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A blue 2021 Chevy Equinox is parked outside of a modern home in the forest.

Experts Agree: the 2021 Chevy Equinox Bests the 2021 Kia Sorento

If you and your family are planning to purchase a crossover SUV, perhaps you’ll want to compare the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Kia Sorento. Neither of these popular models is all-new or even heavily updated for the 2021 model year, but they both received a few important updates to help them maintain their positions in the market. But while these two vehicles remain popular, we give the edge to the Equinox thanks to its lower price and variety of features. But let’s take a closer look.

Friendly Interiors

Both the Equinox and Sorento offer a roomy, comfortable cabin. The Equinox will ferry five passengers, while the Sorento will hold seven – though the third row in Kia’s model is a little cramped, to say the least. Chevy designers built the 2021 Equinox with plenty of luxuries as well as nice durable materials that will especially appeal to families with young children. Its spacious interior will provide a comfortable ride to both front and rear-seat passengers, offering them well-supported front seats and a large center console storage bin for smartphones, coins, and other extras.

The rear seat area is particularly impressive, with lots of legroom and headroom. If the family is using the Equinox for a vacation, there’s plenty of room for carry-on suitcases and other gear. If you choose to purchase the LT trim, you’ll gain an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, tinted rear windows, SiriusXM satellite radio, extra chrome trim, and body-colored exterior mirror housings.

While the 2021 Kia Sorento is praised for its luxurious interior, it is not as spacious or as comfortable as the Equinox. All of the Sorento’s trims offer a beautiful interior, especially the top-of-the-line SX-Prestige trim. It is decorated with wood trim, quilted leather, and low-gloss surfaces.

However, one of its main drawbacks is ride comfort. Passengers in the Sorento will encounter a moderately stiff and bumpy ride, especially those in the third-row seats. Your ride will be even more uncomfortable and noticeable if you choose a Sorento with 20-inch wheels. If you’re planning on using the Sorento for your family and additional passengers, you might want to take a second look because its design does not allow it to be fully functional for that use. Additionally, the 2021 Kia Sorento is not as spacious as the Equinox. It does not offer as much cargo space behind the rear row, and it is difficult to see out the tiny side windows.

A green 2021 Kia Sorento is off-roading in the forest.

Engine Options

Chevrolet has given the 2021 Equinox a standard turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine along with front-wheel drive. As an option, buyers can add all-wheel drive on all trims except the base model. This engine is both efficient and powerful, getting 28 MPG combined and generating an impressive 203 lb-ft of torque.

The Sorento has two engine options, neither of which can match the Equinox for efficiency. The base engine is a 2.5L that gets 26 MPG combined and produces only 181 lb-ft of torque. The optional 2.5L Turbo is considerably more powerful but comes with an even lower fuel economy of just 25 MPG combined. The optional engine is also equipped with a dual-clutch transmission that lacks a smooth, refined drive. Owners will find that the vehicle will shudder when driving at slower speeds and make unusual vibrations and clunky shifts.

Modern Technology

The 2021 Chevy Equinox has been named one of the best-connected crossover SUVs due to its standard onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. Drivers will also appreciate the ease of use and quick responses on the Chevrolet infotainment interface on top of the vehicle’s dash. The Equinox can be equipped with either a 7-inch touchscreen or a larger 8-inch touchscreen. Other standard features are Bluetooth for phone calls and audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an auxiliary input jack, and USB connectivity.

In this particular comparison, the 2021 Sorento does fairly well when compared to the more superior 2021 Equinox. The 2021 Sorento is equipped with Kia’s UVO suite of infotainment features, which provides many of the same technology options as Chevy’s infotainment. The Sorento also has an 8-inch touchscreen standard, which is one of the few places where the Equinox does not have better standard equipment.

Rugged Exterior

Chevy engineers have designed the exterior of the 2021 Chevy Equinox with sculpted contours and eye-catching accents. No matter where you travel, your Equinox will provide a distinctive look to whoever you pass by.

Chevy gives its 2021 Equinox owners eight different exterior color choices ranging between shades of blue, red, and white. They are:

  • Midnight Blue Metallic
  • Pacific Blue Metallic
  • Iridescent Pearl Tricoat
  • Nightfall Gray Metallic
  • Silver Ice Metallic
  • Summit White
  • Mosaic Black Metallic
  • Cajun Red Tintcoat

The Equinox can be further customized with the Midnight Edition and Sport Edition packages. Selecting one of these options upgrades the vehicle with blacked-out badging, unique trim, and more for a head-turning SUV.

Kia engineers chose to modernize the 2020 Kia Sorento, and the 2021 continues with the same looks. Its front fascia was given a sharper bumper with fog lights, and it also is equipped with daytime running LED headlights. For an additional cost, signature LED forward lighting can be added.

The base LX trim on the 2021 Sorento is equipped with 17-inch wheels, while the next trims up – the S and EX – are equipped with 18-inch wheels. The most expensive SX and SX-Prestige models are equipped with 20-inch wheels. Kia Sorento drivers have nine different exterior shades to choose from:

  • Ebony Black
  • Sapphire Blue
  • Passion Red
  • Sparkling Silver
  • Everlasting Silver
  • Glacial White Pearl
  • Crystal Beige
  • Gravity Gray
  • Aruba Green

But despite offering an extra color, the Sorento lacks any large appearance packages. This gives the Equinox a slight edge when it comes to customizing your SUV.

A silver 2021 Chevy Equinox is driving through the city after winning a 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Kia Sorento comparison.

Attention to Safety

If you will be using your 2021 Chevy Equinox to drive your family around town or on vacation, you probably place a high premium on its safety ratings. For your younger passengers who require child car seats, you’ll find two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the Equinox’s rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system good ratings for its ease of use.

The Equinox was also awarded a five-star overall safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Its driver assistance features include standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, standard lane-keeping assist so that you don’t accidentally drift into another lane, adaptive cruise control, and high beam headlamps.

The 2021 Kia Sorento is available with the Kia Drive Wise package, which includes Forward Collision Avoidance, Rear-Cross Traffic Collision Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Kia’s Driver Attention Alert, and Lane Departure Warning. A unique feature is the Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), which is standard on this model. It will recognize up to 12 road signs and let you know if you need to speed up or slow down.

Choosing Your Family SUV

Now that you’ve had a chance to take a deep dive into comparing the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs the 2021 Kia Sorento, we’re sure that you’ll agree that the Equinox is a better vehicle. While the Sorento might be a bit larger, its cramped third row of seats is of marginal utility. Meanwhile, the Equinox offers comparable features and greater efficiency at a noticeably lower cost.