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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2024 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV X-Line Prestige

Vehicle Type: Small suv Plug-In Hybrid
 overall score
Category Ranking: 8

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $42,990
Price as Tested: $44,285

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Electricity/regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 11.1
120V Charge Time: 3.4 miles per hour
240V Charge Time: 17 miles per hour
EPA City mpg36
EPA Highway mpg35
EPA Combined mpg: 35
EPA Combined MPGe: 84
EPA-Est. Electric Range (mi): 34

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [S]
  • Driver Monitoring [S]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional

Overall Observations

The compact Sportage SUV, Kia's best-selling vehicle, was completely redesigned for 2023. It gained a PHEV variant, which increases its appeal, versatility, and value. The new Sportage's exterior is boldly styled and looks more dynamic. Its drivetrain combines a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor, good for 35 mpg in combined driving, and an all-electric range of 34 miles. The Sportage's spacious interior provides plenty of headroom and legroom for all occupants and an abundance of cargo capacity. In general, cabin materials are attractive, but there's too much piano-black hard plastic in places like the gear-selector knob and window switches. For a moderately priced vehicle, the base X-Line trim has an abundance of standard comfort, convenience, and safety features. Impressively, the X-Line Prestige we tested has even more, such as a heated and heat-reflective windshield, alloy pedals, Harmon Kardon premium audio, Highway Driving Assist, a blind-spot camera, and remote parking assistance. But Kia has some work to do in a few areas: Too much engine, tire, and road noise get into the cabin. Knobs and haptic buttons alternate confusingly between climate and audio controls. The driving experience is unengaging, with a loose suspension feel and minimal steering feedback. Finally, the transmission and throttle often respond in a jerky, lagging manner.

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Pros and Cons


  • Plenty of standard convenience, comfort, and safety features
  • Lots of headroom, legroom, and cargo capacity
  • Good all-electric range (34 miles) and mpg numbers
  • Standard panoramic roof includes automatic sunshade


  • Abundance of road, wind, and tire noise enter the cabin
  • Frustrating and confusing infotainment/HVAC controls
  • Unengaging driving experience, lacks feedback
  • Transmission, throttle response lack smoothness

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2023
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 4211.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 183.5 / 73.4 / 66.9
Wheelbase (in): 108.5
Number of air bags: 7
Warranty (months/miles): 60/60,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Michelin Primacy A/S
Front and rear tire size: 235/55 R19
Max towing capacity (lbs): 2,000
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Hybrid drive
Drivetrain type: All wheel
Engine/motor: 1.6L I4 turbo
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 177 @ 5,500
Electric motor horsepower: 89.7
Combined system horsepower: 261

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:





Handling: 5.57
Quality and Drivability: 6.50

Ride Quality:


Interior Size:


Easy of Entry and Exit:




Interior Noise:


Cargo Capacity:

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