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The Kia Sportage Hybrid is a very good vehicle. I’ll bring it up. But is it 30% better than list price?

That’s a markup some dealers have tried to charge, while most deals are closer to the 20% range across the entire Sportage lineup.

Somehow, it’s still the brand’s best-selling model, and for very good reasons.

The 2023 Sportage Hybrid is all-new and shares its underpinnings with the similarly popular Hyundai Tucson Hybrid released last year, but has a completely different look.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is the first hybrid version of the model.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid is the first hybrid version of the model.
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Boomerang accent lights make the Sportage Hybrid’s presence well-marked in the rearview mirrors, but its curved flanks are muscular and stand in stark contrast to the Tucson’s edgy, polygonal design.

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Actual sticker price for the Hybrid starts at $28,585 and runs up to $37,485 for the fully loaded SX Prestige as I tested it. That’s counting the optional Shadow Matte Gray paint, a $595 option that adds some risk, but may be too much maintenance for most people.

The Kia Sportage Hybrid is available in matte-finish paint.

The Kia Sportage Hybrid is available in matte-finish paint.
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For example, you shouldn’t take it through a car wash or clean it with standard soaps and rags.

The new Sportage is seven inches longer than its predecessor, giving it tremendous rear legroom and plenty of cargo space for the compact SUV segment.

The rear seat of the Kia Sportage Hybrid has the most legroom in the compact SUV segment.

The rear seat of the Kia Sportage Hybrid has the most legroom in the compact SUV segment.
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Interior design and execution are top notch, and standard features on the SX Prestige include a 360-degree view monitor, blind spot cameras with displays in the digital instrument cluster, and highway driving assist with adaptive cruise control and lane-center capability.

The Kia Sportage Hybrid has dual digital displays.

The Kia Sportage Hybrid has dual digital displays.
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The lack of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and the row of dual-use controls for the climate and infotainment systems below the main 12.3-inch touchscreen display may be a turn-off for some. There are two knobs and a row of touchpads that you need to toggle between the two functions to use. Kia uses the same setup in the Electric EV6, and it takes some getting used to.

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The hybrid powertrain combines a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an electric motor rated at 227 horsepower, more powerful than the traditional Sportage, which tops out at 187 hp.

The Kia Sportage Hybrid has a large cargo area.

The Kia Sportage Hybrid has a large cargo area.
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A six-speed automatic sends power to the wheels at a combined 43 mpg mpg on front-wheel-drive models and 38 mpg with all-wheel-drive, the only way the SX-Prestige comes.

The hybrid is also rated to tow up to 2,000 pounds with both drivetrains, but one is a bonus.

Along with the added traction, the all-wheel-drive version’s ground clearance has been increased from 7.1 to 8.3 inches. It’s not exactly an off-roader, but it’s easy in the snow or on a pockmarked dirt trail.

The Kia Sportage Hybrid starts at $28,585.

The Kia Sportage Hybrid starts at $28,585.
(we)

It manages some of the latter without too much fuss, and the ride is as quiet and smooth on pavement as you’d expect in its class. The suspension is perfectly tuned to combine comfort and handling, and the powertrain packs a nice-sized punch when you need to pass. As the engine picks up speed to pitch in, the electric motor immediately turns things off.

Technically a fuel economy rating of 38 city, 38 highway and 38 combined may not be the jackpot those numbers imply. It’s a few mpg lower for me in the real world, but still in the 30s most of the time.

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The Sportage Hybrid should still save about $500 a year in fuel compared to the standard model, which should cover its small list price premium in two or three years, depending on the trim.

Those markups are another matter. The Sportage Hybrid makes as strong an argument for demanding a premium as any mainstream vehicle, but they’re still pretty ridiculous.

If you can wait until the market cools down, it will be worth your time.

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2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

Base price: $28,585

As Tested: $38,155

Type: 5-passenger, 4-door all-wheel-drive SUV

Engine: Turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder plus electric motor

Power: 227 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque

Transmission: 6-speed automatic