2021 Honda CR-V vs. 2021 Kia Sportage: Which Compact SUV Is Right for You?

Shopping for a compact SUV? You’ve got no shortage of options to choose from. But if you’re stuck choosing between compact SUVs like the 2021 Honda CR-V and the 2021 Kia Sportage? You may be wondering how they compare. Fortunately, we’re here to tell you.

2021 Honda CR-V Touring is a compact SUV seen driving in a neighborhood
2021 Honda CR-V Touring | Honda

2021 Honda CR-V vs. 2021 Kia Sportage: Engine options

Both of these compact SUVs are available with your pick of engine under the hood. A 190-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard in the new Honda CR-V. However, it’s also available with an advanced hybrid powertrain. Paired with a continuously variable transmission and standard with all-wheel drive, the EPA reports that the Honda CR-V Hybrid is able to deliver an EPA-estimated 38 mpg combined. 

As for the 2021 Kia Sportage? Standard under the hood of this year’s model is a 181-hp 2.4-liter engine. It’s available with a 240-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter engine too. This engine offers more horsepower than both the CR-V’s standard engine and available hybrid powertrain, which may be good news for some shoppers. Unfortunately, it’s not the most fuel-efficient. According to the EPA, the 2021 Kia Sportage is only able to manage an EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined with its turbocharged engine under the hood. 

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2021 Honda CR-V vs. 2021 Kia Sportage: No shortage of safety features 

If safety features are a primary concern for you, you really can’t go wrong with either of these compact SUVs. The Honda CR-V comes standard with Honda Sensing. The Kia Sportage comes standard with Kia Drive Wise. Both systems include a comprehensive suite of driver-assist safety features, ranging from adaptive cruise control to lane-keeping assist.

These compact SUVs excelled in crash tests too. The IIHS recognized both the 2021 Kia Sportage and the 2021 Honda CR-V as Top Safety Picks. On top of that, the Honda CR-V earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, which is nothing short of impressive. Fortunately for the Kia Sportage, the NHTSA gave it a similarly high safety rating.   

A red 2021 Kia Sportage
2021 Kia Sportage | Kia

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2021 Honda CR-V vs. 2021 Kia Sportage: Interior features aplenty 

Now, there’s no beating around the bush here, both of these compact SUVs have plenty of features to offer. The 2021 Honda CR-V comes standard features with like an automatic climate control system, a four-speaker sound system, and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. Unfortunately, features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto require an upgrade. 

Opting for a more well-outfitted Honda CR-V isn’t necessarily such a bad idea. Upgrading would get you additional interior features like leather-trimmed seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and a wireless phone charger. 

The 2021 Kia Sportage offers plenty of interior features as well. Consider the base model, which comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a six-speaker sound system, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated front seats. For added features like leather-trimmed seating, push-button start, and wireless device charging, you will have to upgrade to a higher trim level. 

The interior of the 2021 Kia Sportage
2021 Kia Sportage | Kia

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Which compact SUV is the right choice for you?

Really, it all comes down to what you’re looking for in a compact SUV and how many features you want. Because, while the base model Honda CR-V is lacking in features, both of these compact SUVs do have plenty to offer. In the end, we recommend taking both of these options for a test drive.