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Ever heard the phrase “you get what you pay for”? Cheap new SUVs don’t always provide the most value. Fortunately for consumers, there are several automotive brands on the market that produce competitive, affordable SUV models. The cheapest new SUV in the small SUV vehicle segment is from South Korean automaker Kia. Here’s everything wrong with the cheapest new small SUV for 2023 and why you should get a Kia Sportage anyway.

The cheapest new small SUV for 2023 costs under $27K

A white 2023 Kia Sportage small SUV is driving on the road.
The 2023 Kia Sportage | Kia

Some new SUVs have low starting prices despite inflation and annual price increases. The most affordable subcompact SUVs range from as low as $19,650 to right under $27,000. It’s rare to find a brand-new small SUV model with an MSRP of under $27,000 today.

Toyota’s small SUV is praised for its value, starting over $28,000 before taxes and additional fees. However, Kia’s small SUV is king of the hill regarding affordability. The redesigned 2023 Kia Sportage starts at just $26,290 and is one of the few new SUVs in its segment with a starting price below $27K. It’s also one of the few models to get redesigned for 2023.

Kia’s Sportage small SUV is undoubtedly affordable. The question is, is it any good? Furthermore, what is the affordable SUV lacking? What, if anything, is wrong with it?

Everything wrong with the 2023 Kia Sportage

The rear of a green 2023 Kia Sportage small SUV driving on the road.
The 2023 Kia Sportage | Kia

Affordability, check. How about power? The 2023 Kia Sportage uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission like many of its rivals, good for 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. Kia’s small SUV isn’t egregiously underpowered but isn’t as quick and mighty as many rivals.

2023 Kia Sportage models achieve up to 25 miles per gallon in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway. Its fuel efficiency, like its power output, is average. The 2023 Sportage isn’t exceptionally good on gas, nor is it particularly thirsty when pitted against competitors.

Kia’s 2023 Sportage redesign has reinvigorated the nameplate. That being said, there are still a few bones to pick with the new Sportage. Its driving dynamics aren’t exciting, and that could cost it. For example, it appears to fall short against sportier models like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.

The cheapest new small SUV is a bit of a snore for some drivers, and that’s enough of a con to prevent it from being considered among the greats. Still, the new Sportage checks plenty of boxes for thousands of drivers.

Should you get the cheapest new small SUV?

If value is what you’re after, the 2023 Kia Sportage truly shines in its segment. It manages to outrank sportier models simply due to its value proposition. Kia’s new small SUV comes standard with remote keyless entry, Drive Mode Select, and rear parking sensors. It also includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, driver attention warning, and lane-following assist.

Kia’s 2023 Sportage small SUV is working it’s way up the rankings thanks to its shocking new redesign. The cheapest new small SUV is worth getting; it just isn’t the best in its segment. However, the Kia still has a ways to go before it can challenge the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.


The 2023 Kia Sportage Just Outranked the Toyota RAV4