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A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is an excellent way for curious car buyers to experience the fuel savings of electric power without relying on it entirely. The hardest part is choosing which model to buy because increasing numbers of automakers sell PHEVs. The plug-in hybrid Kia Sportage and Ford Escape are worth considering if you’re looking for a compact crossover SUV. However, the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV has six distinct advantages over its competitor.

1. The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV has a superior standard warranty

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV vs Ford Escape PHEV
2023 Kia Sportage PHEV | Kia

According to Edmunds, the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV has a basic warranty for five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. Its roadside and rust warranties are good for five years. And the drivetrain warranty offers 10 years or 100,000 miles of coverage.

In comparison, the 2022 Ford Escape PHEV’s basic warranty is for only three years/36,000 miles. It also has an inferior powertrain warranty of five years/60,000 miles. On the plus side, the rust warranty lasts five years regardless of how many miles you drive.

2. The Sportage boasts more horsepower and torque than the Escape

The Sportage PHEV makes 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque thanks to its turbo-four engine and electric motor. That’s paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox with a few drive modes. This PHEV also rides on 19-inch wheels.

The Escape PHEV has a regular four-cylinder engine that generates 221 hp. The four-cylinder/electric motor duo pairs with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), traditionally noisier than a standard automatic. This PHEV has standard 18-inch wheels.

It’s worth pointing out that the Ford Escape PHEV has a higher overall range. It can travel an estimated 520 miles when fully fueled. 

Ford says 37 of those miles come from electric-only power. Kia says the Sportage PHEV has 34 miles of electric range, for a total of 480 driving miles.

3. The Sportage PHEV has standard all-wheel drive

While the Kia Sportage PHEV boasts standard all-wheel drive, the Ford Escape doesn’t even offer AWD as an option. The base-model Escape PHEV has all-season tires, but they might not hold up well against heavy snow or ice.

Of course, a strictly front-wheel-drive platform also means the Ford Escape PHEV has a more affordable starting price. Ford prices it at $35,455. The Sportage PHEV starts at $38,490.

4. The Sportage PHEV has a higher towing capacity than the Escape PHEV

The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV can tow up to 2,000 pounds, whereas the Ford Escape PHEV can tow 1,500 pounds. And unlike the gas-powered Escape, the PHEV version doesn’t have an available towing package.

5. The Kia has better ground clearance than the Ford

In addition to AWD, the 2023 Sportage PHEV has an ample 8.3 inches of ground clearance. On the other hand, the Escape PHEV has only 6.8 inches. 

The higher ground clearance will better protect the Kia Sportage PHEV’s underside from rocks and other debris. In addition, its ride will probably be smoother because it can absorb impacts more effectively.

6. The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV bests the Ford Escape PHEV in cargo capacity

Behind the rear seats, the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV has over 35 cubic feet of cargo space. If you fold the second-row seats, the cargo area expands to 64 cubic feet.

The Ford Escape PHEV doesn’t lag far behind in terms of cargo volume behind the second row. It provides over 34 cubic feet of room. However, its total cargo capacity is just below 61 cubic feet.

Though the Escape has more range, the Sportage boasts more utility and premium convenience features.


3 Advantages the 2022 Ford Escape PHEV Has Over the Kia Sportage PHEV