The all-new Kia Sportage X-Pro model comes standard with all-terrain tires and 17-inch matte black off-road wheels. (Kia)

The all-new Kia Sportage X-Pro model comes standard with all-terrain tires and 17-inch matte black off-road wheels. (Kia)

2023 Kia Sportage has two new models aimed at the outdoorsy

The X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige have all-terrain tires, all-wheel drive, and all kinds of ground clearance.

Kia’s Sportage compact SUV is reborn for the 2023 model year with a whole new design, larger dimensions inside and out, better fuel economy, and two new models in the lineup.

Overall length is increased by 7.1 inches, the wheelbase is stretched an extra 3.4 inches, back-seat passengers are treated to 3 more inches of legroom, and the cargo area’s 39.6 cubic-feet capacity is best-in-class.

In essence, Sportage has transitioned from being one of the smallest SUVs in the compact class to one of the largest.

X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige are the new Sportage models, both aimed at accommodating drivers whose outdoor activities include venturing into terrain more challenging than usual. The X-Pro models have all-terrain tires, 17-inch matte black off-road wheels, LED foglights, available LED projector headlights (standard on the Prestige trim), multi-terrain drive modes, 8.3 inches of ground clearance, and standard all-wheel drive.

X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige join the existing Sportage trim levels: LX, EX, SX, SX-Prestige, and X-Line.

Except for the top three trims, which are AWD only, Sportage is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Pricing ranges from $27,285 (with a $1,295 destination charge included) for a front-drive LX to $38,085 for the X-Pro Prestige. AWD adds $1,800 to the price tag.

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Kia Sportage are also new for 2023. That information deserves better than just being shoehorned into this review, but the hybrids are treated separately by the manufacturer and for evaluation purposes.

The 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro model has a panoramic sunroof with power shade, and gloss black roof rails. (Kia)

The 2023 Kia Sportage X-Pro model has a panoramic sunroof with power shade, and gloss black roof rails. (Kia)

Sportage’s new interior is handsomely designed and richly furnished. Dual screens are incorporated into one impressive curved panoramic 12.3-inch display in the dash. Operation of the system isn’t altogether intuitive because some controls have double functions. A bit of time spent exploring and practicing with it while parked will pay off.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on all trims.

Sportage’s newly expanded dimensions make the calm and quiet cabin seem more like a midsize SUV than a compact. There’s headroom galore, and the extra back-seat legroom makes a world of difference. Rear seatbacks also recline, boosting their comfort quotient.

Clever little touches enhance the back-seat experience even further: an integrated hook on the front seatbacks for hanging shopping bags, organizing charging cables or whatever, and coat hangers molded behind the front seat headrests that can also serve as assist grips for those needing some gentle extra help entering or exiting the vehicle.

The cargo area looks cavernous. A wide opening and high liftgate make it enjoyable to deal with, and a floor that’s level with the bumper means heavy, bulky items can be loaded or extracted with minimal effort.

Sportage deploys one powertrain across the board: a new 2.5-liter four cylinder engine generating 187 horsepower, paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. It doesn’t manifest abundant exuberance, but it gets the job done and behaves smoothly in the process.

Give that powertrain respect for its fuel economy ratings. With front-wheel drive: 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined. With AWD: 23/28/25 mpg.

A curved panoramic 12.3-inch display is a prominent feature of the 2023 Kia Sportage interior. (Kia)

A curved panoramic 12.3-inch display is a prominent feature of the 2023 Kia Sportage interior. (Kia)


Base price, including destination charge: $38,085

Price as driven: $38,555

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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