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The base Kia Sportage LX ticks all the boxes for SUV buyers on a budget. With its 2023 redesign, the compact SUV brings new interior comfort levels, balanced handling, and high-tech amenities. And while those may sound like premium features—and they are—the base model Kia Sportage starts at $26,290. That’s a deal.

Let’s go over what makes the Sportage LX an excellent buy and the areas where it comes up short.

2023 Kia Sportage LX features and specs

The front grille of a white 2023 Kia Sportage
2023 Kia Sportage | Kia

From the outside, the base model Kia Sportage looks like an SUV costing thousands more. The same applies when considering its road manners, reassuring safety, and well-appointed interior. But despite that, the Sportage carries a value-driven MSRP.

That lets drivers get more while spending less and enjoy the same features of premium competitors. Instead of a fancy nameplate, Kia buyers own a vehicle from a brand on the rise with well-known quality and reliability. What’s not to like?

Here’s what the Sportage offers in base trim:

• 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque

• Eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive

• LED headlights and taillights

• 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

• Remote keyless entry

• Kia Drive Wise driver assist technology

• Rear view camera

That’s just a sampling of the LX’s wide-ranging features. It’s apparent Kia found a way to combine strong value and considerable equipment in this entry-level SUV.

But while the base Kia Sportage is a good choice for the money, it falls short in one area: the powertrain.

The base Kia Sportage LX powertrain is average

A strong engine and AWD put the utility in SUV. While the Sportage LX’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder front-wheel drive powertrain gets the job done, it falls behind competitors with more horsepower and all-wheel drive.

As noted by U.S. News, the Sportage LX engine is an underwhelming aspect of an otherwise solid package. While it felt OK around town, the four-cylinder labored on the highway. And it became noisy at high revs.

And for drivers who want the traction and reassurance of AWD, the base Kia Sportage may disappoint with its FWD setup. But for $1,800, buyers can opt for Kia’s capable all-wheel drive system with a center-locking differential.

Still, the FWD 2023 Kia Sportage LX obtains 28 mpg combined, three miles per gallon more than AWD-equipped models.

How the LX trim compares to higher trims


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While the base 2023 Kia Sportage offers extensive features at a reasonable price, Kia offers a range of trims for varying tastes and budgets. Those models include EX, X-Line AWD, SX, SX Prestige, X-Pro, and X-Pro Prestige.

Let’s take a look at each trim.

$28,290 Kia Sportage EX:

• Dual-zone automatic climate control

• 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen

• Wireless phone charger

• 10-way power driver’s seat

$31,090 Kia Sportage X-Line AWD:

• All-wheel drive with center-locking differential

• X-line body styling

• Gloss-black 19-inch alloy wheels

• Gloss black high-utility roof rails

$31,790 Kia Sportage SX:

• Panoramic sunroof with power sunshade

• Harmon Kardon premium surround sound

• Driver’s seat memory system

• LED interior lighting

$33,790 Kia Sportage SX Prestige:

• Premium SynTex seating trim

• Eight-way power front passenger seat

• Ventilated front seats

• Heated steering wheel

$35,290 Kia Sportage X-Pro:

• All-wheel drive with center-locking differential

• Multi-terrain drive modes

• 17-inch alloy wheels with BF Goodrich all-terrain tires

• X-line SynTex seating trim with heated front seats

$37,090 Kia Sportage X-Pro Prestige:

• All-wheel drive with center-locking differential

• Multi-terrain drive modes

• 17-inch alloy wheels with BF Goodrich all-terrain tires

• Ventilated front seats

Kia makes a Sportage trim to suit everyone. Whether it’s drivers who live in warmer climates and don’t need AWD or those with a thirst for adventure who want off-road capability, there’s a model to fit their needs. And no matter the options, the Sportage is a solid, reliable platform. It’s a great all-around SUV.