The Kia Sportage matches distinctive exterior styling with ample power under the hood to create an SUV that truly stands out from the crowd. It also boasts a generous amount of interior comforts and advanced technology, making it one of the best-equipped compact crossovers in its price bracket.
For the 2023 model year, the Sportage is available across six trim levels, and here's our guide to choosing the one that's right for you.
2023 Kia Sportage LX FWD
The 2023 Kia Sportage lineup starts with the high-value, low-cost LX FWD model. As the name suggests, this trim is powered by front-wheel drive, unlike the rest of the 2023 lineup which is purely all-wheel drive. The powertrain is based around a 2.5L four-cylinder engine making an enticing 187 horsepower and 178lb-ft of torque, passing through a silky eight-speed automatic transmission before reaching the 17" alloy wheels.
The overall result is a punchy drive that responds quickly and easily to driver inputs while delivering a frugal fuel economy of 9.3L / 100km in the city and 7.4L / 100km on the highway.
As far as interior technology is concerned, the 2023 Sportage upholds the Kia tradition of providing a generous amount of features at a strikingly low sticker price. An 8" infotainment touchscreen display is standard at the LX FWD level, backed up by a 4.2" LCD / TFT driver display. Hands-free cellphone operation is provided by Bluetooth connectivity, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto offering deeper levels of integration with compatible smartphones. The standard sound system features six speakers, with audio sources including AM/FM radio, MP3, and an extra media input port, along with steering-wheel mounted audio controls.
And lastly, the LX FWD model also includes an impressive amount of active safety and driver assist technologies as standard. Highlights include:
- Forward collision avoidance assist.
- Lane keep and lane follow assists.
- Rear occupant alert.
- Rearview camera.
The next trim level is the Sportage LX, which includes all the features of the LX FWD but replaces the front-wheel drive with an intelligent all-wheel system. As usual, the switch to all-wheel drive means the fuel economy takes a slight hit, but figures of 10.4L / 100km in the city and 8.5L / 100km on the highway are still more than respectable considering the high engine output and zippy performance.
The X-Line trim adds several cosmetic and exterior changes to take the vehicle closer to the Sportage's original off-road roots. The wheels are upgraded to 19" alloy models with Michelin tires, and ladder-type rails are fixed to the roof.
Quilted synthetic leather seats are added to the interior to take comfort up a notch, and the shift knob and heated steering wheel are also wrapped in leather. A smart key with push-button start is now standard, and the interior technology is upgraded to provide a wireless device charging pad.
The X-Line trim also ups the ante on safety technology, adding blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and rear parking sensors to the already generous mix.
While lower Sportage trims offer a rewarding interior experience, it's with the EX trim that things start to go genuinely upscale. Dual-zone automatic climate control ensures comfort for all passengers, while front and rear USB ports increase the charging options. The infotainment touchscreen is upgraded to a huge 12.3", and now includes in-built navigation as standard. HD and satellite radio provide new audio sources, and Kia Connect is added to provide a range of remote services including stolen vehicle recovery, smart home integration, and more.
The EX trim also expands the safety system functionality, with the forward collision assist now including a junction turning facility for safety in a wider range of driving scenarios.
Sportage EX Premium
The main changes in the EX Premium trim are front parking sensors alongside the rear ones to protect bumpers at both ends of the car, plus air-cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a powered liftgate at the rear.
Sportage X-Line Limited
The X-Line Limited trim greatly enhances the tech in the cabin, replacing the 4.2" digital instrument cluster with a mammoth 12.3" version, adding up to nearly 25" of seamlessly integrated digital display on the dash. The audio system also gets an upgrade, with a premium Harman Kardon setup providing audiophile quality throughout the cabin.
And as the top-level trim, the X-Line Limited adds four new features to the safety package, with automatic emergency reverse braking for safer parking, a blind spot camera with images piped directly to the dash, adaptive cruise control, and an around-view monitor for full 360-degree visibility.
So which trim is right for you? The 2023 Sportage lineup offers models from the economy-focused LX FWD right up to the luxurious X-Line Limited, with steps in between to suit every budget and need. But no matter which trim you choose, you're guaranteed to get a lot of SUV for very little money if you buy a 2023 Kia Sportage.
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