Tested: The 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro Is Extremely Capable

Here is your fair warning, don’t underestimate the new Kia Sportage X-Pro. We spent a week putting it to the test in the woods. The 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro can power through sticky situations without any fuss. 

Can the 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro go off-roading? 

2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro off-roading
2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

Yes, the 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro has above-average off-roading capabilities for its class. It comes with 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in chunky BFGoodrich all-terrain tires. The Ford Bronco uses the same brand.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the thread design provides extra grip, and the smaller wheel size leaves more side wall for absorbing impacts. 

The tires deliver excellent grip through thick mud and over slippery rocks. After hurricane Ian came through, we only managed to get the Sportage to slide in slippery conditions once. Also, the extra 1.5-inch lift gives this SUV an 8.3-inch ground clearance. 

The active AWD system uses an electric-hydraulic center coupling to distribute torque evenly between the front and rear axles.

This provides plenty of power for climbing over obstacles. We were able to climb over steep inclines when we couldn’t see over the hood. Plus, the hill start assist and downhill brake control add a little more confidence as needed. 

Different driving modes for Normal, Sport, Smart, and Snow adjust the system accordingly to maximize control and traction. 

The Sportage is light and didn’t sink down into deep sections of red mud. Also, the LED projector headlights illuminate trails, allowing you to see the terrain clearly. The surround-view camera system is helpful when navigating around tight obstacles too. 

Is the Sportage X-Pro comfortable? 

Yes, the 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro is very comfortable, which is a relief after a long day on the trails. The suspension absorbs impacts for a smooth ride, and rough surfaces don’t cause the interior to rattle. 

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque is smooth and mostly quiet. You can hear an occasional engine roar which is attractive. Wind and road noise are kept at bay. 

The large front seats are covered in premium synthetic leather and are well-padded. The seats are heated and ventilated for extra comfort. Also, the clime system is strong and effective. The rear seats are nicely padded, too. Also, the backrest sits at a comfortable angle. 

Our only gripe involves having to use a button to adjust the physical controls between controlling the climate control system and the radio. While wanting to turn down the music, it’s easy to turn the heat up accidentally. 

How much is the Sportage X-Pro? 

2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro off-roading
2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro price starts at $34,990, making it a bargain for adventurers. The base model starts at $25,990, meaning you can get powerful off-roading and luxury upgrades for under $10,000. 

The Hyundai Tucson XRT comes in slightly cheaper, at $31,850, but the Sportage has more refinement. Also, the Subaru Outback Wilderness costs about $37,695. 

After driving the X-Pro off the pavement, we truly believe in its capabilities and will be excited to see where it finishes in the Rebell Rally. While it won’t be climbing up rock faces in the Moab desert, it’s an above-average adventurer.

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