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For the 2023 model year, the Kia Sportage is completely redesigned. With it comes loads of new features, an overhauled style, new trim levels, and much more. One of the most significant choices buyers must make is whether they want a 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid or a standard Sportage. Fuel economy is of the utmost importance for a compact SUV in 2022 as gas prices soar out of control. Should you buy a 2023 Kia Sportage or Hybrid?

2023 Kia Sportage has decent fuel economy

A white 2023 Kia Sportage is parked outside. Should you buy a hybrid or non-hybrid Sportage?
The 2023 Kia Sportage | Kia

If one of your biggest concerns is fuel economy, it’s easy to assume the Hybrid is the better choice instantly. While a Sportage Hybrid will provide better fuel economy than a standard model, the regular Sportage’s fuel economy isn’t bad. According to KBB, the 2023 Kia Sportage averages an EPA-estimated 25 city and 32 highway mpg in the front-wheel-drive model. Alternatively, it gets a slightly worse 23 city, 28 highway mpg with all-wheel drive.

Powering the Sportage to this fuel economy is a base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. As a result, it produces 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. Buying the most inexpensive trim level starts at $25,990, which isn’t bad for an SUV of its size. KBB says the base engine is adequate in every way but fails to be particularly impressive at all. In addition, this is the only engine available for the off-road-focused Sportage models. Buying an X-Pro trim guarantees some off-road prowess but not a more potent engine.

Does the Sportage Hybrid dominate its non-hybrid counterpart?

A blue 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid SUV is driving on the road.
The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid | Kia

Although it is more expensive than a standard 2023 Kia Sportage, the hybrid is still affordable. Starting at $27,290, the hybrid variant is everything the regular model is, plus more. For example, it comes with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with two electric motors combining to produce 227 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Moreover, that’s a big step up from the regular Sportage model, plus fuel economy is significantly improved.

Ditch the slow, boring non-hybrid engine for the faster hybrid and get the added benefits of fuel savings. A hybrid model averages an EPA-estimated 42 city and 44 highway mpg with front-wheel drive. Opting for all-wheel drive drops those numbers to 38 city and 38 highway, which is still outstanding. Furthermore, the compact hybrid SUV segment is getting more and more competitive, but the Sportage is already a top contender.

Unfortunately, the off-road X-Pro trim levels are unavailable for the hybrid variant. Sportage Hybrid buyers can get all-wheel drive, but not the other off-road features many desire. Despite a higher starting price, the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid will pay for itself in fuel savings compared to the standard version.

Should you buy a 2023 Kia Sportage or Hybrid?

In conclusion, there are only two reasons to buy the standard 2023 Kia Sportage over the hybrid. Firstly, buy the regular version if you plan to take your compact SUV off-roading frequently. The X-Pro trim levels are excellent options for doing some off-roading and are unavailable as a hybrid. Secondly, buy the standard version if you want to save a bit of money, as the hybrid is more expensive. Besides those two reasons, the Sportage Hybrid wins in almost every way. Both options are well-equipped and affordable, but the hybrid provides more power and far better fuel economy.


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