The 2023 Kia Sportage made its global debut in South Korea this summer.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen brand new SUVs from Kia in the Telluride and Seltos, as well as the overhauled Sorento. Now, it’s the aging Sportage’s turn to see a major update, and that revised model will make its U.S. debut on October 27. Like so many of Kia’s other recent debuts — including the K5, Carnival and the new Sorento — the automaker already gave us a fair amount of insight into the new 2023 Kia Sportage.
Sure, the new model looks all mysterious against the sunset, but let’s take a proper look at it from the Korean debut:
Kia’s new aesthetic direction falls under “Opposites United”, including “using concepts of disruption and contrast to create characterful designs”. That applies to the brand’s entire lineup moving forward, including the upcoming EV6, and indeed the new Sportage. As ever, styling is subjective and you can interpret what meaning you’d like in that description versus what we actually see here with Kia’s updated crossover.
Objectively, it is a major departure from the old Sportage, from the dramatic grille design flanked by boomerang-like LED running lights and new headlight layout. The 2023 Kia Sportage also brings in a much more aggressively raked greenhouse and side profile, reasonably similar to what we see on the EV6. Around back, the new car also gets some new LED taillights that not only jut across the tailgate, but also come forward into the rear quarter panels, a bit like you see on the Stinger.
Check out the new interior
Interior changes to the 20223 Kia Sportage are nearly as radical as they are on the exterior. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is one of the headline features, as is an equally sized infotainment display. Gone is the old gear selector in place of Kia’s rotary dial setup, which offers up more space for drive modes and comfort-related switchgear.
On the comfort front, features like heated and ventilated seats are banked just in front of the cupholders on the center stack, while you also may be able to get a 360-degree camera system and parking sensors on higher-end trims. Again, these are the South Korean-market models, but most of the equipment you see above should translate to the U.S. models.
What about powertrains?
At this point, Kia obviously has not confirmed powertrain options for the new Sportage. However, we can look at its Hyundai cousin — the new Tuscon — and get a pretty good idea of what’s in store. If there’s a 1-to-1 comparison for U.S. models (there usually is that similarity between Hyundai and Kia models), then we could well see a 2.5-liter direct-injected “Smartstream” unit as the base engine. We could also see the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine make an appearance here, either as a standalone powertrain (perhaps the base engine, instead of the 2.5) or with an electric motor in the form of a Sportage Hybrid.
Going the hybrid route offers up 227 horsepower, which would give some alternative to the old Sportage’s 237 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo, while also boosting fuel efficiency. A plug-in hybrid variant with some all-electric driving capability isn’t out of the cards either.
We’ll have more specific U.S. information on October 27 at 2 PM Eastern — stay tuned for a video!