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On the Road: 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid

By Peter Perrotta

Hybrid? Or all electric? Which should I buy?

That’s a question I hear a lot these days. However. there is no wrong or right answer. At the end of the day, it comes down to a matter of personal preference – just like chocolate or vanilla.

You can make a list of the positives and negatives of both and still not come to one definitive conclusion. A lot may depend on how committed you may be to clean air emissions.

Another factor becomes convenience. Until more convenient and faster charging stations are built, owning an all-electric vehicle has its challenges when it comes to recharging easily.

This week’s On The Road column takes a look at three vehicles, a hybrid, electric and a gas: the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid SX-Prestige; 2022 Kia EV-6 GT line RWD (electric) and the gas powered 2023 Buick Enclave Avenir AWD.

2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid SX-Prestige AWD

New for 2023 for the Sportage is that it is now available for the first time as a hybrid.

The SX-Prestige AWD hybrid model I tested for one week has a base price of $36,190 and topped out at $38,155 with options.

This hybrid gets an Environmental Protection Agency rated 38 miles per gallon (mpg) overall both in city and highway driving.

This Kia features state-of-the-art sculpted looks with aggressive styling and solid handling and comfort.

The interior ergonomics are attractive and lend itself to a very intuitive and easy to figure out operation of all the controls.

In fact, the folks at Car and Driver were so impressed with this Kia hybrid model that they rated it a 9 out of 10 overall.

This hybrid model is powered by a four-cylinder 1.6-liter turbocharged hybrid powertrain that is matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

The 1.6 four hybrid powertrain puts out 226 horsepower. However, the knock on this model seems to be that this hybrid lacks a real punch. I’d have to somewhat agree. If you are an aggressive driver and are looking to make aggressive moves this may not be the car for you.

However, this Kia is a more than adequate performer for the majority of the motoring public.

2022 Kia EV-6 GT RWD

The EV-6 is a groundbreaking vehicle for this South Korean auto maker. It is the first all-electric vehicle it has ever offered. In fact, Kia says it plans to build 11 new electric vehicles by 2026.

This is an extremely stylish, ultra-modern looking crossover SUV that sits so low to the ground that you may mistake it for a sedan or sport coupe.

I recently test drove this vehicle with a base sticker price of $51,200. With options added, my tester had a bottom-line sticker price of $53,405.

My vehicle featured a 77.4 kwh (kilowatt-hour) battery pack that when fully charged had a range of 310 miles.

The EPA estimates that the annual cost of driving this EV to be about a meager $550 per year.

This vehicle has attractive looks and great interior styling that make it exciting to drive and comfortable at the same time.

It is quiet and sleek and does turn some heads when you drive it down the street.

My main issue with all electric vehicles – for the time being – is that there aren’t enough level 3 or fast charging stations around to make it easily convenient to get a quick recharge.

If you have to use level 2 charging station – the slower of the two charging options – then you need to be prepared to sit at the charging station for at least one hour or more to get an adequate charge.

The best plan of action for EV users is to make sure you plan out your route and know where the fast-charging stations are before you embark on your journey.

Other than that, I find the Kia EV-6 to be a great vehicle to consider if you are in the market for buying or leasing an EV.

2022 Buick Enclave

The largest SUV in the Buick lineup gets a stylish refresh for 2023 that includes more up to date front and rear bumpers, sleeker looking exterior lighting, new wheels and a more modern looking center console with a push button shifter.

I tested the top-of-the-line Avenir model for one week and that featured a more luxurious exterior trim and interior leather seating package.

With a base price of $57,300 before options are added, the Avenir competes with some heady company including the Hyundai Genesis GV80, Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5.

With options the Avenir model I tested had a bottom-line sticker price of $60,040.

The EPA fuel rating for this model is 20 mph overall – 25 mpg on the highway and 17 around town.

While I don’t think the Avenir stacks up against any of those three quite well, it does offer a comfortable, more affordable ride than those luxury imports.

Under the hood of every Enclave is a 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine that puts out 310 horsepower. It has been tested doing the 0- to 60 test track run in 6.5 seconds.

While you aren’t about to win any Indianapolis 500 races with this Enclave, it is plenty powerful enough to get you through any of the everyday driving situations you may encounter under normal driving conditions.

The average EPA mileage rating for the Avenir is 25 mpg, which isn’t bad for an SUV of this size.

While Buick has gone to great lengths to upgrade its image in the minds of the motoring public to appeal to a more modern, younger customer, this still feels like a Buick to me.

Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears every other week. He can be contacted at pperrotta@comcast.net

On The Road is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars of Springfield N.J. one of the leading leasing agents in the Tri-state area.

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