Though we've already seen the 2023 Kia Sportage a couple of times before, the compact SUV's U.S. specifications are finally being revealed with its North American introduction today. Certainly not all of its details are clear yet, as the company is holding on to a few for later, but we now know more about its size, base engine and trim levels.
There isn't much else to say about the design that we haven't said before. But it is significantly larger than its predecessor. It's 7.1 inches longer and has a 3.4-inch longer wheelbase. That pays dividends with rear legroom as well as cargo space. Rear legroom expands from 38.2 inches to 41.3, and behind the rear seats, the Sportage now holds 39.6 cubic feet of stuff. The previous model had 30.7 cubic feet of space. The interior also is fully redesigned with an en vogue dual-screen dash, which can have two 12.3-inch screens. Cloth seats are standard on the base LX, while EX and above trims get leatherette.
That brings us to what trim levels will be available. LX is the entry point followed by EX, SX, SX Prestige, X-Line, X-Pro and X-Pro Prestige. The latter three are new to the Sportage lineup and have a more rugged and off-road-oriented look courtesy of different front and rear bumper designs, satin chrome and gloss black trim, raised roof rails and "tread-like" interior stitching. They also all get standard all-wheel drive, which adds 1.5 inches of ground clearance, as on all all-wheel-drive Sportage models. The X-Line gets 19-inch alloy wheels with normal road tires, but the X-Pro models get 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. The X-Pro also gets LED fog lights, heated windshield and washer nozzles and variable drive modes. The X-Pro Prestige adds ventilated front seats, power passenger seat and LED projector headlights. A two-tone roof is optional, too.
The other big news is Kia gave some details on the Sportage's base engine. Instead of one of the turbocharged engines we speculated it would have, it gets a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder. It's a tad larger than the 2.4-liter unit in the old Sportage and is estimated to make 187 horsepower, just six more than the old engine. But instead of a six-speed automatic transmission, it will be paired with a new eight-speed unit. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available. This won't be the only engine offered, though. Kia has confirmed a hybrid and some other engine will be available. We're betting some kind of turbo engine will be available.
The 2023 Kia Sportage goes on sale early next year, and we'll surely have additional details on things like the other engines and pricing before then. Most versions of the compact SUV will also be built at Kia's factory in Georgia.
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