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While the Kia Sportage may not be among America’s most popular compact crossover SUVs, it is certainly a good one. It offers buyers a unique exterior look in a segment infamous for rather homogenous styling, as well as solid interior quality, good comfort and features, and some powerful engine options.
Adding to the car’s appeal are good driving dynamics and nice technological upgrades. Fully redesigned for last year, the new 2018 Kia Sportage builds on that refresh by adding several new optional and standard features to the three trim levels that the car is available in.
Like most Kia models, the Sportage follows a slightly different trim setup than other cars do, but it is not far off from the conventional trims that most drivers will be used to. It comes in three main varieties, two of which can then be further customized through a selection of optional packages that can significantly increase both the equipment offered and the price point.
Compare the 2018 Sportage LX vs EX Trims. What is the difference?
Decently equipped and reasonably priced, the LX model of the Kia Sportage serves as the base entry version for the model. Its standard equipment is pretty good for the class, and it comes with a decent number of optional extras as well. The traditional basics are all covered, with 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, power locks and windows, keyless entry, and power-adjustable side mirrors.
The base Sportage also includes the modern baseline requirements such as a rearview camera, automatic headlights, and an infotainment system with a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and USB. A few other nice features are also standard, such as LED running lights, rear seat recline, and leatherette armrests.
Two optional packages are available to further upgrade the equipment on the LX. The first is the LX Popular Package, which adds a number of premium convenience and connectivity features. It upgrades the infotainment system to a 7-inch touchscreen and adds support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The package also adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, roof rails, and a windshield de-icer.
The second package is the LX Technology Package, and it requires the Popular Package. The technology package covers the advanced safety equipment available on the Sportage, adding autonomous emergency braking, a lane departure warning, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, and power-folding side mirrors. Beyond those options, the LX Sportage can also be equipped with all-wheel drive as an upgrade to its standard front-wheel drive.
The EX represents a pretty big jump up from the LX. Where the LX is mostly an entry-level model with some mid-range options, the EX jumps straight up to the premium level of equipment. It comes equipped with standard leather seating, heated seats, a powered seat for the driver, dual-zone climate control, and the upgraded 7-inch infotainment system with smartphone integration. It also gets 18-inch wheels and blind spot monitors with rear cross traffic alert standard, as well as an extra USB port.
There are three available options packages for the EX. The Sport Appearance Package adds chrome elements to the car’s exterior, chrome wheels, LED fog lights and rear combination lights, and a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters. It is only available in select colors and can’t be combined with the other two optional packages.
The second available package is the EX Premium Package. It adds a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting, a heated steering wheel, and an auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink. Finally, the EX Technology Package requires the Premium Package and builds on the safety features added in the similar LX package.
The EX Technology Package includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, high beam assist, front and rear parking sensors and a spare tire. Beyond the safety equipment, it also adds an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, Harman/Kardon audio, a power passenger seat, a hands-free liftgate, and front seat ventilation. All-wheel drive is also available on this model as an option.
Both the LX and the EX trim levels offer excellent customization through their packages, and together cover the same range of features that most manufacturers spread across their entire lineup. The equipment on the base LX is fairly good for the price, and the two optional packages are definitely worth the money, considering how much each one adds.
The EX is also a great deal, as it adds leather upholstery and other luxury features at a lower price point than most other vehicles in the class. A fully-equipped EX will run somewhere in the $32,000 range, but is easily competitive with most vehicles in that price range when it comes to equipment.
For drivers who are happy with the cloth interior of the LX, the LX model with the two optional packages will probably make for the best value, as it covers the full range of desirable features that most drivers would like on their compact SUVs.Those who are after leather and other high-end amenities available on the EX will likely find their best value with either the base EX model or the fully-equipped one. The Premium Package alone is fairly limited in features for the price, and the Sport Appearance Package offers little considering its restrictions.
Compare the 2018 Kia Sportage EX vs SX Turbo Trim Levels. What is the difference?
While the regular Kia Sportage handles fairly well, it does have a fairly average base 2.4-liter engine. The SX Turbo trim level replaces it with a turbocharged 2.0-liter that improves the horsepower from 181 to 240.
As the highest trim level of the Sportage lineup, the SX Turbo also looks quite good. It has satin chrome accents all around the exterior, as well as 19-inch alloy wheels and bi-xenon headlights that are linked to the steering wheel for extra visibility on winding roads.
The SX Turbo comes loaded up with all of the available and optional features from the EX, as well as an electronic parking brake system. It is the only model that does not offer any optional packages, since it already comes with all the features available on the Sportage. Like the rest of the models, it does come in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive flavors.
For drivers who have already decided to get the fully-equipped Sportage EX, the upgrade to the SX is a great value. The turbocharged engine is significantly faster, remedying the one major complaint driver’s have had about the Spotage’s road manners.
Which Trim Level to Choose?
The rather compact trim level selection of the 2018 Kia Sportage conceals just how customizable this car is, with both of the first two trim levels offering several different varieties through their available options packages. Similarly, each of the models is attractive, though some have caught our attention more than others with the value that they offer.
The base LX model is fairly good for the money, but does not distinguish itself too much from the pack. That changes with adding the Popular Package, which significantly adds to its comfort and entertainment features for a small cost.
The EX trim level delivers amenities well below its price point to start, and can also be further improved though upgrades. The SX Turbo is the only model that lacks customization, limiting it to buyers who are already planning on getting a fully-equipped Sportage.
But those that do are treated to a nice upgrade that improves the car’s styling and road feel significantly at a solid discount as well.
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