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With all the buzz about fully electric vehicles, many consumers might overlook plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). But they may be the perfect solution for consumers considering their first electrified car. You might even say a PHEV is the Goldilocks option between a standard hybrid and an all-electric model. So, if you’re shopping for a plug-in hybrid crossover SUV, which one is the best? Most critics favor the Toyota RAV4 Prime and Kia Sportage PHEV.

However, the 2022 RAV4 Prime has six distinct advantages over the Sportage PHEV. Here’s a side-by-side comparison.

1. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime has a larger fuel tank than the Kia Sportage

2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime vs 2022 Kia Sportage PHEV
2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime (top) and 2022 Kia Sportage PHEV | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.; Kia

Plug-in hybrids have gas tanks, allowing drivers to use electric and gas power when needed. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime’s gas tank holds more fuel at 14.5 gallons. By comparison, the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV’s gas tank holds 11.1 gallons. That three-gallon difference might not be a deal-breaker for some shoppers. But for those who don’t mind the fuel needle dipping below the red, those few gallons could be critical.

2. The RAV4 Prime boasts more electric driving range

The latest Kia Sportage PHEV is a worthy contender when you look at electric driving range capability on a full charge. Kia says the 13.8-kWh battery allows for a 32-mile range. Other sources cite 34 miles. However, Toyota says the RAV4 Prime has an EPA-estimated 42-mile range on a full charge. So, not only can this model hold more gas than its rival, but it can also drive farther on a full charge.

3. The Toyota PHEV has better fuel economy ratings

Faced with fluctuating gas prices, you’ll want to compare fuel economy ratings. And the Toyota RAV4 Prime comes out ahead of the Kia Sportage in this category. Edmunds shows the RAV4 Prime earns 94 MPGe combined. The Kia Sportage PHEV gets only 84 MPGe.

4. The Prime has more standard horsepower than the Sportage PHEV

2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime
2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The standard 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV packs a robust 1.6-liter turbocharged engine producing 261 hp. However, the standard RAV4 Prime’s 2.5-liter inline-four harnesses 302 hp. Not only is the Prime more potent than the Sportage PHEV, but it’s also the “most powerful RAV4 yet,” Toyota boasts.

5. The Sportage PHEV can’t tow as much as the Toyota RAV4 Prime

Some car shoppers make purchasing decisions based on towing capacity. Do you want your PHEV to trailer a couple of Jet Skis, four-wheelers, or snowmobiles? The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV might be able to do that with a max towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. But the Toyota RAV4 Prime can tow 500 pounds more with a 2,500-pound capacity.

6. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime has more maximum cargo capacity

If you’re considering a crossover SUV, it’s likely because you have people and things to haul. So cargo capacity matters. And here, the 2022 Toyota RAVE4 Prime comes out ahead again, with a maximum cargo capacity of 69.8 cubic feet. The 2023 Kia Sportage Prime isn’t tiny, but it can’t compete with a max cargo capacity of 65.5 cubic feet.

So, before you rush to buy an EV, consider a PHEV too. Plug-in hybrids are great transition vehicles for drivers exploring electrification for the first time. And when you need a small SUV, the RAV4 Prime and the Kia Sportage PHEV deserve a look. If you’ve narrowed your selection to these two contenders, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Prime boasts plenty of advantages that might sway your buying decision.


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