Crossover & Midsize

2020 Kia Sportage vs. Chevy Equinox: Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Many SUV shoppers are mesmerized by the spaciousness of the 2020 Chevy Equinox. However, these drivers may be missing out on a hidden gem in the smaller 2020 Kia Sportage.

The crowded compact SUV segment has a mishmash of models ranging from confined to surprisingly spacious. This can make it difficult to weed through the options and to find the perfect model.

The Kia Sportage is a bit of a tweener in its class. Some would liken it to smaller entries like the Chevy Trax. However, the 2020 Sportage’s dynamic engine and roomy cargo space make it a fitting adversary for the Chevy Equinox.

These rivals stack up pretty well against each other on paper. However, one model holds a few significant advantages that move the needle.

Unexpected similarities

2020 Kia Sportage on display in a showroom
2020 Kia Sportage on display | Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Considering the noticeable difference in vehicle size, the two SUV’s cargo capacity is nearly indistinguishable. The 2020 Kia Sportage holds a slight advantage in cargo space with the rear seats up, and the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox has about an extra three cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down.

Meanwhile, there is a negligible difference in the vehicles’ starting MSRP, which both reside just under the $24,000 mark. Also, the SUVs are side-by-side in Consumer Reports’ Best SUV Ratings, having received identical scores in the road test and predicted owner satisfaction. However, the Chevy Equinox did score slightly higher in predicted reliability.

The 2020 Kia Sportage is backed for a decade

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Compact SUVs are popular choices for budding and young families, who usually need to make budget-conscious choices when making large purchases. Reliability and long-term costs can quickly come into play when considering the purchasing of a vehicle. 

The length of a model’s warranty can easily make or break a sale, especially since the buyer may own the vehicle for a decade or more.

That’s what makes Kia’s industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty so desirable. That kind of long-term coverage is a huge incentive for shoppers to choose the 2020 Kia Sportage over the Chevy Equinox, which has a five-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

The Kia Sportage’s base engine shines while its rival’s struggles

The heart of a vehicle is certainly its engine. So, what’s under the hood is paramount when considering the “Sport” in SUV. 

Kelley Blue Book’s breakdown of the two SUVs claims that the 2020 Kia Sportage’s base engine is more than adequate for daily driving needs.

Meanwhile, KBB recommended upgrading to the available engine for drivers who choose the 2020 Chevy Equinox. The standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces just 170 hp while the available 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine kicks out 252 hp. However, Chevy is dropping the available engine for its 2021 Equinox.

This additional power increases the Chevrolet Equinox’s maximum towing capability to 3,500 pounds, which is more than any Kia Sportage offers.

The Kia Sportage also offers an available engine that kicks its performance up a notch. The 2020 Sportage SX Turbo features a turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers 240 hp — a pleasant increase from the 181-hp standard engine. 

The final decision

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It’s an American standard that bigger is always better. However, in the case of the 2020 Kia Sportage vs. 2020 Chevy Equinox, bigger seems to be more of a hindrance than a helper.

The Chevrolet Equinox’s beefier physique doesn’t translate to any significant power or cargo space. Meanwhile, the Kia Sportage delivers more value with a longer-lasting warranty and a livelier base engine.