Kia has been on a roll recently, churning out new designs that blend high-tech features with head-turning styling. With new models like the magnificent Kia Telluride, sporty Kia K5, and all-electric EV6 offering buyers impressive options at affordable prices, it is now time for the brand to turn its attention to the most competitive market segment in America – the compact SUV. The Kia Sportage has been a competitor in this segment since its introduction in 1995, but it has never quite managed to break into the ranks of the most popular models. However, that seems likely to change with the fully-redesigned 2023 Kia Sportage.
Currently, the Kia Sportage is mostly seen as a budget option. The fourth generation was unveiled for the 2017 model year and had the relatively inoffensive styling of Kia models from that era. The gentle curves of the exterior and the simple lines of the interior are functional, and there are plenty of available features, but it’s not a vehicle that will ever inspire passion. More importantly, its 105-inch wheelbase and 176-inch overall length are sized for foreign markets and place it at the bottom of its segment when it comes to size. The 2023 Sportage is a different story entirely.
Bigger, Better, and Built for America
Despite being a Korean company, Kia’s largest market is America. With over 1 out of every 5 Kia’s built being sold here in the States, Kia decided that it was time to follow the lead of many other manufacturers and start designing vehicles for the American driver. For its fifth generation, the Sportage now comes in two versions – a short wheelbase variant that debuted back in June for Europe and Asia and a long wheelbase version that was just unveiled for America. Now measuring over half a foot longer than the outgoing model, the new Sportage is built to give American drivers the versatility and comfort they demand.
What does that increase in size mean in real terms? Well, your second-row passengers will now be able to enjoy a class-leading 41 inches of legroom, and you will have access to a best-in-class 39.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. That’s up from 38.2 inches and 30.7 cubic feet for the 2022 model. In short, the 2023 Sportage has vaulted from being one of the smallest vehicles in its segment to being one of the largest. Of course, the new Sportage also offers far more than simply size.
A New Face for a New Generation
Kia hasn’t been pulling any punches when it comes to style lately, and the 2023 Sportage is all set to make a splash. The sharp V-shaped LED daytime running lights are merely the exclamation point on a design that is no longer interested in being merely “inoffensive.” The interior is just as sharp as the exterior, and shoppers are sure to be impressed by the digital dash that faces the driver’s seat. Over 25 inches of screens are available, including a 12.25-inch infotainment touchscreen and a matching 12.25-inch digital instrument display. Even better, Kia has equipped the 2023 Sportage with a full set of separate climate controls, so you won’t have to dig through menus to set the AC the way you want it.
With the new redesign of the Sportage, the Kia lineup has taken a significant step forward in one of the most critical segments of the American car market, and we expect it is going to be a hit. While it probably won’t unseat class favorites like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V anytime soon, it seems likely that the 2023 model will significantly increase Sportage sales in the coming years and should be on the radar of anyone shopping in this segment.