 mpg combined, and 76 MPGe combined. On the other hand, the Kia Sportage PHEV gets 35 mpg combined and 84 MPGe. This is a difference of 2 mpg and 8 MPGe.

3. More electric drive range for the 2023 Kia Sportage

This is probably the metric many PHEV drivers are most curious about. In most cases, many have never needed to go electric unless they choose to. That said, some PHEV drivers choose to drive using electric power only, especially if they live in a small community where they never travel more than their PHEV can cruise on electric power.

Edmunds recommends that you be cautious with this, however. The review site stated, “Any plug-in hybrid is at its very best when the battery is fully charged, and the car can intelligently switch between the battery or the gas engine to suit the situation. Drain the battery, however, and a PHEV instantly turns into an even heavier version of a normal hybrid because of its bigger battery.”

In the case of the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV, it gets 34 miles of electric range. In comparison, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV gets 30 miles electric range.

4. More ground clearance

Going off-road in a Kia Sportage or Hyundai Santa Fe may not be as common as in a Toyota Tacoma or Jeep Wrangler, but it’s certainly possible. However, there are several factors to consider when taking a vehicle in the great unknown. Ground clearance is at the top of the list. After all, you don’t want to try rock crawling with a vehicle that isn’t designed for that. 

That said, neither the Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV nor the Kia Sportage PHEV are designed for crossing rivers and climbing rocks. Lighter trails shouldn’t be an issue, though. So which has the greater ground clearance?

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV has a ground clearance of 8.2 inches. The Kia Sportage PHEV, by comparison, has 8.3 inches. 

Even though the Santa Fe PHEV has some stellar features that make it stand out in the PHEV division, it’s clear that the Kia Sportage PHEV brings just a little extra to the table for less. 


Welcome the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV to America