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When it comes to shopping for a compact SUV, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how many options there are out there. Included in that sea of possibilities, of course, is the 2021 Ford Escape and the 2021 Kia Sportage. But, of the two compact SUVs, which is the better choice? Unfortunately for the Kia Sportage, the 2021 Ford Escape makes for an easy winner.

2021 Ford Escape in the mountains
2021 Ford Escape | Ford

The 2021 Ford Escape boasts better fuel economy ratings

If you’re in the market for a fuel-efficient SUV, the 2021 Ford Escape makes for a pretty great pick. Standard with a 1.5-liter turbo I3 engine under its hood, this year’s model makes for a mere fuel sipper. According to the EPA, it delivers an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and an EPA-estimated 33 mpg on the highway. And when it comes to annual fuel costs? The EPA says you can expect to spend $1,050 on gassing up the Escape on a yearly basis.

As for the 2021 Kia Sportage? Equipped with a 2.4-liter I4 engine, this year’s Sportage is reasonably fuel-efficient. When compared to the 2021 Ford Escape, however, it just can’t compete. According to the EPA, unlike the Ford Escape, the 2021 Kia Sportage delivers an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and an EPA-estimated 30 mpg on the highway. The EPA says that owners of the Sportage should expect to spend about $1,200 on gas annually too.

Unlike the Kia Sportage, it’s also available as a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid

While both the Ford Escape and the Kia Sportage are available with multiple engines, only the 2021 Ford Escape offers a hybrid and plug-in hybrid model. According to Ford, when it comes to the plug-in hybrid Ford Escape, it boasts a class-leading EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 100 MPGe combined. Ford says that it also has an EPA-estimated all-electric range of 37 miles. 

As for the Ford Escape Hybrid? When outfitted with all-wheel drive, Ford says that Escape Hybrid delivers an EPA-estimated 43 mpg city and 40 mpg combined with an EPA-estimated 568 miles of range. Not bad, not bad at all.

Unfortunately for the Kia Sportage, it’s not available as a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid. Instead, the Sportage can be had with one of two engines. Choose from the Sportage’s standard 2.4-liter I4 engine or a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine.

The 2021 Ford Escape is available with some pretty neat tech features

The Ford Escape doesn’t make any compromises when it comes to tech features either. Available with a head-up display that Ford says minimizes the distraction of having to look at the instrument panel, this tech feature keeps drivers both safe up to date with various driver-assist features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane-Keeping System, and Navigation. It can be used to handle incoming calls too. 

Unfortunately for the Kia Sportage, it’s not available with a head-up display. Instead, drivers will have to look to the vehicle’s instrument panel or infotainment system to get the information that they need. 

Is the 2021 Ford Escape the right SUV for your driving needs?

There’s no denying that the 2021 Ford Escape has a lot going for it. It’s available with a variety of engines under the hood, is pretty fuel-efficient, and is available with some pretty tech-savvy features. As for the 2021 Kia Sportage? It’s not necessarily a bad SUV. It just can’t match up to what the 2021 Ford Escape has to offer.


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