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In the modern era of car buying, most consumers look to automotive journalists and content creators on YouTube to help get a better sense of the vehicles on their list. The amount of automotive content is overwhelming, so it’s a good idea to read many articles and watch multiple video reviews to acquire the information necessary to make an informed decision.

More importantly, consumers should test drive every vehicle before making their final determination. Case in point, Motor1 has published two reviews on the 2023 Kia Sportage, each with a different verdict. Let’s explore these reviews and try to understand how the same car could be given such different overall scores

A blue-green 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid compact SUV model parked in front of a field of windmills
2023 Kia Sportage | Kia America

One Motor1 reviewer gave the Kia Sportage a 9.1/10

Motor1 published a review of the 2023 Kia Sportage in May of 2022. The reviewer was very positive about the car and even gave it a score of 9.1.

The reviewer praised the interior for feeling upscale, especially in the higher trims. Even in the base trims she praised the Sportage for its standard 12.2” digital gauge cluster as well as the standard 8” infotainment screen equipped with Android Auto and Apple Carplay.

This reviewer noted the upgraded 12.3” upgraded touchscreen that shares a curved panoramic housing with the instrument cluster as being especially upscale for the price point. The reviewer identified Kia’s tendency to make affordable cars that don’t feel cheap as a big benefit of the Sportage overall.

Another Motor1 contributor had significantly more issues with the 2023 Sportage.

Another Motor1 review gave the Kia Sportage a 7.4/10

The other reviewer gave the 2023 Kia Sportage a 7.4 in his January review on Motor1. He praised many of the same features that the other review did, but found a few issues that had a major impact on his rating.

The issue that resulted in a 5/10 score for the performance and handling section was the base powertrain. They mentioned that the standard 187 hp 2.5L four-cylinder was adequate but certainly nothing to write home about.

This review much more critical of the 2.5L’s performance, especially when compared to the 227 hp/258 lb-ft of torque the hybrid powertrain offers. They expressed the need to bury the accelerator in order to get up to highway speed.

Besides the insufficient power numbers, this review pointed out that the fuel economy was behind that of competitors like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and class-leading Nissan Rogue. The Kia gets 23 mpg city and 28 mph highway—quite the gap between the RAV4 and CR-V, which get 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 27 mpg city/32 mph highway, respectively.

The lowest score came in the pricing section. Despite the attractive $25,550 base MSRP, which undercuts all competitors, they cited the $10k gap between the base price and a fully-loaded Sportage as the primary factor in his low score.

It’s worth noting that a similar gap exists for the CR-V, RAV4, and Rogue. In the other review, the price gap isn’t mentioned but it does recommend the EX hybrid as the best combination of features, price, and performance. 

Test driving a car is essential before buying

Each person has a set of criteria by which they judge a vehicle, and you may not always be in alignment with your favorite automotive journalist. Often, there is a consensus, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree—you’re the one buying the car, after all.

Sometimes the elements most criticized by one can be a positive attribute for another and vice versa. If you’re in the market for a vehicle, make sure to watch and read lots of reviews because it’s helpful to get a multitude of perspectives.

Most importantly, you should drive the car and spend some time exploring the different trims on your own. Reviews can be a great starting point, but ultimately, the most important opinion when car shopping is your own. 


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