39-mpg compact SUV, can tow 2,000 pounds


Kia on Wednesday unveiled a hybrid version of its redesigned 2023 Sportage compact crossover. It goes on sale in the United States early next year.

Revealed at the 2021 Los Angeles auto show, the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid wears the same unorthodox styling as the gasoline model unveiled in October.

The powertrain consists of a 1.6-liter turbo-4 gasoline engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, working with a single electric motor and 1.49-kwh battery pack. Base LX models get standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive; higher-level EX and SX-Prestige models are all-wheel drive only.

 

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

Total system output is 226 horsepower, which is more than the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 hybrids, and allows a 2,000-pound towing capacity, according to Kia.

Complete fuel-economy estimates aren’t available yet, but Kia said it’s targeting 39 mpg for front-wheel drive models. That would align closely with the Honda and Toyota hybrid crossovers.

Kia parent Hyundai, meanwhile, offers its Tucson Hybrid only with all-wheel drive, 230 hp, and an EPA-rated 38 mpg combined for the efficiency-focused Blue version.

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

Pricing will be announced at a later date, but the Sportage Hybrid will be available with the usual bevy of driver-assist tech, including lane-keep assist and a driver-attention monitor. Blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, along with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen forming one panoramic display, will be available as options.

The Sportage Hybrid follows the larger Sorento Hybrid crossover, but Kia did not replace the Optima Hybrid sedan when that model was rebranded as the K5. The Sorento is also available as a plug-in hybrid.

Kia is also focusing on electric cars as part of its Plan S initiative, which includes a $25 billion investment by the end of 2025. The automaker plans to launch 11 EVs by 2026, starting with the EV6 crossover and eventually encompassing a range of dedicated EVs. That will likely include a production version of the Concept EV9 unveiled alongside the Sportage Hybrid in LA.



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