Despite a Complete Redesign, the 2023 Kia Sportage Scored the Exact Same as the 2022 Kia Sportage on Consumer Reports

Now and then, an automaker will take an old favorite and go back to the drawing board. The engineers will completely redesign and outfit a model with all the latest style techniques, innovations, and tech. Kia recently took such an approach with the fan-favorite Kia Sportage. And Sportage fans were prepared to be dazzled.

The 2023 Kia Sportage will look familiar, despite Kia’s dramatic redesign efforts, with lots of innovative tech to love and some styling differences you’ll have to see for yourself. Other significant additions are the newly available hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variations. With all these changes and upgrades, you might expect the 2023 Kia Sportage to earn higher marks and ratings from Consumer Reports. But you’d be wrong. The Consumer Reports team gave the brand-new Sportage the same scores as the 2022 Kia Sportage. 

Categories in which both model year versions are similar

A silver 2023 Kia Sportage driving in an area with a lot of dirt.
2023 Kia Sportage | Kia Media

Looking at the 2022 Kia Sportage review, the overall sentiments from Consumer Reports will look almost identical to some of the opinions shared for the 2023 Kia Sportage. Despite a complete overhaul in design, you can expect similar results in a few key categories, including acceleration, predicted reliability, and owner satisfaction ratings. According to Consumer Reports, the road-testing performance, smog ratings, and front seat comfort are also about the same.  

Notable advantages the 2023 Kia Sportage offers

There are a few distinctions between the 2022 and 2023 Kia Sportage models worth noting. The Consumer Reports team suggests the ride quality, rear seat comfort, and cabin noise improved for 2023. But there are other improvements, including a larger trunk and cargo area and interior fit and finish accents.

The brand-new Kia Sportage has some of the most spacious interiors in this segment, with 39.6 cu-ft of cargo area behind the second row and 74.1 cu-ft of room when those seats fold down. The all-wheel drive Sportage has more ground clearance, too. 

More impressively, the fuel efficiency ratings have increased for 2023. The redesigned Sportage earns a combined 25 mpg, with 17 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The 2022 model earns 23 mpg overall, with 16 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which Consumer Reports says is marginal in this class, at best.

Where the Sportage falls behind its 2022 model counterpart

Unfortunately, despite the redesign for 2023, the newest Kia Sportage actually fared worse than its 2022 predecessor. Consumer Reports says during the road test, for example, the newest Sportage needed five more feet of stopping distance during the braking test. It was also slower through the avoidance maneuver testing, by about 3.5 mph, and didn’t handle as nimbly as its 2022 sibling. 

While the hybrid variation offered several subtle improvements for the 2023 model, it also brought a few setbacks in acceleration, braking, and handling. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid does offer 227 hp with its 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine and 44-kW electric motor. But for the CR team, the 2022 Kia Sportage’s 181-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder just handled and accelerated better. 

Consumers usually get excited when an automaker brings fresh designs to an old favorite. And if you’re a fan of the Kia Sportage, you might be thinking about test-driving the 2023 model to experience the redesign first-hand. Just don’t be surprised if you’re not wowed.

Consumer Reports says it ranks almost identical to the 2022 Kia Sportage. And despite the massive redesign, all the impressive tech upgrades, and hybrid offerings, it just won’t be much of a difference from the Kia Sportage you test drove last year.

RELATED: How Much Does the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV Cost?