Crossover & Midsize

Can the 2021 Kia Sportage Compete With Toyota and Honda?

TheĀ 2021 Kia SportageĀ is in the fourth generation that debuted in the 2017 model. Last year, the Sportage got a complete refresh that included slight modifications to the interior cabin. This year, the Nightfall Edition is being featured on the sporty S trim, replacing the sunroof and premium packages.

The compact crossover does well in reliability ratings and receives good marks in crash tests. The tastefully designed interior uses the finest of materials to create an atmosphere that is both practical and comfortable.

As much as the Kia Sportage can hold its own in its class, does it do enough to stand out among competitors such as Honda and Toyota?

The 2021 Kia Sportage

Red 2021 Kia Sportage drives down a dirt road in a mountainous environment
2021 Kia Sportage | Kia

The 2021 Kia Sportage is attractive inside and out. The stylish design features and use of high-quality materials create an upscale feel with an affordable price tag. Four trim levels include the LX, S, EX, and SX Turbo, and all-wheel drive is available in all of them.

An intuitive 8-inch touch screen infotainment system is one of the many advanced technology features included in the 2021 Kia Sportage. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard. Safety features that include driver condition monitoring and forward collision warning with pedestrian detection are also standard.

The 2.4-liter engine provides adequate acceleration when merging onto busy highways or maneuvering through heavy traffic. In the top SX Turbo trim, the powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission provides the utmost performance with capable handling.  

The 2021 Honda CR-V and 2021 Toyota RAV4

RELATED: The 2021 Kia Sportage Can Be as Affordable or Luxurious as You Want

The compact crossover segment is fiercely competitive, especially when it comes to the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Pricing for the compact SUV market ranges from $20,000 to upwards of $40,000. There is something for everyone in this booming segment, making it difficult to differentiate between all of the models available.

The 2021 Honda CR-V offers the perfect balance of quality and reliability. It is the number one selling compact crossover on the market today, according to U.S. News. Consistently ranking high among other compact SUVs, the spacious interior utilizes high-quality materials throughout the comfortable cabin. The CR-V has one of the largest cargo areas in its class, offering 39.2 cubic feet of storage space. The smooth, swift acceleration makes it hard to outdo the Honda CR-V.

The 2021 Toyota RAV4 offers more room than ever in the new generation, which was introduced two years ago. This well-rounded crossover does well among the competition, but the CR-V receives better rankings overall. The RAV4 does stand out with its long list of infotainment features that includes a user-friendly screen. The enhanced power options and standard driver assistance features are appealing additions to this popular Toyota SUV.

Does the Kia Sportage do enough to stand out among its competitors?

Most reviewers agree that the Honda CR-V isn’t sporty or sexy, but instead is a well-rounded vehicle. In comparison, the 2021 Kia Sportage offers an interior that feels like what would be found in a much more expensive vehicle.

Ranked #3 in Compact SUVs by U.S. News, the Kia crossover has an advantage over the competition when it comes to road noise. According to Car and Driver, both the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 have a noise problem. They found that in both models, the “cabin lets in a decent amount of road, wind, and engine noise.” The 2021 Kia Sportage, on the other hand, offers a smooth, quiet, and composed ride.

The 2021 Kia Sportage is a vehicle worth looking with a starting price of $25,000. Though it doesn’t carry the long-standing respect of the Honda or Toyota name, the Kia does offer standard features that keep this elegant-looking SUV competitive in a saturated market.

For those on the fence, the best-in-class warranty that covers the powertrain for 10 years or 100,000 miles may just be enough to push consumers in the direction of the Kia Sportage.