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Kia Sportage Ex vs. LX 2023

1. Specifications

Step functions are also available in some regions for the Sportage to add to the vehicle's off-road capabilities. These step functions automatically control the speed of the vehicle downhill or uphill with the brake and acceleration without the need for driver input. With the combination of power, torque, and AWD handling, the EX Sportage provides excellent performance on all types of road conditions. Step functions and the AWD system would make the vehicle a more powerful and cheaper alternative to smaller SUVs to fulfill the same off-road purposes. [1][2][3][4]

The EX Kia Sportage features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4 engine with dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) that is capable of 240 hp at 6000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 1850-3500 rpm. This engine is quite powerful for a compact crossover SUV and puts the EX Sportage as one of the most powerful vehicles in its class. This is more powerful than the V6 that is available for the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. The Sportage's more powerful engine also comes with a standard AWD system that is not available for the LX model. This AWD system provides excellent handling in addition to the increased torque and horsepower. The V6 option on the Santa Fe comes with an AWD system, though the worse fuel efficiency and nearly equal power/torque numbers make the EX Sportage still a more powerful option for a more similar price.

Kia Sportage models have superior and efficient engine options compared to other competitor SUV models. In terms of performance, Kia Sportage models are one of the top choices among people. The four-cylinder engine options are available in both of the Kia Sportage models, and most people would be more than satisfied with the basic inline-6, 2.4-liter engine of the LX or the more powerful 2.0-liter option of the EX. Both engines are considerably more powerful than the four-cylinder 2.5-liter engine found in the Ford Escape, though the Ford Escape offers a more powerful V6 engine with significantly better torque.

1.1. Engine Performance

The new Kia Sportage 2023 is given with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in the Ex and SX, whereas a 2.0-liter version within the LX. The 2.4-liter engine creates almost 175 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque. Regardless that there are no considerable differences in acceleration between the 2 engines, the 2.4-liter has further passing power and performs more effortlessly on hills than the 2.0-liter. An automatic transmission is optional with the LX 2.0-liter engine, however the ULV and the 2.4-liter engine includes it as standard. The automatic is a superb performing transmission, and it's well suited to the character of the Kia Sportage. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. The engine used throughout the Kia Sportage is perhaps the same one currently used throughout the Tucson, however the Tucson should not be an apples to apples comparison for the Sportage. Because the Tucson has a notable turbocharged model, it is not wise that we're not going to see the new Sportage distinguished by a particular engine. A turbocharged engine might be an added performance option for the Sportage and it might add additional punch to the new model and differentiate it from Tucson.

1.2. Fuel Efficiency

The fuel efficiency of the Kia Sportage EX model is incredibly good, with 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway - no small part of the reason for this being attributed to its 2-wheel drive design that lightens the vehicle's load ever so slightly. Comparatively, the LX model's fuel efficiency is 23 miles per gallon for city driving and 29 miles per gallon on the highway. Though this is only one mile's difference in both city and highway driving, the added fuel efficiency gives the Kia Sportage LX a leg up on the EX model. Using a national average cost of $3.15 per gallon, we can determine the annual fuel costs of both the Kia Sportage EX and LX model to be $1985 for the EX model and a lighter $1796 for the LX model - a savings of around $189 per year. While in the small scale the difference in fuel efficiency is not very large, over years of driving or if multiple vehicles are owned this price difference can become very significant, and the amount saved in fuel must be considered as a part of the vehicle's overall value.

1.3. Interior Features

Another benefit of the EX to the consumer is the more usable cargo area. The EX package allows the customers to get a hard or soft top with no extra cost, while the LX model charges an extra $850 for the hard top option. With the luxury edition LX featuring the soft top, it just does not compare with the hard top and it is beneficial for one to have the better top at no extra cost. The cargo area has a retractable cover available. This does cost extra, but is a very good way to keep any valuables in the back of the vehicle out of sight. The cargo area itself is less than the previous generation Sportage, however, it is a very usable space to fit groceries, luggage, sporting equipment or whatever you need to haul around. The rear seats also recline and slide forward and backwards for extra legroom, but this isn't only available on the LX or EX, it is available on all trim levels. The rear reclining seats do make for a more comfortable ride for rear passengers.

The EX's leather seats are very comfortable and aftermarket heaters can be installed into them. The EX also has a more attractive dash and center console area, with faux wood grain trim and very easy to read gauges. The faux wood grain trim adds a touch of elegance to the EX model, setting it apart from other small SUVs. The standard LX gauge package just does not compare to the easy-to-read and more attractive EX cluster. Pricing a small amount of extra money for tiles is not a bad idea, the $1800 difference between the LX and EX seems justifiable. Especially noting the EX's safety feature package is much more inclusive. Step up to the EX four-wheel drive and you'll also get traction control and a tire pressure monitor, this is not available on the LX no matter the package.

The EX model of the Sportage and the LX model are vastly different on the interior. The Sportage EX is a significantly more luxurious vehicle than the basic model LX. The EX, boasting the leather package and the hard top, has greatly improved it versus the LX's model, with cloth seats and soft top.

2. Exterior Design

With its modern and robust design, the 2023 Sportage's exterior is characterized by its confident stance, sweeping windshield, high positioned front grille, bold full LED headlamps, distinctive 'boomerang' shaped LED Daytime Running Lights and an impeccably detailed rear spoiler. The EX boasts 18" machine finish alloy wheels outfitted with 235/55R18 tires and a temporary spare tire with the full size. The LX differs in its wheel design with 17" alloy wheels fitted with 225/65R17 tires and identical temporary spare tires. The new Sportage is the first Kia vehicle to offer an available state-of-the-art HID headlamp with high beam assist. The SX turbo model comes standard with the HID lighting. Both trims offer LED rear lamps to match the bold front lighting. The EX includes stylish LED turn signal indicators while the LX integrates the turn signal with the standard side mirror. [5][6][7]

2.1. Body Style

Going to the 2023 Sportage being offered in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, it shows that Kia is environmentally conscious. The body style has more aerodynamic touches to distinguish it from the regular 2023 versions. The hybrid got its own unique and bold diamond-pattern grille with a crossbeam and front and rear bumper fascia, while the plug-in hybrid features a closed grille and arrow pattern design.

The 2023 body style has enhanced its looks when compared to the 2022 model due to its daring design and new sheet metal. The vehicle gives an impression that it is very robust, strong, and durable. This is due to the materials used when constructing the vehicle, advanced high-strength steel, which is both lighter and stronger than conventional steel. The 2023 vehicle has an overall strength improved by 30%, and the body style has been designed to maximize both passive and active safety. Another new advanced characteristic of the 2023 Kia Sportage is that it has more customizable colors and two-tone roof options. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd, then this is the vehicle to purchase.

The look, the feel, the essence of a vehicle always comes from its body style. The all-new redesigned 2023 Kia Sportage comes with a sharpened and more appealing body style than the 2022 model. The body style has enhanced aerodynamics, giving a more fuel-efficient and faster performance. The 2023 model has also got a wider body, a longer body, and a reduced height, thus we have a more stable vehicle than the previous model. The increased dimensions have led to increased interior space and better legroom. Kia has managed to maintain the vehicle in the same insurance group and keep the respective. Although the vehicle has undergone changes, the ground clearance remains the same, hence the 2023 Kia Sportage is more of an evolution than a revolution.

2.2. Wheel Options

Every feature in this 2023 Kia Sportage comparison is designed to make the driving experience better and more enjoyable. After spending hours behind the wheel of this new model, it became obvious that the spacious and comfortable seats are one of the highlights of the 2023 Kia Sportage. This is especially true in the front row where we tested a power adjustable driver's seat with heat, ventilation, and 4-way driver lumbar support. This feature is available in various Kia Sportage packages for different trims. Stepping up to the SX Turbo trim adds a power driver's seat with memory and a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support. Moving around the front of the vehicle, there is an excellent command center and easy-to-reach controls. In terms of practicality, the Kia Sportage includes a center console, large glove box, and a sliding armrest storage compartment with tray. Each model contains the storage options found on lower models. It seems like the idea of a refreshment center was in mind when designing the console because the addition of a center cooler is nicely incorporated between the front seats. Although this cooler is excluded from the LX model package. A cooler might be unusual for a mid-sized crossover, but reflects a cool playfulness that is demonstrated in the new design of the 2023 Kia Sportage. These storage and seating features can only be improved upon by an increase in interior cargo space, and Kia has done just that by increasing the length and width of the interior.

2.3. Lighting Features

Often times visibility is a main consideration to where there are a number of factors for different drivers and different conditions. Some want as much light as possible, while sparing no expense, while others may be more frugal. The LX has an option of a Value Package that includes a rear spoiler, light and mirror pockets, LED Daytime Running lights. The package is available but not standard for the EX model. LED daytime running lights have been a recent development in the automotive industry. These are a set of lights that turn on whenever the vehicle is in motion and the driver has not engaged the headlights. The purpose is to increase the vehicle's visibility to other drivers and decrease accidents during daylight hours. The EX model has a Panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade. The large opening is very similar to the front seat with the sunroof, while the rear seat has the fixed glass portion of the sunroof. Stepless control slider is easy for all to use so adjustment of sunshade can allow just enough light during the day and full shade at night.

One of the most significant elements of a vehicle's external design is the lighting features. The Kia Sportage EX comes standard with auto headlight control, front fog lights, and lighted door pocket. These features are designed to help the driver see and be seen by others. The lighted door pocket can be very convenient when trying to unlock a vehicle in the dark. It could also be a potential security asset. The Kia Sportage LX does not include these features.

3. Safety and Technology

The 2023 Sportage LX model comes with an array of safety technology. By Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) is utilized to help prevent a collision or, if that is not possible, reduce the impact. FCA provides a visual warning when a pedestrian, a cyclist, or another vehicle is detected in front of the vehicle. When there is a clear danger of a collision, FCA will apply the brakes to reduce the likelihood of a collision. LX AWD with Premium Package, Nightfall Edition, and EX S come equipped with Highway Driving Assist (HDA). Using the navigation information and front view camera, HDA provides assistance with steering, acceleration, and deceleration of the vehicle in certain circumstances when driving on a highway, both enhancing driving safety and assisting in reducing driver fatigue. Kia's Lane Following is also available on the LX but standard on the S, EX, and SX Turbo models. This system is designed to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane. It uses the Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) system if the system detects the vehicle getting too close to the lane marker, LKA helps the vehicle avoid lane departure without the driver's intention. High Beam Assist is also standard on Lane Following and is designed to detect the oncoming or preceding vehicles' tail lights and automatically switch between high beam and low beam. By using High Beam Assist (HBA), this maximizes the driver's range of vision and enhances driving safety. HBA can be turned on and off manually if the driver chooses to do so.

3.1. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

With the rise of technology today, Kia is doing a great job at producing safer and more convenient vehicles for their consumers, and making a safer environment for everyone on the road today.

The optional features are things that a consumer may or may not want to purchase for their vehicle. These features will add additional cost to the vehicle as well as more convenience for the driver. The not available features are there to tell the consumer that it is not possible to add these features to their vehicle.

The standard group features are the ones that all consumers will have in their Sportage. The EX model is the only model that offers lane departure warning, to the left or right lane. It will correct the lane line and give a visual warning as well. This feature is highly recommended for drivers. All of the other features are standard for both the EX and LX models.

The advanced driving assistance systems in the 2023 Kia Sportage EX and LX models are more advanced and better than the ones in the 2022 models. Some features include standard forward collision avoidance assist, standard lane follow assist, standard high beam assist, and many more. All of the features added to these new models are helping the drivers drive more safely and be aware of their surroundings. These ADAS systems are categorized into three different groups: standard, optional, and not available.

3.2. Infotainment System

The Kia Sportage 2023 EX model and LX model both have identical infotainment systems. This is a boost for the LX trim, as normally the EX trims of Kia vehicles come with more advanced features. Both models are equipped with an 8-inch touch screen monitor and a 6-speaker audio system. Although they come with only 4 months of SiriusXM Satellite Radio, the vehicle will be equipped with AM/FM radio, an MP3 auxiliary input, and USB input. Smartphone integration is a lot easier with both LX and EX models having Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to mirror your phone on the display monitor. The rear camera is standard for both models and includes a rear camera display. The screen itself supports Bluetooth wireless technology and features a steering wheel control button, allowing you to answer calls and cycle through the monitor without taking your eyes off the road. A simple yet advanced technology that takes the Sportage a long way. All of the trims are cool with additional features and available options on the EX model including built-in navigation and traffic services. UVO link with telematics is another fancy technology that comes with the EX, a feature which can help you spot your car on a map or help it find its own location in a parking lot. There are many more features to list and in a nutshell, this vehicle brings many of the options and technologies available in modern cars without having to stretch out your budget.

3.3. Connectivity Options

Last but not least, the available wireless phone charger now makes it easier to charge your smartphone device. This feature is not included on the LX model, as it uses a normal USB charger that can be accessed in all types of vehicles.

The Kia Sportage 2023 LX model lacks the telematics system compared to the EX model. As mentioned earlier, the most important aspect of the telematics system is to provide safety on the road. This can be seen in the EX model with the availability of UVO 3.0, which is connected to an 8-speaker Harman-Kardon audio system. This feature allows you to connect your smartphone to the car using Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, enabling you to access the car's system with voice commands. It is also connected to the Kia Access with UVO link application, which has many features for vehicle utilities. This UVO system is connected to a Harman-Kardon audio command and the latest Bose premium sound, with sound separated for each seat. Although this still provides the same function, the separated sound in every seat signifies a more satisfying audio experience.

Looking at the current trends in automobiles, the key point in this era is telematics, which is also known as connected features in the car. This telematics is usually built into the car to provide services in the event of an accident, thus increasing your safety before and after the accident. It also brings convenience by giving you access to information about your car through an application on your smartphone, and provides remote access to the vehicle's infotainment system. But the most important feature is the vehicle's ability to call for help in the event of an accident. This feature is not really demanded by the user, but it exists just in case something happens.

3.4. Safety Features

Passive Safety Commonly, passenger safety is thought of in terms of the vehicle's ability to withstand an accident and keep the occupants safe. During a crash, acceleration forces can cause serious injuries to the head and chest. A vehicle's ability to protect its occupants from these injuries depends on having a strong safety cage and effective airbag deployment. The Sportage's strong chassis uses twice as much high-strength steel compared to the previous model. Reinforced A-pillars and the addition of an A to C side curtain have increased the vehicle's protection during a side impact. Dual front airbags that deploy at different rates depending on the severity of the accident help to reduce the chance of an airbag-related injury. Side airbags are designed to provide head and chest protection, and full-length curtain airbags offer head protection for both front and rear occupants.

The safety features of the 2023 Kia Sportage are comprehensive and advanced as it offers both active and passive safety technology. Standard safety features for the Sportage include 3-point seat belts for all five seating positions, front seat belt pretensioners, dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front active headrests, front and rear crumple zones, and anti-lock brakes. Anti-lock brakes are an important active safety feature, which keeps the SUV under control while preventing skidding and reducing stopping distance. Learn More by reading our guide: Explore Sportage trims and features.


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[2] M. Meyer, Y. Bernard, J. German, and T. Dallmann, "REASSESSMENT OF EXCESS NO," 2023. emissionsjustice.com Learn more about Kia Sportage vs Nissan Qashqai in our guide 'Introduction to Kia Model Specific Reviews and Features'

[3] N. I. Statistics, "Northern Ireland Transport Statistics," 2023. qub.ac.uk

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