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Los Angeles 2021: Kia Introduces the Hybrid Version of the 2023 Sportage

2023 Kia Sportage HEV | Photo: Kia
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Daniel Rufiange
The hybrid offering is starting to get interesting in the compact SUV segment. Toyota and Ford are there, Hyundai is on the way, and now Kia joins the party

Earlier this summer, Kia introduced the next generation of its Sportage compact SUV, the design of which makes a clean break from the outgoing version - which, it must be said, was never really a hit, looks-wise.

See also: 2023 Kia Sportage Details Announced: Hybrid and PHEV Versions Are on the Horizon

See also: 2023 Kia Sportage: U.S. Premiere Sheds A Sliver of New Light on the Next-Gen SUV

The next Sportage is expected in 2022, probably as a 2023 vintage. Larger than the model it replaces, it’s intended to be Kia's counterpart to the Hyundai Tucson, which was redesigned for 2022. Kia’s SUV is getting the same 2.5L 4-cylinder engine (187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque) found under the hood of the Hyundai.

It’s absolutely no surprise, then, that the Sportage is making like the Tucson in being produced in a hybrid version. The powertrain for the new Sportage HEV is a 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, plus a 44 kW permanent magnet electric motor, plus a 1.49-kWh lithium-ion battery. Power is announced at 226 hp, managed by a six-speed automatic transmission., 100% online, shop for your next car, buy online and get it delivered to you anywhere in Quebec!

2023 Kia Sportage HEV, three-quarters rear
2023 Kia Sportage HEV, three-quarters rear | Photo: Kia

Kia did not give a figure for torque, but we can assume that it will be 258 lb-ft, as with its Hyundai counterpart. The Kia Sportage hybrid will be differentiated by new 17- and 18-inch wheels, as well as HEV logos (for “Hybrid Electric Vehicle”).

At the model's Los Angeles Auto Show launch, it was announced the hybrid powertrain will be available with three trim levels. Sometimes variant names are not the same in Canada, so we’ll have to wait to find out how that plays out here. Hopefully more than one variant of the vehicle will be able to receive the hybrid system.

It's safe to say, however, that all-wheel drive will be part of the HEV’s configuration, thanks to an electro-hydraulic coupling with a central locking differential to distribute power between the front and rear wheels.

2023 Kia Sportage HEV, motor
2023 Kia Sportage HEV, motor | Photo: Kia

In addition to its hybridized Tucson cousin, the Sportage Hybrid’s rivals on the market will include the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and the Ford Escape Hybrid. Pricing for the HEV and the timing of its arrival at dealerships were not disclosed at the presentation. We expect it will either show up at the same time as the rest of the lineup, or perhaps debut a little later.

For consumers, it means one more choice in a popular segment. We can also expect a plug-in hybrid version to arrive later on, as a way of following the path that the Hyundai Tucson will take.

2023 Kia Sportage HEV, interior
2023 Kia Sportage HEV, interior | Photo: Kia
2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid pictures
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists