By on October 27, 2021

KiaKia’s current tagline is “movement that inspires” and while I am not sure if the 2023 Kia Sportage will be inspiring, exactly, it will catch your attention.

The venerable subcompact crossover SUV gets a major makeover that looks distinctive (whether it’s attractive or not is up to you) when set against the sea of anonymity that so often exists in that class. Oh, and it sets the stage for future electrified versions.

As with so many vehicles (and, often, humans), the Sportage is gaining in size as it ages — it’s now 7.1 inches longer, with a 3.4-inch longer wheelbase, and taller and wider by half an inch compared to the previous model. It’s also getting a bit nicer, thanks to features like an optional dual-panoramic setup for the 12.3-inch infotainment screens.


Ground clearance is up by 1.5 inches for all-wheel-drive models, which will have a multi-terrain drive-mode system.

The trim walk goes like this: LX, EX, SX, SX-Prestige, X-Line, X-Pro, and X-Pro Prestige. The latter two trims are off-road oriented.


This fifth-generation Sportage will be built (with a few exceptions for certain trims) in West Point, Georgia, alongside the Telluride three-row SUV and the K5 sedan.


Power will come from a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 187 horsepower and mating to an eight-speed automatic transmission. While all-wheel drive is available, front-wheel drive is standard. The AWD system has a center-locking differential that it will use to distribute power between the front and rear wheels.


The off-road-oriented X-Line and X-Pro models will get AWD standard, along with 19-inch wheels (X-Line) and unique appearance features. X-Pros will have Bridgestone all-terrain tires, 17-inch wheels, LED fog lamps and available LED headlights, heated windshield, available two-tone roof, and cooled front seats.


The usual electronic driver aids and safety nannies will be available, and the list is long — a bit too long for this post. New for this year are a 360-degree surround view with 3D and a blind-spot monitoring camera feed for the gauge cluster.

Other standard or available features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, coat hangers and USB ports molded into the front-seat headrests, touchpad climate and audio controls, Harman Kardon audio, Bluetooth, wireless charging, and Kia Connect — which replaces Uvo infotainment and includes in-car wi-fi and smart-speaker integration.

Expect to see the next Kia Sportage on sale in the first quarter of next year.

[Images: Kia]

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32 Comments on “2023 Kia Sportage Gets Distinctive New Duds, More...”

  • avatar

    “an optional dual-panoramic setup for the 12.3-inch infotainment screens.”
    “The latter two trims are off-road oriented.”


  • avatar

    Another potato car with weird headlights.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The trim walk goes like this: LX, EX, SX, SX-Prestige, X-Line, X-Pro, and X-Pro Prestige.”

    As much as I have liked Kias in the past (especially the 09 Sedona still in my driveway), they are losing me one step at a time. I have never been able to remember or make sense of their trim levels (which seem like an ancient vestige of their Ford deal). I can’t even recall the trim of the van I have owned for over a decade, since it has no trim badge to remind me.

    The modern Sedona gave up its utility by bolting the middle seats in place. The tiger nose has become a distortion of what was considered attractive 10 years ago. The rear styling is ugly, exaggerated in the upcoming EV6. And it sounds stupid, but the logo change looks like “KN” to me every time I see it.

    I much, much prefer Hyundai’s styling of the Tucson.

    • 0 avatar

      The modern Sedona (Carnival) has plenty of usability compared to the unuseful last gen. The 2nd and 3rd row seats all come out, not sure what you’re rambling about. It’s the best minivan on the market right now, hands down.

  • avatar

    Yawn. The only vehicles I find interesting in this class anymore have electric motors. Kia will even be producing one of them.

  • avatar

    I root for Kia/Hyundai and will strongly consider one for my next purchase, but this is unjustifiably ugly.

  • avatar

    It’s no Telluride, is it?

    • 0 avatar

      I see Tellurides and Palisades all over the place here in Indiana. That platform is a winner for sure.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve noticed that too, I can’t quite understand why since its just a modified Sorrento. Was the Sorrento the cat’s meow? Not seeing a lot of those on the ground.

        • 0 avatar

          They got a lot of details and the styling right.

          Tellurides are thick on the ground here in Seattle, many bought by the same sort of buyers who might otherwise have sprung for XC90s or MDXes.

          • 0 avatar

            Kudos I suppose, and I agree on your rough sales demographic. I’m obviously not in the sales demo but to me Volvo and Acura > KIA anything so assuming even money, wow.

        • 0 avatar

          The last-gen Sorento was arguably the best in its class – but very plain styling and a comfy ride don’t always get noticed. The Telluride is, by nearly all accounts/reviews, the best car in it’s class, but it’s selling like mad because of its edgy appearance. Then again, keep in mind it’s still not selling like the Sorento did (regularly 10k+ units a month) partially due to availability.

          Also, how long have you been here, aren’t you sick of talking down on Kia products? This ain’t 2001, but given your screen name, maybe you think it is! (Great movie, btw.)

          • 0 avatar

            Would say the Telluride’s sheetmetal is the antithesis of “edgy” (which more aptly describes the new Sportage – at least the front fascia).

            Reason why the Telluride has been so successful is, in part, due to its classic/clean lines, along with the “rugged” box shape.

            The Palisade with its more fussy styling, while successful in its own right, hasn’t quite commanded the premium that the Telluride has gotten.

            Despite closing in on 3 years on the market, the Telluride is still one of the quickest turning vehicles.

            Both are underpinned by an extended version of the last gen platform for the previous Sorento and pre-refresh Santa Fe.

            Both will eventually switch to the new N3 platform which will allow for a hybrid and/or PHEV variants.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep, Tellurides and Palisades are all over NOLA.

  • avatar

    I have a new tagline for Kia – “from one ugly to another”

  • avatar

    Smacked by the ugly stick at close range. And more than once, looks like a good side-to-side whipping. Don’t know which is worse at the front, this god-awful thing or the new Mitsubishi which is a clown show with its headlights. A two-box vehicle is a two-box vehicle and is hard to make “different” without stooping to childish design themes. The only ones I can stand to look at are made by JLR. The rest are plug-ugly.

    “The AWD system has a center-locking differential that it will use to distribute power between the front and rear wheels.”

    If this thing has a centre differential, I’ll eat my hat. It’s H-Trac, which means a single clutch that siphons off some of the FWD power to send to the rear, JUST like every other transverse-engined runabout these days, and Subaru besides. This single clutch is then awarded magical qualities by PR flacks who have no more idea how it works than Sally the hairdresser. So when this clutch is locked by a computer processing something or other, an amazing thing happens — the same torque is sent to the rear as to the front. That’s what happens when a clutch locks, the torque either side of the plate becomes the same. Gee, yeah, just like an engine powering a manual transmission after the clutch pedal is released! Magic, I tell ya!

  • avatar

    It looks like Hyundai. In fact it is a Hyundai with different badge. As Dio used to sing “If you listen to fools Telluride still rules”.

  • avatar

    Only if you have extremely poor eyesight.

  • avatar

    Anyone else agree that this new Kia logo is very jarring and just doesn’t look good? Their styling is starting to veer into the weeds and the logo looks like a pimple on the nose on picture day. I wish they would use the stylized K logo instead.

  • avatar

    So ugly. They got rid of the 2.0T option which also is a bit depressing. Piano black everywhere inside. Heavier. Not sure how this is progress. Much prefer the prior gen

  • avatar

    What….no optional turbo engine?

    I like the rear but that front end looks like Kia got inspired by the latest Mitsubishi Outlander. Not a good look.

  • avatar

    … and they’ll be very, VERY expensive depending on your options

    You forgot that part

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