2023 Kia Sportage PHEV is a plug-in hybrid with 32 mile EV mode

Kia is adding another plug-in hybrid to its line-up, with the 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV promising around 32 miles of electric driving along with standard all-wheel drive. The first Sportage PHEV variant, the SUV will arrive in US dealerships in Q3 2022, Kia said today, alongside its gas-only and regular hybrid siblings.

We saw that hybrid break cover back in November 2021, at the LA Auto Show. There, Kia combined a 1.6-liter turbocharged gas engine with a 44 kW electric motor, powered by a compact 1.49 kWh li-ion battery. While not really designed for purely electric driving, the setup was sufficient to coax out up to 39 mpg in front-wheel drive form, Kia promised.

For the 2023 Sportage PHEV, there's a bigger battery intended for external charging. Kia is using the 1.6-liter turbo gas engine – with 177 horsepower – here, combined with a 66.9 kW electric motor. The battery is a 13.8 kWh li-poly pack, and the whole thing is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. AWD is standard.

The big advantage is EV range, which Kia is estimating at 32 miles. Actual economy numbers will come closer to the SUV's market launch, when the EPA finalizes them. Kia says that the 7.2 kW onboard charger will – when hooked up to a Level 2 240V supply – take around 2 hours to fully charge the Sportage PHEV's battery. However there'll also be regenerative braking – which Kia says will best that in terms of efficiency, compared to its rivals – to top the SUV up as it slows.

Two trims will be offered: X-Line PHEV AWD, and X-Line Prestige PHEV AWD. Both will have unique bumper designs with satin chrome trim, gloss black side mirrors, roof rack, and window trim, and 19-inch gloss-black alloy wheels. The plug-in hybrid will also have standard LED taillights.

Inside, a dual panoramic curved display will be optional, combining twin 12.3-inch screens. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard, while a 360-degree camera with 3D view is optional. The Sportage X-Line Prestige PHEV AWD gets a Harman Pardon premium audio system, while both trims can be equipped with Kia Connect with smartphone remote control, WiFi hotspot with 4G LTE, stolen vehicle tracking and immobilization, and AI-powered predictive mapping.

LED headlights are standard, as is lane following assistance and lane keeping assistance. Forward collision avoidance with cyclist detection, rear occupant alert, reverse parking sensors, blind spot collision avoidance with parallel exit, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assistance, and safe exit warnings are all standard. The Prestige trim throws in blind spot view monitor – beaming a view of the neighboring lane to the dashboard when you hit the turn signal – along with junction turning capability to the forward collision avoidance, plus front parking sensors.

The Prestige Sportage PHEV also has Highway Driving Assist as standard, along with navigation-based smart cruise control. Together, they can keep the SUV in the lane and at a consistent distance from the traffic ahead, along with adjust the preset speed according to upcoming curves in the road. There's also remote smart parking assistance, allowing the Sportage to pull in or out of a spot using buttons on the key fob.

While much of the attention on Kia's electrification efforts has been focused on its fully-electric models, including the well-received new 2022 EV6 BEV and the three-row-SUV-teasing EV9 Concept, there's still undoubtedly a place for a plug-in hybrid in the line-up, too. Pricing for the 2023 Sportage PHEV will be confirmed closer to the SUV's arrival in dealerships later this year.