2021 Kia Sportage vs. 2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Sportage are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Sportage’s standard Downhill Brake Control allow you to creep down safely. The Equinox doesn’t offer Downhill Brake Control.

The Sportage’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Equinox doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Sportage and the Equinox 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, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Sportage comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Equinox’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sportage 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Chevrolet covers the Equinox. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Equinox ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage second among compact suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Equinox was rated third.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked third.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 16 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The Sportage’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 11 more horsepower (181 vs. 170) than the Equinox’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The Sportage SX Turbo’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 67 more horsepower (237 vs. 170) and 57 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 203) than the Equinox’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The Sportage SX Turbo’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 70 more horsepower (240 vs. 170) and 57 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 203) than the Equinox’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sportage 4 cyl. is faster than the Chevrolet Equinox:

Sportage

Equinox

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

81.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Sportage has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox FWD’s standard fuel tank (16.4 vs. 14.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Sportage’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Equinox:

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

Equinox

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

11.3 inches

The Sportage stops shorter than the Equinox:

Sportage

Equinox

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Equinox (245/45R19 vs. 235/50R19).

The Sportage LX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Equinox’s standard 65 series tires. The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Equinox’s optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Sportage has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Sportage flat and controlled during cornering. The Equinox’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Sportage has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Equinox doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Equinox.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Equinox LT AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Equinox LT AWD (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sportage’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Equinox’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The Sportage’s turning circle is 6.8 feet tighter than the Equinox w/19” wheels’ (34.8 feet vs. 41.6 feet).

Chassis

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The Sportage is 6.7 inches shorter than the Equinox, making the Sportage easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Sportage has .6 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room and .6 inches more rear headroom than the Equinox.

Cargo Capacity

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The Sportage has a larger cargo volume than the Equinox with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 29.9 cubic feet).

Towing

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The Sportage’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Equinox’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Ergonomics

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The Sportage has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Equinox doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Equinox doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Sportage owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sportage will cost $185 less than the Equinox over a five-year period.

The Sportage will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Sportage will retain 45.89% to 49.54% of its original price after five years, while the Equinox only retains 35.23% to 40.67%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Equinox because it costs $355 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sportage than the Equinox, including $115 less for a water pump, $415 less for a muffler, $162 less for front brake pads, $231 less for a starter, $234 less for fuel injection, $429 less for a fuel pump and $293 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Sportage will be $2523 to $3024 less than for the Chevrolet Equinox.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/27

The Kia Sportage has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

Sportage

Equinox

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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