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With all the hype about EVs and zero-emission driving options, there’s an automotive vehicle segment that you might be overlooking. Instead of jumping into the EV world headfirst, consider transitioning into the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) space, the “Goldilocks” sweet spot between standard hybrids and fully electrified vehicles (EVs).

Two of the most popular PHEV models right now are the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid and the Kia Sportage. If you’re exploring PHEV SUV models, you’ll want to know which of these two is the best. Here are four key advantages the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid has over the Kia Sportage PHEV.

1. The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV has a lower price

The starting MSRP for a Kia Sportage PHEV is $38,490, according to Kia. That’s a pretty affordable price point for a plug-in hybrid SUV. In comparison, Subaru lists its 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid with a base MSRP of $36,845. If price points matter to your PHEV SUV-buying decision, you can save by choosing the Subaru. Of course, as you add in packages and features, those price points will vary. Nicely equipped, both PHEV SUVs will cost between $35,000 and $40,000. However, you can presumably save more by going with the Crosstrek PHEV.

2. Better fuel economy ratings (mpg and MPGe)

If you’re switching gears to consider any hybrid or electrified SUV, you likely have fuel economy on your mind. Saving money on gas, especially these days, can be a downright dealbreaker. Subaru says you can expect 33 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in the city, which is impressive for gas-powered fuel economy. According to Subaru, and even more unique, though, is the 90 MPGe rating the 2023 Crosstrek Hybrid gets with StarDrive Technology.

Comparatively, the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV offers the 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder motor, supplemented with a 66.9-kW electric motor and a solid 13.8 kWh lithium battery, as Kia outlines. Fuel economy estimates suggest an 84 MPGe combined rating, and with AWD only achieves 38 mpg combined.

3. The Subaru Crosstrek PHEV has a bigger fuel tank capacity

A light blue 2023 Subaru Crosstrek plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) compact SUV
2023 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid | Subaru of America, Inc.

Since we’re on the subject of gas, another critical advantage the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV has over the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV is fuel tank capacity. Edmunds says the Crosstrek PHEV can hold 13.2 gallons of gas. Edmunds lists the Sportage PHEV with a fuel tank capacity of only 11.1 gallons. So, when you do have to fill up, you can drive a little further with the larger tank size of the Crosstrek.

However, if you’re concerned about which vehicle will drive longer on an electric charge, the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV has a 34-mile range on a full charge. The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV can only go 17 miles using its electric motor but boasts a total gas and electric combined range of 480 miles. With a bigger tank and a better combined range, the Crosstrek PHEV can go further. 

4. More ground clearance

You may not be gearing up for serious off-road adventures, but when buying any SUV, you’ll want to know the ground clearance measurements. The 2023 Kia Sportage measures 8.3 inches off the ground, which is average for today’s SUVs. Still, as you know, Subaru is synonymous with adventure and has always excelled in the ground clearance department. Buying a 2023 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV will have you 8.7 inches off the ground.

If you’re more interested in dipping your toe into electrification, consider the plug-in hybrid vehicles available. If you’ve narrowed your SUV search down to the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek PHEV and the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV, keep these four key advantages in mind. The Crosstrek PHEV outdoes the Sportage PHEV in a few categories that are critically important to your SUV-buying decision.


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