June 12, 2024

Chevy Equinox vs. Honda CR-V vs. Kia Sportage: How These Compact SUVs Stack Up

Compact SUVs have taken off as a top-selling class of vehicles. We’ll compare three of the most convenient, popular, and well-respected models to help you determine which one will work for you. 

When it comes to safety for each of these competitive compact SUVs, rest assured they all fared well in crash testing. These safety ratings factor into insurance rates for the Chevy Equinox, Honda CR-V, and Kia Sportage.

Chevy Equinox

Chevy’s redesign for the Equinox was postponed during lockdown but is here now. The 2022 Equinox was worth the wait. Chevy has worked hard to put together a competitive compact SUV amidst a tight market. Its standard features offer advantages that competitors only offer on higher trims.

Economy 

Fuel economy is on everyone’s mind. In-town driving averages 26 miles per gallon (MPG), while you can get 31 MPG on open roads. Their all-wheel-drive (AWD) drivetrain saps another mile per gallon from those numbers. This places them in the middle of the pack against Sportage and CR-V. 

Next up is sticker price: starting price for an Equinox is around $26,000. This price point is pretty accurate, placing them as the cheapest of the three. And considering their impressive list of standard features, you get a lot for your money. 

Depreciation for the Equinox averages $9000 in the first five years. This edges out the Sportage, but can’t compare to the resale value of the CR-V. On the other hand, the Equinox comes in cheaper for average yearly maintenance costs and repairs.

Tech

What the Equinox may lack in reputation or power, it makes up for in available tech. Chevy’s generous infotainment center comes ready for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. Bluetooth audio streaming and plenty of USB ports are standards as well.

The 7-inch (optional 8-inch) center display is easy to use with great responsiveness on the touch screen. It also impressively includes a 4G LTE onboard Wi-Fi, which makes your entire car a mobile hotspot. 

The Equinox does offer an available Bose sound system, which is impressive. Bose surround sound is not available in the Sportage and won’t be available in the CR-V until 2023.

Safety 

The 2022 Equinox earned an impressive 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not yet determined if it earns a “Top Safety Pick” title. 

Chevy’s “Teen Driver” system is built into every Equinox, which allows parents to set limits and get a driving report card for drivers. This feature is unique to Chevy and has not yet been developed by Kia or Honda.

Standard with Chevy Safety Assist technology is automatic emergency braking, pedestrian braking, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and intelligent high beams. Chevy provides an impressive standard list. 

Optional safety features 360 cameras, blind spot alerts, adaptive cruise control, and park assist. For an economical compact SUV option, the Equinox offers impressive high-tech available features. 

Capability

Where the Equinox falls desperately short is its performance. Its small engine still doesn’t offer impressive gas mileage. Its small body (less interior space than the Sportage or CR-V) doesn’t offer better handling. And sadly, the 6-speed automatic transmission is sluggish.

If features are what you’re after, Equinox might be your pick, but if you want a driver’s car, you’ll have to keep looking.

Honda CRV

The CR-V has long ruled the compact SUV market. They have an established reputation for being the SUV to compare all others to. Of note, the 2022 CR-V is the last year in its generation. 2023 unveils its 6th generation of production. But since that has not hit the market yet, we’ll be looking at the 2022 model.

Economy

Fuel economy for the CR-V comes in at 28 MPG city driving and 30 MPG on the highway. The CR-V’s AWD package still gets better gas mileage than both the Sportage and Equinox in their front-wheel-drive options.

The CR-V also holds its own against the Equinox with a sticker price starting at $26,000. The average price paid, however, comes in closer to $30,000.

Honda’s impressive resale value holds up with their CR-V. They generally only experience a $4,000 depreciation within the first five years. But most drivers aren’t looking to sell their CR-Vs and have a longer average ownership. 

Tech

The CR-V’s infotainment center provides a lackluster 5-inch starting display size (a 7-inch screen is available on most packages, with 8-inch on top trim levels). The tech is outdated, but this is also the last model in its generation. The 6th generation CR-V will be released in 2023.

The CR-V’s cluster is a digital display, which edges out the Equinox’s analog instruments. But that’s about the only tech area where CR-V beats the Equinox. 

Safety 

Though the entertainment system might not be a selling point, safety tech is where Honda shines. The CR-V earns a 5-star NHSTA safety rating and a “Top Safety Pick” title from the IIHS. 

Its safety tech includes Honda’s Sensing Suite standard. This means you’ll drive home with forward collision alert and mitigation, lane departure assistance, adaptive cruise control, and road departure mitigation. The CR-V also comes with automatic emergency braking and a multi-angle backup cam. 

The most notably lacking feature is a 360-degree camera. Look for changes in Honda’s upcoming 2023 lines. Another substandard feature is the headlights, which are currently halogen. Look for an upgrade to LED for 2023.

The CR-V implements Honda’s safest engineering tech if the safety tech still doesn’t prevent a collision. The frame distributes impact force in the event of a collision to protect the driver and passengers. 

Capability 

The CR-V offers the best interior space and an impressive storage capacity. All 2022 CR-Vs (aside from hybrid models) use the same powertrain. Its 1.5-liter turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder won’t be updated in the 2023 CR-V. Why mess with a good thing? All CR-Vs use a continuously variable transmission (CVT), giving them a substantial driving edge over the Equinox and the Sportage.

Drivers tend to prefer the handling of the CR-V over the Sportage and the Equinox. It provides better pickup compared to the KIA and the Chevy. Its decent fuel efficiency makes up for its acceptable acceleration. 

If dependability, fuel efficiency, and resale are most important to you, the CR-V beats the Sportage and the Equinox. And the best is yet to come for Honda, looking forward to their 2023 update.

Kia Sportage

As Kia’s longest-running nameplate, the Sportage has been around the block a few times. The 2023 model is its fifth generation and provides all the expected features for a compact SUV. 

Economy 

Sportage’s fuel economy offers a dismal 23 MPG city driving and 30 MPG highway mileage. Its larger gas tank, though, means you won’t have to fill up as often.

The Sportage offers a middle-of-the-road cost, starting around $29,000. But with not much available on the base trim level, most people opt to go up a level or two. Upgrades bring the average price paid to $30,000, which is closer to the average CR-V.

Expect a steep depreciation within five years for the Kia Sportage. The resale value of the CR-V and Equinox easily surpasses the Sportage.

Tech

Kia’s infotainment center comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. In addition, its 8-inch screen is responsive and sufficient.  

The Sportage has available features that are pretty impressive, including smartphone start, smart liftgate, ventilated and heated seats, and 10-way adjustable power seats. They also offer surround sound on higher trim levels. Complimentary map upgrades for ten years come with their navigation system, which is worthwhile to note.

Safety 

The Sportage holds its own in the safety category, earning its “Top Safety Pick” title from IIHS, as well as a 5-star NHTSA safety rating. The Sportage’s construction held up well in crash testing.

Kia’s driver-assistance tech includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blindspot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert, all standard in the Sportage. Expect expanded safety tech in its 2023 redesign.

Capability

The 2022 Kia Sportage is worth upgrading to the turbocharge option for pep. It will make a local pizza run much more enjoyable Without the upgrade the Sportage offers mediocre pickup. All Sportage models offer superior handling making them fun to drive. 

The interior comes up short, with cargo space only measuring 30.7 cubic feet. But the 2022 Sportage can tow up to 1,653 lbs, which outranks the 1500 lb towing capacity of the Equinox and CR-V.

The 2023 Kia Sportage redesign looks like an impressive competitor for the small SUV market, so look out for that. In the meantime, expect to drive around in a stylish SUV but don’t expect a driving experience.

Bottom-Line 

So which compact SUV is the best for you? The CR-V wins the power and handling competition. The CR-V also offers the best fuel efficiency, which speaks to Honda’s ability to save fuel without sacrificing power.

Base manufacturer pricing puts Equinox back in the game with impressive base features. However, the CR-V retains its value and makes resale impressive. KIA’s Sportage has an appealing style and offers high-end features at more affordable prices, but depreciation is steep.

Safety getting to your destination is just as important as having a safety plan for your destination. The Sportage and the CR-V did both earn a Top Safety Pick title, with Equinox’s information not yet available because of headlight differences. All three performed well in crash tests and boast 5-star NHTSA ratings.

Do you want to have these for free? Yes, it’s possible to get your dream car in giveaway contests. Try your luck, who knows!

Maria Hanson writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. She is passionate about helping drivers find their best insurance options.