First Drive: Kia Sportage X-Pro

Kia Sportage X-Pro

TGR Staff | Photos by Lucas Kepner - 11/12/2022

The 2023 Kia Sportage stands out from the crowd thanks to its dynamic styling and attractive price point with a starting price of just over $27,000. The bold grille and headlamp design is the first thing you notice when you see the new Sportage, under the hood things are a bit more conventional. With an option of a 187-hp four-cylinder, a 226-hp hybrid powertrain, or a plug-in-hybrid with an estimated electric range of 34 miles. The range of options and trim levels can get a little confusing with the 12 different trim packages ranging from the base LX to the X-Line Prestige Hybrid.

The one we are driving is the X-Pro, in Jungle Green and Black, it has a panoramic sunroof, quilted SynTex seating, and 8.3 inches of ground clearance. The last one is important because we are at the Brazos Valley Off-Road Ranch, and it is time to see just how sporty the Sportage really is.

Kia Sportage X-Pro

The Sportage as equipped is just under $39,000 but it includes Kia’s latest active all-wheel drive system with multi-terrain drive mode and center locking differential. The X-Pro trim level is Kia’s dedicated off-road package, not only does it get more ground clearance, it gets some light-duty skid plates and 17-inch wheels with all-season tires. With the push of a button, the locking center differential locks torque 50/50 between the axles for more traction. When not locked the AWD system sends torque to the axles based on wheel speed and throttle input. Being able to lock the differential means the Sportage can take on steeper climbs and more complicated obstacles without getting stuck. We put to the test on dirt, sand, grass, and a short obstacle course.

Going down steep grades is no problem thanks to Kia’s hill descent control, while it is not the most sophisticated hill decent system, it does the job and will give novice off-roaders more confidence on the trail. Kia has positioned the X-Pro squarely at Subaru buyers, people who need good off-road capability but don’t want to drive Bronco or Wrangler. It's capable of a lot more than just dirt roads, without giving up the civility you want in a daily driver. 

Kia Sportage X-Pro

When it comes to infotainment, the Sportage comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 12.3 infotainment display is standard on this model, the exterior cameras also come in handy when you are traversing off-road thanks to bird’s eye views. Gridlines help guide the way as and the tire view is helpful when working around more difficult obstacles.

Overall, the new Kia Sportage X-Pro took all the trials and tests we could throw at it like a champ and still was ready to drive to work the next day, making it the perfect weekend warrior and daily driver.

Kia Sportage X-Pro 

2023 Kia Sportage X-Line AWD: $36,680 (as tested)

  • ·         2.5L 4-cylinder Engine w/ 187 hp & 178 lb.-ft. of torque with an 8-speed automatic
  • ·         Active All-Wheel Drive w/ Center Locking Differential
  • ·         Multi-terrain Drive Modes
  • ·         8.3 Inches of Ground Clearance
  • ·         17-inch Alloy Wheels w/ BFGoodrich® All-Terrain Tires
  • ·         Panoramic Sunroof w/ Power Sunshade
  • ·         Smart Power Tailgate
  • ·         High-Utility Roof Rails, Gloss Black
  • ·         Dual-Zone Auto Climate Control
  • ·         12.3-inch Dual Panoramic Displays w/ Navigation and Kia Connect
  • ·         Harmon Kardon® Premium Audio System, 8 Speakers
  • ·         Wireless Phone Charger
  • ·         Smart Key w/ Push Button Start and Remote Start
  • ·         Driver's Seat Memory System
  • ·         X-Line SynTex Seating Trim w/ Heated Front Seats
  • ·         Navigation-Based Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go - Curve
  • ·         Heated Steering Wheel
  • ·         Forward Collision Avoidance-Assist w/ Car, Pedestrian, Cyclist, and Junction Turning Detection
  • ·         Blind Spot Detection Technology
  • ·         Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist
  • ·         Lane Keeping & Following Assist
  • ·         Driver Attention Warning w/ Leading Vehicle Departure Alert
  • ·         Rear Parking Sensors
  • ·         Highway Driving Assist
  • ·         High Beam Assist
  • ·         Safe Exit Warning