TTAC Drive Notes: 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Hi there, this is take two of our new series in which I give you short notes on something I am driving or have driven recently. It doesn't necessarily mean a given car will or won't get a full review in the future -- it's just a chance to hit some highlights sooner since it can take some time before a full review gets published. And some cars don't get full reviews, anyway.

Today's ride: The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid.

Ed. note -- We're playing with the title format a bit, since last time I said it I would highlight "five things" and it ended up being like 10.

So, the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is available in plug-in and series hybrid setups. My test unit was a series hybrid, and here are some notes I had:

  • The Sportage Hybrid is really fun to drive. You know, for a crossover. I'm serious. Sportiness is relative, of course, but this thing handles well enough to keep people like me happy.
  • I dig the sweeping dash that integrates the infotainment screen nicely. It's easy to use, especially when scrolling through menus either on Kia's home screen or Apple CarPlay.
  • I didn't measure exact fuel economy, but the MPGs I was seeing were a bit low. I blame the densely urban driving environment I was in -- another local journalist who also lives in a built-up part of Chicago told me he also saw disappointing numbers on the trip computer when testing the exact same car. Then again, another journalist I know just told me he saw really good numbers in suburban Ohio. So either the tester in this fleet has issues, or the car just gets better mileage in a suburban area.
  • It seems like it would be a pain to use a button to swap audio controls for climate, but it's not that bad. Though it does remove your eyes from the road, at least until you get used to where the button is.
  • There were plastic button markers for features this tester didn't have. Hate that.
  • I often have a pass/fail test for cars I review -- i.e. I ask myself "would I buy it" regardless of price, competition quality, etc. Just a simple yes/no: Would I own this car and drive it daily for three to five years? The answer here is yes.
  • Some materials felt cheap.
  • The $33K as-tested price is quite reasonable.

[Image © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)