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2023 Kia Sportage X Line vs. Ex

1. Overview

Inside, the Sportage's build quality is top-notch and it offers a solid ride. Seating is comfortable front and rear, and rear passengers enjoy three inches of fore/aft travel and adjustable seatbacks. Cargo space is competitive at 26.1 cu. ft. behind the rear seats and 54.3 cu. ft. with the seats folded. A small item storage console has been added to the cargo area and top trim models have a power liftgate. High levels of standard equipment such as a rearview camera and keyless entry give the Sportage's cabin an upscale feel. Tech options include navigation and a Microsoft-powered UVO infotainment system, which has received much improvement and is now simpler to use. The panoramic sunroof contributes to a sense of spaciousness in the cabin. A downside though are the rearward sightlines, which are compromised by the Kia's styling. The Sportage receives good crash test ratings but poor headlight performance.

The Sportage is powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. Also offered is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, and a new addition to the lineup is a fuel-efficient 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel. The T-GDI has much better low-end torque and feels stronger than its horsepower numbers would suggest, but the fuel savings might not offset the higher price the turbo engine commands. Step up from the base front-drive LX and all-wheel drive becomes a $2000 option.

The Kia Sportage is a competent entrant in the compact SUV class. It competes with the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, and Subaru Forester. The Sportage stands out in the class with its expressive styling and a comprehensive equipment list. The Kia shines in urban environs but doesn't compromise on the occasional rough road.

2. Exterior Features

Lighting is another point of difference, with the X-Line using advanced LED headlights and fog lights. The heads and tails have a cool sweptback design and add further to the car's sporty or nighttime predator-like appearance. In contrast, the EX sticks with a more traditional projector-style headlights and regular incandescent rear lights. The difference in lighting is purely aesthetic, as all lights are equally effective at illuminating the roadway.

Differentiating the X-Line and EX is extremely straightforward. Since the models share the same body, the distinctions between the two variants are limited to the exterior. The X-Line takes the Sportage's sharp, angular design and adds a large, imposing gloss black grille and unique 'boomerang' daytime running lights. It also adds robust body cladding, a more aggressive rear bumper with fake skid plates, and special X-Line emblems on the front fenders. The overall effect is quite tough and sporty, which might swing potential buyers who might be considering a small SUV against a slightly bigger and more expensive mid-size contender. The EX looks a little more restrained and cosmetically conventional with a smaller grille and 'ice cube' LED fog lights.

2.1. Styling

The new 2023 Kia Sportage X Line features an impressive mashup of contemporary and rugged styling. Equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, the X-Line gives the Sportage a more athletic look. This, paired with the side-sill garnish and horizontal side mirror LED turn signals, is designed to set the X-line apart. It has been designed with a sporty front grille and front bumper and dual-tip exhaust, whereas the rear bumper and skid plate are ready to take you on an adventure. Outside of the X Line package, this is what really sets the two Sportage models apart. The dual exhaust and a revised badge design on the tailgate add some extra flavor to the SX and above. All X Line Sportage's are also standard with a panoramic sunroof. Both models have LED headlights and taillights, which are essential for the Sportage to have a stylish and sleek modern look. A step in the right direction for the sporty crossover, good looks are important in the category filled with competition.

2.2. Lighting

The X-Line features a more advanced front lighting design with LED headlights that integrate with the Daytime Running Lights (DRL), a signature of the X-Line. The DRL of the X-Line is unique with the use of high power LEDs around the main headlight and signal assembly. Resting below the front headlamps are fog lights which come standard on all X-Line models with a unique design compared to other Sportage models. It’s true of the X-Line sharing a more sophisticated lighting design compared to the regular Sportage models as there are quite a few differences between the X-Line and EX shown at every corner. The EX model in standard form does not include LED projection headlamps and DRL, instead using projector bulbs and a simple patterned Daytime Running Light. While this configuration still allows drivers to receive the same functional benefits of LED lighting such as reduced power consumption and prolonged life of the bulb, it does so with a smaller LED position lamp and without DRL integration. Not having the same technology as the X-Line, projector bulbs are also used for the position and signal lamps when EX owners need to use the vehicle lighting functions. At the lower section of the front bumper, the fog light on the EX model is a reflector type positioned in the space that would be vacant on X-Line models where certain markets use the same front bumper design for parking sensors. Up to this point, lighting designs of the X-Line and EX are carry over with the basic Sportage LX and Sportage EX counterparts before the 2022MY. [1][2][3][4]

3. Interior Features

The Adaptive Remote Start feature allows users to start the vehicle's engine from a certain distance. This will come in handy for starting the vehicle while trying to get the cabin to a comfortable climate before the user gets in.

1490 litres of cargo space is acceptable for a compact SUV. The second-row seating is a 40:20:40 split-folding seating, which allows the user to fold any combination of the second-row seating for carrying cargo while still maintaining passenger seating. A smart power lift-gate provides users with the option to automatically close the lift-gate within the adjustable range of 100 – 15cm. The option to do automatic closing will save time for users when their hands are full.

2023 Kia Sportage X Line comes with a well-designed and comfortable interior with its two-toned seating surfaces. The heated steering wheel exudes a comfortable warm feeling and it also has the capability to heat the lower front and bottom portion. The steering wheel syncs to the front seat, which means it will heat up the area of a person sitting on the seat, helping to reduce power consumption and save energy. Moreover, the 2023 Kia Sportage X Line comes with a cooling ventilated front seat. This helps prevent heat retention, keeping the seat surface cool and comfortable.

3.1. Comfort and Convenience

The new 2023 Kia Sportage lineup offers an ideal mixture of sportiness and utility, although it's the comfort and convenience features that draw into the top Kia Sportage X Line and EX models. Key comfort features include dual-zone climate control with rear vents, a smart key with push-button start, and a heated steering wheel. Heated and ventilated front seats are standard on the Kia Sportage X Line, and Kia Sportage EX models get heated front seats. Kia's new generation UVO infotainment that has acquired a minimalistic style and increased functionality is standard on each. This going on a 10.25-inch touchscreen around the X Line or a 12.3-inch unit within the EX that corresponds to a frameless monitor. Both systems have Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone integration by wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay. A Wi-Fi hotspot and a top-quality Bose audio system can only be found on the top Kia Sportage EX Tech model. The convenience features that are mainly attributed to driver assistance technologies will be detailed in section 3.2. Tech. Still, every Kia Sportage X Line and EX model get an electronic parking brake, rear auto-leveling suspension, and Kia's drive mode select that features terrain modes for Snow, Mud, and Sand. In the end, the Kia Sportage X Line and EX might not boast the most radical changes to the mechanicals and powertrain, but the substantive increase in comfort and convenience features go a long way in separating these models from their competitors.

3.2. Technology

The 2023 Kia Sportage X-Line and the 2023 Kia Sportage EX both inject cutting-edge technology into your drive, but there are a few differences. At the outset, both of these vehicles come furnished with Kia's updated suite of technology and intelligent driver assistance systems. These features include, but are not limited to: a 12.3-inch full digital meter cluster, a Bose premium sound system, and a 360-degree camera monitor. The types of technology that make the X-Line unique are its all-new generation 3 electrified e-AWD system and advanced driver assistance systems, the X-Line SAE Level 2, which will also come to the EX at a later time. The EX, on the other hand, will have its own specified driver assistance systems and some of those anticipated features include intelligent speed limit assist and an improved navigation-based smart cruise control-curve. The X-Line will feature Kia's all-new generation 3 e-AWD system with Snow Mode, an exclusive mode designed to help drivers seeking confident traction on roads with light snow. The vehicle is equipped with a 1.6L turbocharged engine and a 44.2kW electric motor combined in a power split device to give the vehicle smooth power and torque to all 4 wheels. The torque and power to the rear wheels are generated by a single-speed transmission and a power density module which are both installed into the rear architecture. The e-AWD system is controlled by an independent drive mode selection system in the vehicle with modes specific for FWD, AWD, and Snow Mode.

3.3. Cargo Space

Both the X Line and EX models also come with a spare tire located mounted on the rear under the vehicle. Not a big deal to some, but a full-sized spare would be available depending on what previous models Kia had available. This was a big complaint for some who had purchased a Sportage in the past. The difference between a donut and a full-sized spare can go a long way, especially if you do a lot of driving away from home or long distances in general. The cargo space available in the Sportage is decent compared to other compact SUVs and would make it a very good choice for trips to the team sports games as a coach or as a weekend event helper who takes up plenty of tools and supplies.

The Sportage X and EX models are similar to their respective LX versions in terms of cargo capacity. The X Line offers 60/40 flat folding rear seats, whereas the EX has a 60/40 split level reclining that goes almost to a fully flat position. This would be the only advantage that the EX has over the X Line in terms of cargo space. Both models offer a cargo mat and luggage cover. An optional cargo net would be available on the X Line. Accessing your cargo is easier on the EX due to the 60/40 split level reclining. Step-in height and liftover is about equal on the rear lift gates. Keep in mind that the cargo capacity in the Sportage, as well as any other vehicle, would be decreased if you were to opt for an AWD model due to the higher load floor.

4. Performance and Engine Options

The fuel consumption (MPG) for the X Line is 22/29 (City/Highway), which is incrementally better than the EX model. This is due, to some degree, to the difference in weight between both models. The X Line is heavier due to the implemented 4WD system. Additionally, the custom X Line transmission is able to use its internal intelligence to adjust automatic shifting patterns and utilize engine output to match that of most general driving patterns. [5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Fuel Efficiency

Both the Sportage X Line and EX models have a 2.4L inline 4 engine. However, the X Line has a hybrid engine which incorporates an electric motor, providing an output of 261HP, while the regular petrol 2.4L engine in the EX model outputs an additional 10HP comparatively. Furthermore, Kia has implemented a custom-built 6-speed automatic Shiftronic transmission in the X Line model, compared to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission in the EX model.

Engine Power

4.1. Engine Power

A very well-implemented electronic power steering system has always been a driving dynamic in the Sportage. This is improved again with a new Rack-Mounted Motor Driven Power Steering (R-MDPS). This new variable output design system offers improved efficiency over the traditional engine-driven power steering systems, improved feel, dynamics, and fuel economy. This, combined with the Sportage's Amplitude Selective Damper for better ride quality, equates to a fairly dynamic offering for a medium SUV. The improvement of ride and handling of Kia Sportage cars over the last 10 years has been very pronounced.

All-Wheel Drive Lock Mode

Both the X line and EX models of Kia Sportage offer the same drivetrain of an On-Demand All-Wheel Drive system offering 4WD lock mode. This system has award-winning performance in the existing Sportage and will provide peace of mind and confidence for when the driver ventures off-road or is in adverse road conditions. This is a feature that really sets the Sportage apart from competitors in the AWD system and will be invaluable for customers who live in rural areas or go on weekend outdoor adventures.

Both models of Kia Sportage 2023 are fitted with an identical turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine offering 130 kW of power and 265 Nm of torque. This powertrain is built to deliver better economy and drivability compared to the previous V6 configuration. The new powertrain has adequate power to move the Sportage around comfortably at its price point, and if one demands more power, work is currently underway with a new hybrid model which will offer added electric power. This configuration is less powerful than some competitors in the medium SUV segment, some being up to 2 seconds quicker to 100 km/h out of the same capacity engine. However, the revised engine will be much more economical and, in the real world, offer similar acceleration to the previous model V6. This engine will be ample for the everyday driver and will be fine for occasional towing of trailers and caravans up to 1600 kg. Learn more: Kia advancements in safety

4.2. Fuel Efficiency

Thus said, the X Line and EX models both use 2.4 GDI engine. Due to the AWD system in X Line and heavier car weight compared to the EX model, it will result in higher fuel consumption on X Line. However, both models feature a 2WD where fuel efficiency ratings can actually go up to 3.3 – 4.2L/100km regarding to the urban and combined driving videos. This is because the 2WD features an extended idle stop and go (ISG) system with larger-displacement engine where during the stop phase the car will switch off the engine and only the vehicle electrical system will be provided to save fuel. Only when the brake is lifted off then the engine will reactivate. This system will save a lot of fuel during town driving. But it is not feasible for an SUV to drive a 2WD on rough roads all the time so most drivers will prefer the fuel efficiency and engine power from the resulting between 2WD and AWD.

The fuel efficiency for both the X Line and EX models are as follows. X Line is operating on FWD will have 8.2L/100km in urban, 6.7L/100km in extra and combined of 7.3L/100km for its fuel usage. While for AWD will have slightly increased to 8.5L/100km in urban, 6.9L/100km in extra and combined of 7.5L/100km. For the EX Line which is available only in FWD, it will have 8.1L/100km in urban, 6.6L/100km in extra and combined of 7.2L/100km. Based on the fuel efficiency, the EX model is more efficient than X line model. During the test drive the X Line shows 9.5L/100km and for the EX line is 8.9L/100km.


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