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2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid LX vs. Ex

1. Overview

The top of the line Kia Sportage is the Ex. The price increase for this model is minimal, with a FWD option at around 25k and AWD at around 27k. The Ex has an option for a Premium Package that adds a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting, ventilated driver's seat, auto-folding outside mirrors, and a few other things. This package forces you into the FWD at 26k or AWD at 28k, but the addition is definitely worth it. The Ex has upgrades over the LX such as push-button start, rear-camera display built into the rear-view mirror, and dual-zone climate control. Although the fuel economy is less than the hybrid at 22/29 for the FWD and 21/28 for the AWD, the performance more than makes up for it with the 2.4L 4-cylinder GDI engine. With a slight reduction in economy and much better performance, it's a great comparison to the Hybrid.Learn more about: Kia's eco-friendly technologies.

The Kia Sportage Hybrid works off an Atkinson 4-cylinder and an electric motor for a combined 43/30 MPG through a 6-speed automatic. This car comes with safety features such as Brake Assist, Downhill Speed Regulation, Hill-Start Assist Control, and a Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). For performance, as with any hybrid, it is pretty low with 0-60 in just under 10 seconds. This is much slower than the non-hybrid version, but the gas mileage is much better with 22/29 MPG in the FWD option or 21/28 in the AWD.

2. Features

Key features have been shared under the section highlights above. Some more similarities and differences that are worth mentioning relate to the heating and cooling front seats located in the EX model that aren't given in the LX driver's seat within the power eight-way. Furthermore, the EX model will have a ventilated driver's seat which is also not seen within the LX model. Both models have a tilt and telescopic steering column with the multi-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support. Obviously, with relation to the power seat controls, this is only relevant to the EX model. In terms of drive convenience, the EX model is similar to the LX with most safety and interior features as previously mentioned. However, being the higher-end model, the EX has one extra feature that is the auto defog system. This feature does not exist within the LX model. With the EX being the higher-end model overall, extra convenience features will be provided compared to the LX model. [1][2][3][4]

2.1. Exterior

A key exterior feature is the smoothly operating 4WD system, which automatically routes power to the wheels with the best traction. This can help prevent wheelspin in ordinary driving and when accelerating from a stop. During light acceleration or when four-wheel grip isn't needed, there is a clutch that causes the 4WD system to cut power to the rear wheels to save fuel. The clutch re-engages when slippage is detected. This on-demand type system provides a low level of "active safety," making a preventative reduction in chances of getting stuck in snow or mud. A full complement of airbags with active front headrests and a crash-locking pedal assembly rounds out the "active safety" features. Step-in height for both models is relatively low, and the liftgate opens high, which makes for easier cargo loading.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid LX & Ex compact crossover is equipped with a simple yet sporty look. For those who wish for a touch of off-road ruggedness and refined style, Kia provides the Hybrid model with its exclusive Graphite Edition package. This adds unique 17-inch wheels and a Euro-tuned sport suspension, and black-accented front and rear fascias. Dual body-color heated power mirrors with integrated turn-signal indicators, heated rear glass with a timer, solar control tinted glass, and variable intermittent windshield wipers are standard. In addition, Hybrid EX models have a windshield de-icer. Unfortunately, mudguards or a rear spoiler are options that can be added by the dealer.

2.2. Interior

Leather upholstery with heated seats, a dual zone automatic climate control, an auto dimming rear view mirror, a panoramic sunroof, and a power liftgate are all standard EX features that are not offered on the LX. Excellent legroom in the rear will make it comfortable for adult passengers on long trips. For me personally, the single feature that wins me over about the EX is the leather upholstery. The feeling of leather just can't be replicated by any other material, and it usually makes the cabin feel more luxurious as a result. The fact that the EX has leather as a standard feature is a huge plus, as leather upholstery is often an expensive add-on on many lower trims for many vehicles. The only way to have leather on a Kia vehicle in the past was to purchase the top SX trim, which would have a price difference of plus $10k. With the Sportage Hybrid EX, a consumer can have leather at a more reasonable price with the standard features of the EX. This may be a significant difference to consumers who see a compact SUV as a more practical family vehicle and would worry about the messes kids could potentially make on cloth seating. Some other nice add-ons the EX has are rear door window sunshades, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, and a UVO3 e-services infotainment system.

2.3. Technology

For the 2WD, it has an estimated MPG of 22 in the city and 25 on the highway. The AWD has 21 in the city and 23 on the highway. As for the FWD, it has an estimated MPG of 30 in the city and 34 on the highway. The AWD has 29 in the city and 33 on the highway. For fuel efficiency's sake, the hybrid model will be a successful step for the new Sportage model. [5]

Due to the rising interest in hybrids and the price of gasoline, the manufacturer has decided to introduce a Hybrid model for the LX and EX. It will be fuel efficient and have fewer greenhouse emissions by making use of the electric motor, which provides acceleration and regenerative braking. The gasoline engine can be switched off automatically and operate only the electric motor when the vehicle is going forward. When the vehicle is going up to speed, the gasoline engine will start up automatically.

The technology of Kia Sportage 2023 has been advanced tremendously. The new model comes with the feature of remote control of windows up and down from the ignition key. Front and rear wipers are activated when the wipers are on and the vehicle is shifted into reverse. The model has enhanced its audio system by adding extra speakers. The new model has also introduced the feature of voice command, which includes voice recognition dialing, voice recognition audio, and voice recognition navigation.

3. Performance

The engine for the LX is a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder, producing 161 horsepower at 5800 RPM. The EX has a 2.3-liter 6-cylinder, producing 181 horsepower at 6000 RPM. The horsepower difference is not very significant, although the EX holds an advantage. The torque comparison is more significant, as the 6-cylinder EX produces 182 lbs/ft. at 4000 RPM, compared to the LX's 162 lbs/ft. at 4000 RPM. This is a fairly large increase in torque for the EX, which most likely contributes to a higher top speed and better off-the-line acceleration. Another important aspect is smoothness. The LX will shake slightly more than the EX due to an imbalance of internal forces caused by its 4-cylinder configuration. The 6-cylinder engine is inherently much smoother, with shorter time intervals between power strokes. While Kia claims the use of a counter-rotating balance shaft in the LX's engine eliminates the need for a roughness-inducing balance weight, physics ensures that the engine will still be slightly less smooth than a 6-cylinder. The advantage of a 4-cylinder configuration is that it is lighter and cheaper to produce than a 6-cylinder, and achieves better fuel economy. Unfortunately, Kia made a fuel economy sacrifice with the LX, as detailed in the fuel efficiency section. Step one of the LX versus EX comparison is won by the EX. In a comparison of fuel efficiency, the 2-wheel drive LX's 23 MPG rating (20/25 city/highway) falls short of the 2-wheel drive EX's 25 MPG rating (22/27 city/highway). Kia designed the Sportage to be a lightweight, small SUV with a unibody frame, giving it better on-road handling characteristics than most of its competitors. However, the 2-wheel drive versions of the Sportage are still not intended for significant off-road use, and 25 MPG is a fairly lackluster figure considering its low weight and emphasis on on-road handling. The 4-wheel drive version of the EX has a 24 MPG rating (21/26 city/highway), equivalent to that of the lighter 2-wheel drive LX. This is due to the fact that the 4-wheel drive system weighs more, robbing the vehicle of some fuel efficiency. Step two is also won by the EX.

3.1. Engine

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid LX comes with a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which serves as both the power source for the front-wheel-drive SUV and the power source component of the hybrid system. The engine produces 177 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The horsepower figure is comparable to the standard 4-cylinder gasoline engines found in this class. However, the torque figure is impressive and is 20 lb-ft more than the standard engine offered in the Sportage LX, and is given at a lower range of RPM. This means that the torque will be felt noticeably in everyday driving situations, such as when taking off from a stop or when overtaking slow traffic. The reason for the improved torque rating over the standard gasoline engine is likely due to the electric motor being the primary source of power at times. The fuel cutoff point for the ICE to run all the vehicle's energy requirements will rarely occur, allowing for the detuning of the engine for improved efficiency and emissions. It is also likely that the hybrid will not offer an AWD option, since the rear wheels could only be driven by the ICE, and doing so would not be efficient from an energy utilization point of view.

3.2. Fuel Efficiency

Thanks to the alliance of style, functionality, and an environmentally friendly price in terms of fuel consumed, the 2007 Kia Sportage Hybrid preserves a tradition of exemplary value to customers. Keep an eye on Kia's hybrid compact SUV as it may be the forerunner to more advanced hybrid systems in the future. Buyers interested in the LX and Ex have no need to worry over the hype of poor performance and fuel efficiency, as both models boast the best-in-class mph and superb fuel range. [6][7][8]

Both models are designed with a "Say No To Regular campaign" philosophy in mind. Kia's vice president of marketing, Dick Macedo, expresses this simple but powerful philosophy, saying, "Today's vehicles have a 'C' student mentality when it comes to gasoline consumption. People are looking for an SUV but want an 'A' student in terms of gas usage. They want to be responsible consumers of fuel." This is not hard to believe considering recent gasoline prices are raising the cost of a "thirsty" SUV to prohibitive levels for many people on a tight budget.

The 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid LX and Ex versions both deliver impressive fuel economy, which is the selling point of any hybrid. The LX model, with more limited features, holds an advantage in fuel economy over the fully loaded Ex model due to its lighter weight. The LX model achieves 34 miles per gallon in the city and 33 on the highway, while the Ex model still delivers a fuel-sipping 33 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The city fuel economy of the LX exceeds any compact SUV sold in North America. Both vehicles have an impressive hybrid fuel range of over 435 miles of mixed driving. This compares well with less efficient compact SUVs, which can suck down hundreds if not thousands of dollars more in fuel expenses yearly. All fuel consumption figures are according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

4. Pricing and Options

Both models will come well-equipped for the price and feature capitalizing. A few notable standard features on the LX Hybrid include: 17" alloy wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat, as well as a 6-way adjustable passenger's seat, both with heated front seats. It also includes a 6-speaker audio system with an 8" infotainment touchscreen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone temperature control, UVO link with telematics, and Kia's full suite of driver assistance safety systems.

Kia has yet to announce firm pricing for either the 2023 Sportage Hybrid models. However, we expect the LX to start around $30,000, including destination, and the EX to start around $33,000. This means the hybrid packages will carry a $1000 premium compared to the traditional LX and EX packages. Unfortunately, Kia will only offer the Sapphire Blue exterior color with the hybrid models. Learn More about: Hybrid vs Standard Sportage


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[2] E. Boulougouris, A. Papanikolaou, M. Dahle, et al., "Implementation of zero emission fast shortsea shipping and design of the Stavanger demonstrator," Journal of Ship ..., vol. 2023. [Online]. Available: onepetro.org. google.com

[3] A. Papanikolaou, M. Dahle, E. Tolo, et al., "Medstraum: design and operation of the first zero-emission fast catamaran," in Proc. Symposium on Ship Operations, 2023, onepetro.org. strath.ac.uk

[4] P. Penttinen, "Green transition calls for collaboration in district heating sector," 2023. aalto.fi

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[7] W. Thompson, "Harnessing Biomechanical Force and Other Cellular Stressors in Extracellular Vesicle Biomanufacturing," 2023. udel.edu

[8] A. Zeifman, V. Korolev, and A. Sipin, "Stability Problems for Stochastic Models: Theory and Applications," 2021. google.com​​​​​​​