Typically when it comes to SUV shopping, potential buyers settle on just a couple of choice vehicles. Maybe you narrowed your choices down to the 2021 Chevy Equinox vs 2021 Kia Sportage? These compact SUVs are popular choices, and we can give you the rundown on the pros and cons of the two models. Keep in mind that buying an SUV will depend a lot on what you want out of the vehicle, what sort of technology you expect it to have, as well as additional amenities that might make or break your intention to commit to a purchase.
However, while both of these SUVs are solid choices for nearly any driver, the 2021 Chevy Equinox does come out ahead in several key areas. With better fuel economy, more interior space, and a lower price tag, Chevy has a real winner in its compact SUV. So let’s get right into the meat of the comparison.
What Is The 2021 Chevy Equinox?
The Chevy Equinox is classified as a compact crossover SUV. This means that it doesn’t feature third-row seating like some midsize or full-size SUVs and is instead designed around being agile, easy to drive, light on gas mileage, and laced with a lot of interior convenience features. The 2021 Chevy Equinox seats up to five people and is available in four trims, including the base L trim, the LS, LT, and luxurious Premium. You have eight different exterior color options to choose from, as well as the option of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
What Is The 2021 Kia Sportage?
The Kia Sportage started as a compact SUV, bordering on a midsize vehicle back during the early 1990s. But over time, Kia embraced the more compact nature of the Sportage design and further developed that concept. The newer Kia Sportage is now considered more of a compact crossover SUV and competes directly with the Chevy Equinox. The 2021 model year of this five-door SUV seats up to five people, comes in eight different colors and features four different trims that include the LX, S, EX, and SX Turbo. Each trim adds a little bit of extra to the overall package, giving potential shoppers something to look forward to when it comes to moving up the price bracket of the different Sportage offerings.
From the outside, it’s tough to tell what the real differences would be between the 2021 Kia Sportage and 2021 Chevy Equinox, but the details are more apparent when you break down the interior specifications of both compact SUV variants.
For the 2021 Chevy Equinox, you’re looking at a vehicle that sits on a 107.30-inch wheelbase. It provides plenty of interior space with 40 inches of front headroom and 40 inches of rear legroom. Seating up to five people, you can benefit from 103.5 cubic feet of passenger volume. The Equinox also provides up to 64 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats folded and 30 cubic feet of storage space behind the second row of seats.
The Kia Sportage sits on a slightly shorter wheelbase of 105.1 inches, and so there are slight differences in dimension space compared to the Equinox. This is noticeable inside the Sportage, with only 39 inches of front headroom and 38 inches of rear legroom. The cargo volume also clocks in at a smaller 60 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Basically, the 2021 Equinox will provide you with a more comfortable and versatile interior.
Most people aren’t looking to buy an economical, compact crossover SUV for rubber-burning horsepower and heavy-duty torque. However, many people are interested in the performance-to-price ratios or price-to-performance benefits such as longevity, repairs, and fuel economy.
The Equinox comes standard with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and six-speed automatic transmission that delivers 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque. The front-wheel drive configuration comes with a 14.9-gallon fuel tank, while the all-wheel drive configurations are fitted with a larger 15.6-gallon fuel tank. You get slightly better gas mileage out of front-wheel drive, with fuel economy of up to 26 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway.
The 2021 Kia Sportage is powered by a less powerful standard engine – a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The Sportage has a 16.4-gallon fuel tank, but it needs that extra gas with its lower fuel economy of 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The numbers dip down further for the all-wheel drive configurations.
The Equinox is rated as being fairly reliable by those who own it, with few major problems plaguing the SUV. The Sportage is also said to be quite reliable with very few issues that plague it so long as it’s given regular maintenance. However, from a fuel economy standpoint, you definitely gain a few extra miles-per-gallon with the Equinox over the Sportage.
The 2021 Chevy Equinox has a starting MSRP of $23,800 for the base trim, increasing to $31,400 for the Premier trim. On the other hand, the 2021 Kia Sportage has a starting MSRP of $24,090 for the base trim and goes up to $33,750 for the SX Turbo trim. The costs for both vehicles start adding up with auxiliary features, such as additional safety inclusions.
The Sportage SX Turbo and the Equinox Premier come standard with advanced driver-assist features, such as rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist, and lane change alert with side blind zone alert. Both SUVs also have standard safety features across all trims, such as lane keeping assist, forward collision detection, and automatic braking, as well as multiple airbags and stability and traction control. The Equinox, however, comes with the Teen Driver software suite across all trims as a standard, something missing from the Kia Sportage.
You can also expect all the other standard technological amenities from the Equinox and Sportage too, such as available power-adjustable front seats, available heated and ventilated seats, and more. Tech features include touchscreen support with wireless Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, media streaming, and available premium audio systems. Both SUVs are undeniably well-appointed, but the Equinox comes out ahead in terms of bang for the buck.
Additional Features and Packages
The Equinox steps out further in front of the Sportage with its available packages, where you can access additional convenience or luxury features. For example, the Infotainment 2 Package contains an improved touchscreen and premium audio features. There are also the Driver Confidence Packages, which contain additional functionality like adaptive cruise control or HD Surround Vision. If you wanted a few extras that weren’t inherently available with the 2021 Chevy Equinox Premier trim, those features are available through the optional packages.
Kia does allow you to select some additional base features à la carte, such as cargo nets, USB chargers, and a tow hitch, but these features are not quite as expansive as the Equinox’s packages. Kia does allow you to add package options to certain trims, but they’re also quite limited, and the available packages are restricted to trim-specific add-ons that can be quite costly compared to the more financially diverse buffet offered by the Equinox. For instance, the EX trim for the Sportage only has an EX Technology Package available, and the SX Turbo trim only has access to an interior color package.
More Utility, More Value
Hopefully, this helps put into perspective what you can expect from both vehicles. The 2021 Chevy Equinox and 2021 Kia Sportage are among the best-selling SUVs on the market, and they both offer plenty of features at a good price point. However, Chevy has pulled out all the stops and provides even more features and utility at a lower price tag. While either vehicle will likely serve you well, for 2021, the Equinox is undeniably the better value.