2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid: First Look Review

  • 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid delivers 34 miles of EPA-est. pure electric range
  • Confirmed to return an EPA-est. fuel economy of 84 MPGe
  • Priced from USD 39,590 (excl. USD 1,375 destination fee)
  • Rivals the likes of Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Prime

Launched in the U.S. in August 2022, the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid recently transitioned to the 2024 model year. It belongs to one of the most crowded plug-in hybrid SUV segments that consists of models like the Toyota RAV4 Prime, Ford Escape PHEV, Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid, etc. Recently, I saw a Snow White Pearl-colored 2024 Kia Sportage Pliug-in Hybrid and checked out all its details. Here’s my take on the new plug-in hybrid compact SUV:

Design

I think the 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid features a proper crossover shape and has some funky design elements. The striking headlights with boomerang-shaped daytime running lights give it an offbeat look and make it instantly recognizable.

The prominent Tiger Nose grille, the distinctive bumpers, the 19-inch alloy wheels, and the muscular shoulders that flow into notch-shaped tail lights highlight the 2024 Sportage Plug-in Hybrid’s ruggedness. Details like the matte black garnish on the bumpers, the matte black over fender and window side sill trim, the gloss black window pillar garnish and window DLO surround, and the gloss black finish on the wheels add to the PHEV’s sportiness.

Kia imports the 2024 Sportage Plug-in Hybrid to the U.S. from the AutoLand Gwangju plant in South Korea. When I took a closer look at its exterior, I found that its panel gaps were consistent and aligned well. Its paint quality was also impressive, and the car looked dashing, particularly in this Snow Pearl White color.

Interior

The 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid features a modern and high-tech interior inspired by premium outdoor products, modern architecture, and furniture. I think its moderately chunky and curved dashboard, faux wood inlays, and vertical AC vents go well with its body style. The dual panoramic curved display, the compact steering wheel, the dual-function touchpad with climate and audio controls, etc., on the other hand, provide a nice contrast and give a modern car-like vibe.

When I used the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system of the 2024 Sportage Plug-in Hybrid, I found that they had a high resolution and a simple UI, which made them easy to use. I was disappointed by the lack of wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto in the infotainment system, though.

I didn’t find the touch-based climate and audio controls complicated, but I think they can be distractive and unnecessarily require an extra step to perform the desired function. In my opinion, the dual-function touchpad is a gimmick, and Kia should’ve stuck to conventional controls with switches and buttons. That said, I appreciate the company at least offering knobs to control the volume and temperature.

As for the interior quality of the 2024 Sportage Plug-in Hybrid, I felt that the switchgear gave tactile feedback. The materials Kia has used in the PHEV don’t disappoint.

As a six-foot-tall person, I had no issues with ingress or egress in the 2024 Sportage Plug-in Hybrid, neither in the front nor in the back. Sitting in the 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with 2-way lumbar support, 2-position memory function, heating, and ventilation, I had decent headroom. I felt that the lumbar support was good, but the under-thigh support had room for improvement. The heated steering wheel with manual tilt and telescopic column offered a solid grip.

In the back, the 60:40 folding bench seat had a recline function but no heating. I found the default angle of the backrest comfortable, so I didn’t need to recline it. I had decent legroom and knee room. However, I think the bench seat wasn’t wide enough for three adults, at least not for tall people like me.

The 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid features a height-adjustable smart power liftgate. It has 34.5 cu. ft. of cargo space, expandable to 65.5 cu. ft. by folding the rear seat. The plug-in hybrid SUV comes with a tire repair kit instead of a spare wheel.

2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid cargo area

Driving impressions

The Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid hasn’t received any mechanical changes with the 2024 model year update. It still has a 1.6-liter turbocharged gas engine and a permanent magnet synchronous motor that together produces 261 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission and a mechanical all-wheel drive system work together to direct drive to the wheels. A 13.8 kWh battery pack powers the PMSM and gives the PHEV an EPA-est. pure electric range of 34 miles. 

Gauging from reviews from the 2023 model year, it seems the Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid has a sufficiently powerful hybrid system and a smooth-shifting transmission. However, there are mixed reviews about braking performance, with some applauding the smoothness in the transition between regenerative and friction braking systems while others complain about inconsistency of the feel in the brake pedal and the squishiness on suddenly flooring it. Similarly, the steering feels effortless but lacks feedback. Lastly, the SUV does tend to sway a bit and feels like it loses its composure over mid-corner bumps.

2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid side profile

Price

The 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid is available in X-Line and X-Line Prestige grades and retails at USD 39,590 in the former and USD 44,090 in the latter. Both prices exclude a USD 1,375 destination fee.

TopElectricSUV says

The 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid scores well on style, tech, comfort, and performance. It may not have the 2024 Toyota RAV4 Prime’s solid punch or excellent fuel economy and electric driving range, but it offers a better balance of the things that matter.

2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid FAQs

What is the 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid release date?

The 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid will likely begin arriving at U.S. dealerships in the coming weeks.

What is the 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid price?

The 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid’s prices start at USD 39,590 (excl. USD 1,375 destination fee).

Which models are 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid rivals?

The 2024 Kia Sportage Plug-in Hybrid competes with the Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Prime, Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, and Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid.