It’s pretty easy to see why small SUVs are so popular. They offer more visibility than traditional sedans and are easier to maneuver than their larger counterparts. One of the most popular small SUVs is the Toyota RAV4, which has been a longtime consumer favorite. Another attractive option in this market is the Kia Sportage. The RAV4 and Sportage SUVs are consistently grouped together. Here we will help you determine which is best for you.
Perhaps what we love most about small SUVs is how expressive they can be. Whether you’re looking for something rugged, or something more polished, you are bound to find the right fit based on your own personal style. Judging by appearances only, the Sportage is more appealing to those looking for something sporty and offbeat while the RAV4 looks athletic but is more traditional.
The Sportage was lightly refreshed for 2020 and now has a revamped front grille plus updated headlights and taillights. The RAV4 was completely redesigned for 2019 so there aren’t many updates for the 2020 model year.
The Sportage starts at $23,990 and the RAV4 starts at $25,950.
Another great thing about small SUVs is how versatile they are in regards to performance. The RAV4 is mighty capable, especially because of its array of trim levels that are intended to satisfy various driving needs. This SUV comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates a 203-horsepower. The RAV4 also has a great fuel economy with a combined 30 mpg. Front-wheel drive comes standard but all-wheel drive is available depending on the trim you choose.
Toward the higher end of the available trims is the tougher RAV4 Adventure model which is designed for rougher terrains. At the very top is the TRD Off-Road trim which was explicitly created for off-roading. There’s also a hybrid version of the RAV4 to choose from too.
The Sportage doesn’t have as many distinct trim levels as the RAV4, but it is among the fastest in its class and can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 7 seconds. Easy handling, comfort, and fun is the name of the game for the Sportage. It comes with an efficient 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine; a turbo model is available. Front-wheel drive is also standard on the Sportage but you can opt for all-wheel drive. The main drawback of the Sportage is that its fuel economy is below average.
Inside the models
In-car offerings are where the Sportage really shines. Most notably, the Sportage has an upscale looking interior that’s cushiony and inviting. It also features a user-friendly infotainment system. The RAV4 has a good-looking cabin and an intuitive infotainment display too. However, the Sportage wins out here because it’s actually one of the quietest SUVs you can buy, meaning that outside noise won’t diminish your overall driving experience. Oppositely, a common complaint about the RAV4 is how loud the cabin can get due to outside noise.
Both the RAV4 and Sportage SUVs received top safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On the other hand, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the RAV4 a top safety pick but not the Sportage. The RAV4 comes with a host of advanced safety and driver-assist features that come standard. The Sportage also offers numerous driver-assist features but none come on the standard model.
How to pick
The Sportage is a good SUV but the RAV4 is a great one. If you are looking for a nice cruiser to get around then the Sportage is ideal for that. The RAV4 is also great for cruising, but the available customizations make it an even more dynamic option.