6 min read
06 Nov

According to the KBB, an impressive 93% of owners recommend the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid. Its top rivals include the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, Honda CR-V Hybrid, and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, but we will focus on the first two to see how the Kia SUV squares up to the competition to justify its selection as the top hybrid SUV of 2023/24. 

The all-new Sportage compact crossover SUV, released as a 2023 model, offers a compelling blend of hybrid efficiency and versatility with LX, EX, and SX-Prestige trim levels and optional all-wheel drive. Compared to its predecessor, this Sportage is significantly roomier, with a 7.1-inch increase in overall length and a 3.4-inch longer wheelbase. 

Backed by an impressive 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the new Kia Sportage Hybrid has the markings of a success story. It secured the #1 spot in Hybrid SUVs and the 2023 Best Hybrid SUV for the Money award by US News & World Report, which went on to suggest that the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid competes favorably with popular rivals, including the 2023 Honda CR-V Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, even outperforming them in some aspects. Let’s find out. 

Related Reading: US News & World Report Names Mazda CX-30 The Top Subcompact SUV For 2023/24

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid vs. Honda CR-V Hybrid: Engine And Performance

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid engine and performance.

All three hybrid SUVs bring unique powertrain and performance characteristics to the table. 

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid offers a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four gas engine and an electric motor, producing a combined 226 horsepower, with an option for all-wheel drive. Additionally, there's a plug-in hybrid variant with a more powerful electric motor, resulting in 261 horsepower. This hybrid model delivers an impressive 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds. The Sportage also benefits from improved ride comfort due to its longer wheelbase and offers a rugged appearance with trims like the X-Line, though it doesn't translate to additional off-road capability. 

On the other hand, the 2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid boasts a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors, producing a combined 204 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. The CR-V Hybrid comes with front-wheel drive as standard, and all-wheel drive is available for select trims. While its acceleration from 0-60 mph takes 7.6 seconds, it offers a thousand-pound towing capacity. Fuel economy ranges from 40/34 mpg with AWD to 43/36 mpg with FWD. 

Lastly, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an electric motor paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, delivering a combined 226 horsepower. Its plug-in hybrid counterpart offers a more robust 261 horsepower. The Santa Fe Hybrid excels in town and on the highway, with smooth and quick shifts from the transmission. It can also tow up to 2,000 pounds when equipped properly. 

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid vs. Honda CR-V Hybrid: Interior And Cargo Space

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid interior and cargo space.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid impresses with a spacious and high-quality interior. The top-of-the-line SX-Prestige trim even offers dual 12.3-inch driver information and infotainment displays. Rear legroom is generous, measuring 41.3 inches, except for the SX-Prestige trim with 39.5 inches. Cargo space is ample, with a claimed 39.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats and a maximum of about 74 cubic feet with the seats folded. The interior also offers attractive two-tone color options and a sleek design. 

On the other hand, the Honda CR-V Hybrid matches the gasoline-only model in terms of passenger space and cargo volume with a thoughtful and spacious interior design. Large windows provide a sense of openness, and it boasts excellent outward visibility. The CR-V's design offers ease of entry and exit for adults and comfortable seating with plenty of adjustability in the front and rear rows. 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid also offers a well-insulated interior with mostly high-quality materials, ensuring a quiet ride even at higher speeds. While there are some noted cheap plastics, the cabin seats five passengers comfortably with ample head- and legroom in both rows. Cargo space is competitive, with 36.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to 72.1 cubic feet when the seats are folded down. 

Related Reading: Best Features Of The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class - #1 Luxury Midsize SUV For 2023/2024

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid vs. Honda CR-V Hybrid: Infotainment And Technology

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid infotainment and technology.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid impresses with standard features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It comes with an 8.0-inch infotainment display and a digital gauge display. For an even more immersive experience, consider upgrading to the larger 12.3-inch infotainment display, which offers enhanced connectivity and crisper graphics. Additionally, there are touch-sensitive controls below the infotainment interface for seamless climate and stereo control. You can further enhance your experience with options like a premium Harman/Kardon audio system, a wireless phone charger, and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot. 

On the other hand, the 2024 Honda CR-V Sport Hybrid starts with a 7.0-inch infotainment display featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Opting for the Sport-L or range-topping Sport Touring trims provides a larger 9.0-inch screen with wireless phone mirroring. All CR-V Hybrid models come with a 7.0-inch gauge cluster display. Various USB ports are available, with the Sport Touring model offering a premium 12-speaker audio system. 

The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid offers a mixed infotainment system. While the touchscreen menus are user-friendly, the physical buttons can be finicky, and there may be occasional touchscreen lag. The base trim provides wireless smartphone integration, but other trims require a wired connection. 

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid vs. Honda CR-V Hybrid: Fuel Economy

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid fuel economy.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid takes the lead with front-wheel drive, boasting an impressive 42 mpg city and 44 mpg highway. However, the plug-in hybrid model, while still offering respectable efficiency, is rated for 36 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. It's worth noting that the all-wheel-drive Sportage Hybrid fell slightly short of its EPA rating during real-world testing, achieving 31 mpg on a 75-mph fuel-economy route. 

In contrast, the Honda CR-V demonstrates its efficiency prowess with its hybrid version. It's rated for up to 40 mpg, although this drops to 37 mpg with all-wheel drive. Real-world performance on a highway-biased route came in at 33.3 mpg, which is similar to some competitors. However, day-to-day city driving tends to yield better results, with the CR-V taking full advantage of its hybrid powertrain. For reference, the Kia Sportage Hybrid achieved 34.5 mpg in similar conditions. 

The Hyundai Santa Fe offers a range of options, with the non-turbo four-cylinder variant achieving up to 25 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Opting for the turbocharged version provides ratings as high as 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. The hybrid model, however, stands out with efficiency, boasting ratings as high as 36 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. In a real-world 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, an all-wheel-drive Santa Fe with the 2.5-liter turbo-four achieved 27 mpg. 

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid vs. Honda CR-V Hybrid: Warranty Coverage

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid warranty coverage.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid impresses with a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and an exceptional 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. This comprehensive coverage places it on par with the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, both setting a high standard in the class for long-term peace of mind. 

In contrast, the 2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. What's noteworthy is the eight-year/100,000-mile warranty specifically covering the hybrid components, ensuring durability in that aspect. 

Hyundai meets Kia’s impressive warranty plan, featuring a five-year or 60,000-mile limited warranty and an outstanding 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Additionally, Hyundai now offers complimentary scheduled maintenance, surpassing mainstream rivals like Toyota and providing an extra layer of convenience.

Related Reading: The Top 5 Cheapest Full-Size SUVs New On The Market

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid vs. Honda CR-V Hybrid: Pricing

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid pricing.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid offers a competitive starting point. The FWD Sportage Hybrid LX begins at $27,490 while opting for AWD with the Sportage Hybrid LX starts at $29,290. For those seeking more luxury and features, the Sportage Hybrid in SX Prestige trim begins at $36,390. It's worth considering a side-by-side comparison of the available trims, with the mid-range EX standing out for its value, incorporating desirable features like a larger 12.3-inch infotainment screen, wireless smartphone charging, and heated front seats. Additionally, the Premium package may pique the interest of some buyers, as it adds a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting, and a power liftgate. Comparatively, rivals such as the Honda CR-V Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, and Ford Escape Hybrid all enter the market within a similar price range. The highest-end versions of these models can approach the $40,000 mark, depending on the chosen trim and optional features. 

The 2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid has an appealing starting price, with the base Hybrid Sport beginning at $33,350. This trim offers a 7-inch touch screen and a 7-inch digital instrument cluster. Stepping up the Sport L model, priced at $36,350, introduces wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For a more premium cabin experience, the top-tier Sport Touring trim, starting at $39,500, offers amenities like a 12-speaker Bose stereo and navigation. An excellent choice is the Sport-L trim, offering a small price increase for significant upgrades, including leather-trimmed upholstery, a larger touch screen, and wireless device charging. 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid presents its entry-level Blue trim with a starting MSRP of $36,210. This trim includes features such as power-folding rear seats and navigation. The $40,070 SEL Premium trim offers a comprehensive equipment set featuring a surround-view camera system and a panoramic sunroof. For those seeking a top-tier experience, the Limited trim, starting at $41,870, adds leather upholstery, heated rear seats, and Remote Smart Parking. It's worth noting that the plug-in-hybrid Santa Fe, available in select states, starts at $42,410 for the SEL Convenience trim and $47,670 for the Limited trim. If the Santa Fe sounds like a winner, we’d go for the SEL Premium hybrid, not only for its turbocharged 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain but also for the desirable features it incorporates, such as eight-way power-adjustable front seats, a Harman/Kardon stereo system, ambient interior lighting, and a panoramic sunroof. 

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid vs. Honda CR-V Hybrid: Summary

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid versus the competition.

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid:

- Engine: Offers a competitive hybrid powertrain with a range of trim options. 

- Interior: Provides a spacious and high-quality interior with various features. 

- Fuel Economy: Impressive fuel efficiency with both FWD and AWD options. 

- Technology: Offers desirable infotainment features and optional upgrades. 

- Warranty: Excellent warranty coverage, with a standout 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. 

- Pricing: Offers a compelling starting price and various trim options to suit different budgets. 

2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid:

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid vs. 2024 Honda CR-V Hybrid.

- Engine: Efficient hybrid powertrain with varying trim levels. 

- Interior: Spacious and well-designed cabin with thoughtful features. 

- Fuel Economy: Decent fuel efficiency, particularly in city driving. 

- Technology: Comes with useful tech features, including wireless phone mirroring. 

- Warranty: Offers a competitive warranty package. 

- Pricing: Provides an attractive starting price with optional upgrades to enhance the cabin experience. 

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid:

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid versus 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid - CatsGuide.

- Engine: Offers a hybrid powertrain with available turbocharged and plug-in options. 

- Interior: Features high-quality materials and a spacious cabin. 

- Fuel Economy: Impressive fuel efficiency, especially for the hybrid model. 

- Technology: Mixed infotainment system performance but offers various features. 

- Warranty: Stands out with a strong warranty plan, including an extended powertrain warranty. 

- Pricing: Presents a competitive starting price with a range of trims, including a high-end SEL Premium hybrid trim.

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