CAR REVIEW

Quality Verified | Posted July 5, 2023

2023 AAA Car Guide Winner: SUV Under $35K

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid EX AWD scored highest for a hybrid SUV under $35K in the 2023 edition of the AAA Car Guide .
What is the AAA Car Guide?
The AAA Car Guide helps consumers navigate the evolving automotive marketplace by ranking and rating the newest vehicles, including EVs. The Guide provides consumers with reviews, based on testing by AAA Engineers, highlighting how many advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are included in the vehicle, along with other criteria and information.
2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid EX AWD
VEHICLE TYPE
BASE PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED
IIHS / NHTSA
SUV Hybrid
$30.990
$33,860
Overall Observations

The Kia Sportage, now in its fifth generation, has been completely redesigned for 2023. The changes from the previous version are immediately noticeable – a bolder and more aggressive-looking exterior design, verging on futuristic.

 

This year, for the first time, the Sportage is available in the hybrid version reviewed here and as a PHEV. The hybrid’s gas-electric powertrain bumps the Sportage’s overall mpg a sizable 13 mpg, to 38 mpg in combined driving for the all-wheel-drive version. Because it does so many things well at a reasonable price, the Sportage stands out as an excellent value in its class.

 

Its many desirable features include a smooth throttle response that translates into a refined driving experience, excellent fuel efficiency, plenty of space for passengers and cargo, easy entry and exit, and LED headlights with auto high beams. High-tech features include blindspot collision-avoidance assist, which can actively change the vehicle’s path to avoid a collision. Sportage downsides are relatively minor and not likely to be deal-breakers: a noisy engine during hybrid transitions; an unsettled ride over rough pavement, with some body roll in the corners; a noticeably weak AC system; some cheap interior materials (albeit with generally good fit and finish); and a tinny feel and sound when closing the doors.

Strengths and Weaknesses

AAA’s Recommendation: Whether you own an electric vehicle or a gas-powered car is up to you – and you should consider lots of factors in making that choice. No matter what type of vehicle you’re choosing, we recommend visiting a dealership, test driving one, and asking as many questions as possible to make an informed decision.

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