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Per Motor1, SUVs accounted for more than half of all passenger car sales in the first quarter of 2022, with more than 2.4 million sold. Compact crossovers are some of the most popular models within the segment, accounting for 1.6 million units in sales in the first half of 2022, according to data from CarSalesBase. Two of the more popular new compact crossover SUVs you can get are the 2023 Honda CR-V and 2023 Kia Sportage. With help from J.D. Power, here’s how the two models compare.

Price and value

The price range for the two models is different. For the 2023 Honda CR-V trim, there are four levels: the EX, Sport, EX-L, and Sport Touring. The base EX starts at $31,110 and the Sport Touring with all-wheel drive has a starting price of $38,600. In contrast, the Kia Sportage has seven trims: the base LX, EX, X-Line AWD, SX, SX Prestige, X-Pro, and X-Pro Prestige. The LX has an MSRP of $25,990 and the X-Pro Prestige starts at $36,790.

Kia offers gas-only, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid options for the Sportage, compared to just conventional hybrid powertrains for two of the CR-V’s trims — the Sport and Sport Touring. With a wider lineup that is consistently at a lower starting price, J.D. Power gives the edge to the Kia Sportage in this category.

Reliability and quality

J.D. Power has two studies for new vehicles to determine the winner in this category. There’s the J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), that studies the third year of ownership for reported problems, and the J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS), which looks at reliability in the early stages of ownership.

In the VDS, Kia was the top-rated brand for dependability over the first three years of ownership. The previous generation Sportage also ranked second among compact SUVs in both the VDS and IQS rankings. The Honda CR-V did not rank in the top three in either the VDS or IQS and Honda was outside the top five of the best mass-market brands for dependability.

The Sportage also edges out the CR-V in warranty coverage. Its standard warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles compared to the CR-V’s three or 36,000. For powertrain warranty, the Sportage gets 10 years or 100,000 miles to the CR-V’s five or 60,000. Scheduled maintenance goes the CR-V’s way, though, with two years or 24,000 miles. The Sportage does not have scheduled maintenance covered in its warranty. But it does get the edge in roadside assistance, with five years or 60,000 miles covered compared to the CR-V’s three or 36,000.

Overall, J.D. Power again gives the edge to the 2023 Kia Sportage in this category.

Performance and efficiency

The Sportage’s non-hybrid models come with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine generating 187 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid Sportage models come with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine combined with a pair of electric motors to make 227 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Plug-in hybrid Sportage models have a bit more power thanks to an upgrade in one of the electric motors to make 261 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. 

The gas-powered CR-V’s 1.5-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine has a slight edge on its Sportage counterpart with 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid powertrain takes a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and combines it with two electric motors running the Atkinson cycle to generate 204 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque, a bit lower in both compared to the Sportage’s conventional hybrid.

It’s a split on power figures and it’s close on fuel economy as well. The gas-powered CR-V gets a combined 30 miles per gallon (mpg) to the Sportage’s 28 combined mpg. Hybrid powertrains give the Sportage the edge with 43 combined mpg to the CR-V’s 40. All-wheel drive options for both knock the fuel efficiency down one to two combined mpg. J.D. Power gives neither the advantage for this category.  

Safety and driving assistance

Each CR-V model comes with the Honda Sensing Suite of driver aids. Lane-departure and blind-spot warnings, traffic jam assist, lane-keeping assistance, forward collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control are included as standard features. The Sportage can’t quite keep up with how many driver aids are included in its standard safety package. Forward collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, and driver monitoring systems are standard, as are reverse parking alerts. 

But the Sportage does have optional aids like forward parking distance alert, highway driving assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, and intersection turn assist that the CR-V can’t match.

The 2023 Honda CR-V has not been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The NHTSA has not given a rating for the Sportage either, but the IIHS did name the Sportage a 2022 Top Safety Pick.

J.D. Power gives the edge here to the Kia Sportage.

Infotainment and technology

A blue 2023 Honda CR-V
The 2023 Honda CR-V | Honda

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The Kia Sportage gets the edge early on with a larger standard touchscreen at eight inches to the CR-V’s seven. For higher trims, it goes up to 12.3 inches to the CR-V’s nine. Features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and integrated navigation are standard for both SUVs. But the Sportage has a few more perks, including wireless device charging on all but the LX trim, multi-connection Bluetooth, stolen vehicle tracking, and immobilization. J.D. Power gives the edge to the Sportage again.

Comfort and utility

J.D. Power reviewers say the two compact SUVs are pretty similar in this category. Kia’s redesign of the Sportage includes an upgraded interior featuring faux leather upholstery and dual-zone automatic climate control on all but the LX trim. There’s room for five to sit comfortably and the top-level trims give a more luxurious feel inside the cabin. 

Honda’s iconic Civic sedan was recently redesigned as well and has received praise for its interior. Those qualities carry over to the CR-V. J.D. Power reviewers call it “the most upscale CR-V interior ever.” The front seats are very comfortable and the console storage area is big for the class.

Cargo capacity is similar across the two models. The Sportage is rated for 39.6 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats with 74.1 cubic feet available if those seats are folded down. The CR-V’s totals of 39.3 and 76.5 cubic feet, respectively, give it a slight advantage. Headroom, legroom, hip room, and shoulder room are nearly identical between the two models. 

Which new compact crossover SUV is the right choice?

Thanks to a redesign for 2023, the Kia Sportage has closed the gap to the Honda CR-V in size, cargo space, comfort, and utility. With a lower starting price and more trim options to choose from, there’s a better variety for buyers than the CR-V. The dependability, quality, and warranty advantages make it the right choice from J.D. Power.