2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2020 Kia Sportage

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Equinox’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Kia Sportage doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Equinox are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Sportage doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Equinox Premier offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Sportage only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Equinox has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Sportage doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Equinox and the Sportage have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Kia Sportage:

Equinox

Sportage

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Equinox’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Sportage’s (6/100,000 vs. 5/100,000).

There are almost 4 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Equinox has a standard 700-amp battery. The Sportage’s 600-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

The Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 12 more horsepower (252 vs. 240) than the Sportage SX Turbo’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the Sportage SX Turbo 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.:

Equinox

Sportage

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

8.1 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.1 MPH

86.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Equinox gets better fuel mileage than the Sportage:

MPG

Equinox

FWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

Sportage

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/26 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/24 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Equinox’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Sportage doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Equinox has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Sportage doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl., for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Sportage.

Brakes and Stopping

The Equinox stops much shorter than the Sportage:

Equinox

Sportage

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Equinox has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Sportage doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Equinox’s wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer than on the Sportage (107.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

The Equinox Premier AWD handles at .86 G’s, while the Sportage SX Turbo AWD pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the Equinox has a 1.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Sportage (7.9 vs. 6.8 inches), allowing the Equinox to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The front grille of the Equinox uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Sportage doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Equinox uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Sportage doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Equinox has 4.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Sportage (103.2 vs. 98.6).

The Equinox has .7 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear legroom, .5 inches more rear hip room and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sportage.

The front step up height for the Equinox is 1.3 inches lower than the Sportage (17.2” vs. 18.5”). The Equinox’s rear step up height is 1.9 inches lower than the Sportage’s (17.5” vs. 19.4”).

Cargo Capacity

The Equinox has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Sportage with its rear seat folded (63.9 vs. 60.1 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Equinox easier. The Equinox’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.6 inches, while the Sportage’s liftover is 29.8 inches.

The Equinox’s cargo area is larger than the Sportage’s in almost every dimension:

Equinox

Sportage

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

34.9”/67.4”

33.4”/68.2”

Max Width

53.7”

52.3”

Min Width

40.7”

41”

Height

31”

29.5”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Equinox LT/Premier’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Sportage doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Kia Sportage is limited to 2000 pounds. The Equinox offers up to a 3500 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Equinox (except L/LS), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Sportage doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Equinox’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Sportage doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Equinox’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Sportage does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Equinox’s front and rear power windows all open fully with one touch of the switches and its driver’s window also automatically closes, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sportage’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

On a hot day the Equinox’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Sportage can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Equinox LS/LT/Premier’s available exterior keypad. The Sportage doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

The Equinox’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia charges extra for heated mirrors on the Sportage.

When the Equinox with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Sportage’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Equinox offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sportage offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Equinox and the Sportage offer available heated front seats. The Equinox Premier also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Sportage.

The Equinox (except L/LS) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Sportage doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Equinox is less expensive to operate than the Sportage because typical repairs cost much less on the Equinox than the Sportage, including $80 less for front struts and $669 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Sportage was rated third in its category.

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Kia Sportage by over four to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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