Ford Authority

2023 Kia Sportage Debuts As Global Ford Escape/Kuga Rival

Last September, Hyundai revealed the all-new fourth-generation 2021 Hyundai Tucson, a stylish new crossover that will compete directly with the Ford Escape. Now, the Tucson’s sibling – the 2023 Kia Sportage – has also been revealed in its global market form, where it will do battle with the Escape and Kuga, as it’s known in some markets.

Like the new Tucson, the 2023 Kia Sportage features dramatic exterior styling, though it differs quite a bit from its Hyundai “twin.” As is all the rage these days, the new Sportage features coupe-like styling, but without utilizing an actual sloping rear roof that eats away at rear cargo room, much like the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.

“Reinventing the Sportage gave our talented design teams a tremendous opportunity to do something new; to take inspiration from the recent brand relaunch and introduction of EV6 to inspire customers through modern and innovative SUV design,” said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Design Center. “With the all-new Sportage, we didn’t simply want to take one step forward but instead move on to a different level in the SUV class.”

That upscale appearance extends to the Sportage’s interior, which features a digital instrument cluster and large infotainment screen, sculpted air vents, and a shift-by-wire rotary shift knob. The center console features a number of soft-touch physical controls, as well as storage space. Meanwhile, slim-shell seats are designed to provide comfort without taking up too much space. The back of the headrests also feature integrated “hangers” for things like bags and clothing.

Kia stopped short of revealing any mechanical details about the 2023 Sportage, however. In the U.S. at least, it’s possible that the Sportage utilizes the Tuscon’s 2.5L gas four-cylinder powertrain and 1.6L turbocharged hybrid. The 2.5L engine has an estimated output of 190 PS (187 horsepower) an estimated torque rating of 182 pound-feet and is coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 1.6L hybrid powertrain features an estimated combined output of 230 PS (227 horsepower) and 258 pound-feet of torque.

In terms of timing, the all-new Kia Sportage is expected to launch in early 2022 for the 2023 model year.

We’ll have more on all of Ford and Lincoln’s upcoming competitors soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. JimL

    This looks worlds better than the Escape, inside and out. This was designed by modern professionals. I don’t know who designed the Escape; particularly the gaping catfish mouth grille, and the pockmarked, golf-ball interior door panels.

  2. Alan Calunas

    It would be nice to have more power, but the Hybrid would come close
    Escape interior is just too cheap-looking for what a Titanium costs. Mazda CX-5 is also WAY nicer.

  3. Brad Barefoot

    I’ve said for the last 3 years “ALL” of the automakers had better watch Hyundai/Kia, the only mistake I’ve seen them make is their new pickup the Santa Cruz. It’s too feature laden and it’s too expensive, and as my wife says … “just another swoopie look’in import”. Hyundai while I still admire (don’t own one) what you build … rule #1 concerning a pickup truck … make the dern thing useful (remember utility is a paramount feature, most SUV’s provide sport, no utility) for the buyer, make it affordable, and make it look like a pickup.

  4. est

    This looks ok. front end is polarizing, but I can appreciate the risk the designers took instead of the generic escape blob. Interior is really nice though, differing from the futuristic interior of the Tuscon that is defo getting old fast.


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