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Fifth-generation Sportage is the latest addition to Kia’s electrified lineup

It gets the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle treatment

The longest-running nameplate in the Kia barn underwent its most significant transformation yet. PHOTO FROM KIA

To stay relevant, carmakers need to make crossovers or electrified vehicles that are the most popular ones in recent years. Case in point: Kia has produced something that fits both categories. Meet the all-new 2023 Sportage PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle).

Outside, the Korean company gave it some design changes to separate itself from its predecessors. The front and rear bumpers have a different design with satin chrome surrounds. While the side mirrors, the roof racks, the window skirts, and the 19-inch alloys have a gloss-black finish.

The interior is still very nice. The panoramic curve display has a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen is seamlessly connected. The infotainment system is Android Auto– and Apple CarPlay-capable with a 360° surround-view monitor that also offers a 3D perspective. The top-of-the-line X-Line Prestige PHEV AWD, however, gets a premium Harman Kardon audio system.

Speaking of standard features, the entry-level variant has the following Advanced Driver Assistance Systems:

  • Driver attention warning
  • LED headlights with high-beam assist
  • Lane following assist
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Forward collision avoidance
  • Rear occupant alert
  • Rear view monitor with dynamic parking guidelines
  • Reverse parking distance warning
  • Blind-spot collision avoidance
  • Rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist
  • Safe exit warning
  • Intelligent speed limit assist

While the range-topper has these also included:

  • Blind-spot view monitor
  • Forward collision avoidance with junction turning capability
  • Forward parking distance warning
  • Highway driving assist
  • Navigation-based smart cruise control-curve
  • Reverse parking collision avoidance
  • Remote smart parking assist
  • Smart cruise control

Powering the Sportage PHEV is a 177hp 1.6-liter engine and a 66.9kW electric motor. Power is sent to the front or all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with selectable drive modes. A 7.2kW onboard charger has a high-power density of 1.53kW/L for lightning-fast charging. In fact, the 13.8kWh lithium-polymer battery can be juiced up as quickly as two hours when connected to a Level 2 charger. When fully charged, the crossover has up to 51.5km of all-electric range. And that could be extended thanks to an ingenious integrated electronic brake that has a linear braking feel and recovers kinetic energy better than most of its competitors.

This is one of the vehicles that can help the brand realize Plan S, which is its initiative to achieve carbon neutrality in the very near future.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.