2023 Kia Sportage Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Fifth-generation Kia Sportage model
  • Larger overall size
  • Increased passenger room, luggage space
  • Hybrid, plug-in hybrid powertrains likely
  • Terrain Mode driving mode settings
  • Electric Control continuous damping suspension
  • Added ADAS features
  • 1.6-liter engine with 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
  • Pricing expected to be similar to 2022 Kia Sportage
  • In showrooms next year

The 2023 Kia Sportage has undergone a complete makeover that will make it safer, more tech-savvy, and—very significantly—much larger than before.

2023 Kia Sportage White Front Quarter View

The Sportage was one of the first compact SUVs, but a complaint consumers and reviewers both had about the previous edition of the Sportage was related to its size. It was smaller than its key competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V by virtually all dimensions. But the just-announced details on the 2023 Kia Sportage reveal that it will be longer than those two rivals, giving it more passenger space and cargo capacity.

Kia has yet to announce the trim levels and equipment details, but it is clear a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine will power the 2023 Sportage. Both hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains are also probable, but the turbodiesel that will be available in the Sportage in other markets is unlikely to come to the United States. The 2023 Sportage will be available in both front-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. It will offer Terrain Mode that automatically adjusts settings for various driving conditions, including snow, mud, and sand.

Exterior Features - Find the best Kia deals!

2023 Kia Sportage Blue Rear Quarter View

The exterior design of the 2023 Sportage gives it a more substantial look, emphasizing the fact that it is larger than the previous-generation Sportage in virtually every dimension. The broad grille plays up the crossover's width, and the still-new Kia logo tops it. The daytime running lights cut a jagged path around the matrix-type LED headlights.

The 2023 Sportage also joins the recent two-tone trend with the availability of a black roof in contrast to the body color. The side windows taper to the rear while the Sportage has pronounced haunches and a character line above the rear wheels. The rear end includes a spoiler and a simple taillight design that sweeps across the liftgate. Roof rails make it clear that the Sportage is an SUV. Depending on trim, it rolls on 17-, 18-, or 19-inch wheels.

Interior Features - Find the best Kia deals!

2023 Kia Sportage Interior Dashboard

As bold as the exterior of the new Sportage is, the interior is even more daring and more futuristic, epitomized by the SUV's dash that includes a broad sweep of digital displays that evokes Mission Control. The display is curved and flows from the driver's door well past the center console. It consists of two 12-inch-wide displays installed side-by-side, so they form a continuous array. Because of the high-definition nature of the displays, they don't require a traditional "hood," thus enabling them to be placed higher than usual, which makes them very visible to the driver and front passenger alike.

The wide center console includes a rotary-style gear selector and the Terrain Mode controls. The console also offers storage, cupholders, and a smartphone charging bay for high-speed wireless charging. The design and the soft-touch materials give the new Sportage the look of a luxury CUV interior.

The 2023 Sportage, like the current model, is a 5-passenger vehicle with two front bucket seats and a rear bench for three. The new model offers increased rear legroom and headroom. The rear seats can fold down with the press of a button, creating a flat cargo space.

Under the Hood - Find the best Kia deals!

A 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine will power the vast majority of 2023 Sportage SUVs. According to Kia, it will deliver 177 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The fundamental goal of the engine, Kia says, is increased fuel efficiency. To that end, it has a new combustion process and increased cooling and anti-friction measures that should also aid emissions performance.

The engine teams with Kia's 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Kia will offer a manual transmission in other markets, but it is unlikely to be available in the U.S.

Kia announced that both hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains would be available in the 2023 Sportage, and those powertrains are likely to come to America. But more details regarding those plans were not forthcoming from Kia. The strong possibility is the Sportage hybrids will leverage the hybrid technology used by the 2022 Hyundai Tucson. The Tucson's hybrid powertrain uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder plus a 44.2-kW electric motor to produce an estimated 226 total system horsepower. The plug-in hybrid version kicks that up to 261 hp.

With its Terrain Mode, the suspension is designed to give the 2023 Sportage some off-road capabilities. Its MacPherson strut front suspension and 4-link rear suspension can be combined with the new Electric Control Suspension continuously adjustable damping system. The new Sportage will also offer an electronic 4-wheel-drive system that distributes torque between the front and rear wheels depending on road conditions and driving situations.

The Sportage's hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions will have an E-Handling system that uses engine torque to aid cornering.

Safety Systems - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2023 Kia Sportage will feature a robust roster of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Among them:

  • Forward-collision warning and assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Blind-spot collision avoidance assist
  • Navigation-based adaptive cruise control
  • Highway driving assistance, including speed control and lane-centering
  • Automatic parking assist

The navigation-based adaptive cruise control uses real-time navigation data and mapped highway information to reduce speed for corners and curves, resuming the previous speed when the maneuver completes.

Highway Driving Assist helps maintain a set speed and distance from the vehicle ahead when driving on a highway while also helping center the Sportage in its lane when lane markers are present.

Remote Smart Parking Assist helps the driver park in or exit a parking spot from outside the vehicle—an aid in tight parking situations or over-stuffed garages.

Infotainment and Technology - Find the best Kia deals!

Kia's UVO infotainment management system is widely praised, and the 2023 Kia Sportage is expected to leverage the learnings used in creating that system. The crossover will feature a horizontally oriented 12-inch touchscreen display.

Kia did not reveal details regarding the system, but it will almost surely offer wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto compatibility plus Bluetooth hands-free streaming.

The 12-inch instrument cluster uses the latest-generation full thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display for clear graphics. With advanced and secure high-tech connectivity, the all-new Sportage will accommodate over-the-air software and map updates.

2023 Kia Sportage Competitors - Find the best Kia deals!

The 2023 Kia Sportage will compete in a segment filled with high-volume models. Included among them are the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue. Key competitors from domestic brands include the Chevrolet Equinox and Ford Escape. The Jeep Cherokee and Ford Bronco Sport are competitive models that are off-road-oriented.

There is the possibility that the 2023 Sportage will offer both sporty and off-road variants. With its Terrain Mode, the Sportage already indicates a renewed interest in the off-pavement portion of the market.

The 2023 Kia Sportage's changes move the vehicle right into the middle of the burgeoning compact SUV marketplace. With the Sportage's exemplary record of reliability and quality and its lengthy warranty, it is well-positioned to become a strong sales success.

Kia is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of July 8, 2021, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker's website or your local dealership.