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The PHEV segment is relatively overlooked compared to other cars, but PHEVs can serve as an excellent way to transition from gas-powered cars to true EVs. A lot of automakers offer PHEV options as well, and one of the better options is the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV. This Kia has a lot of competitors, though, so here’s a look at the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV and the five advantages it has over the Kia Niro PHEV.

1. The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV gets standard all-wheel drive

A 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV compact SUV parked on a sandy cliff at sunset with its headlights on
2023 Kia Sportage PHEV | Kia America

According to Edmunds, Kia currently only offers the Sportage PHEV with all-wheel drive. As such, all-wheel drive is standard on the Sportage PHEV, and car shoppers won’t have much choice there. 

Similarly, car shoppers also won’t have a choice regarding the Niro PHEV. However, unlike the Sportage PHEV, Kia doesn’t offer all-wheel drive on the Niro PHEV at all. Car shoppers can only get the Niro PHEV with front-wheel drive. As such, folks who absolutely need all-wheel drive will be better served by going for the Sportage PHEV.

2. The Sportage has more electric driving range than the Niro

PHEVs all come with a small battery that allows the car to travel in battery-only mode. This is the most efficient way to drive a PHEV, so the longer its battery-only range, the more efficient it can be. The Sportage PHEV’s battery allows it to go 34 miles on battery-only mode, which is more than the Niro PHEV’s 26 miles of battery-only range. That’s a difference of about 8 miles, and that can be significant in city driving scenarios.

3. The Kia Sportage PHEV has more horsepower and torque than the Niro PHEV

On top of that, the powertrain that Kia gave the Sportage PHEV is more powerful than the one on the Niro PHEV. Both Kia SUVs have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, but the Sportage PHEV’s powertrain gets 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, the Niro PHEV gets 139 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque from its powertrain.

This means that the Sportage PHEV almost has double the horsepower compared to the Niro PHEV. The torque difference is also significant at about 63 lb-ft of torque. Unsurprisingly, that power difference can pay dividends on the road, as the Sportage PHEV has a max towing capacity of about 2,000 pounds. In contrast, Edmunds doesn’t even have any towing capacity numbers available for the Niro PHEV.

4. The Sportage PHEV has more ground clearance too

Kia SUVs don’t typically go off-road, but if owners decide to take their Kia off-road, then the Sportage PHEV will have a much better time there than the Niro PHEV. That’s because the Sportage PHEV has a ground clearance of 8.3 inches, which is much more than the 6.3 inches of ground clearance that Kia gave the Niro PHEV.

5. The 2023 Kia Sportage has the advantage in cargo capacity

Lastly, the Kia Sportage PHEV has much more cargo capacity than the Kia Niro PHEV. Without folding any seats down, the Sportage PHEV has about 34.5 cu. ft. of cargo space available. In comparison, the Niro PHEV only has about 19.4 cu. ft. of cargo space available. That’s a difference of just over 15 cu. ft. of space.

With the rear seats folded down, the Sportage PHEV tops out at 65.5 cu. ft. of available cargo space. The Niro PHEV, meanwhile, maxes out at 54.5 cu. ft. of cargo space. That’s a difference of 11 cu. ft. of cargo capacity.


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