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Kia has a lot of great cars in its lineup right now, and many of those cars are gaining popularity and recognition from critics. The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is one of the latest Kia cars to win an impressive award, and here’s a look at what it won and why.

The 3 top-rated SUVs are all from South Korea

Every year, Edmunds publishes a list of the top-rated cars in various categories. Unlike many other car critics, Edmunds only utilizes a few broad categories, making each category very competitive. For example, the Top Rated SUV category has a lot of competitors since every SUV from every segment, with the exception of electric SUVs, is competing for the prize.

Three SUVs made the final round, and interestingly enough, all of them were from South Korean automakers. The 2023 Genesis GV70 was a finalist, and it’s a luxury SUV that beat the options that Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Honda had to offer. It’s a solid pick with a great interior, but its value stood out to the car critic. It’s a luxury SUV that starts at $44,000, which is much more affordable than its competition.

The award-winning 2023 Kia Telluride was also a finalist, though it didn’t win the actual award. Like the GV70, the Telluride is a solid SUV with good specs, many features, and seating space, all while having a relatively affordable $37,000 price tag. The SUV model that beat the Telluride, the GV70, and every non-electric SUV, was the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid.

Why the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is the top SUV of the year

A blue-green 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid compact SUV model driving past a field of windmills
2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid | Kia America

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid scored 8.4 out of 10, the same score as the Telluride. Unlike many of its competitors, the Sportage Hybrid has a hybrid powertrain despite having an affordable price tag. It starts at about $27,500 and comes with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid powertrain. This setup lets it get 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque while providing 43 mpg combined.

Edmunds wrote that the Kia SUV “makes no sacrifices” in other areas. The South Korean automaker gave it a lot of standard features, including plenty of smart safety features. It drives well while being one of the most efficient SUVs on the market. The ride quality is comfortable, and so are the cabin and its seats. 

Despite being a compact crossover, the Sportage Hybrid also has plenty of cargo capacity. It has 39.5 cu. ft. of space without needing to fold any seats down. With the rear seats folded, it tops out at 73.7 cu. ft. That’s some of the highest cargo capacity in the segment. Its only significant issue is that its handling isn’t “compelling.” That makes it a nearly flawless SUV, so it’s no surprise it won the Top Rated SUV award.

A look at the other specs of the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

Kia gave the Sportage a redesign for the 2023 model year, so there are a lot of new features. The Sportage Hybrid comes with an 8-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster display. In comparison, the prior model year of the Sportage didn’t have a hybrid option, and it had an optional 4.2-inch digital gauge cluster display. Kia also offers an optional 12.3-inch touchscreen.

The compact SUV has two rows of seats, allowing it to seat up to five passengers. Its hybrid powertrain is paired with a six-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive is offered. It also has a max towing capacity of about 2,000 pounds.

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