Two Crossovers, One Winner: Honda CR-V vs. Kia Sportage Showdown

In the world of compact SUVs, one great debate has been going on for a little over twenty years now – Honda CR-V vs. Kia Sportage. With both of them going through a complete makeover for the 2023 model year, let’s put them head-to-head one more time and settle this dispute once and for all.

The CR-V and the Sportage are comparable in many aspects – they have similar performance and design, as well as optional hybrid versions. However, the differences are more significant depending on trim levels and whether or not you want to go the hybrid route. The Sportage is the better hybrid and also has impressive warranties, but the non-hybrid CR-V takes the top spot when it comes to performance and cargo space.

Both Cars Are Some of the Best Sellers for Their Respective Brands

The Honda CR-V surely seems like it’s been on the market forever, and that’s thanks to its popularity in both brand-new and used vehicle dealerships. However, the Kia Sportage actually predates it by two years. Introduced all the way back in 1993, the Sportage is Kia’s best-selling vehicle in the US today.

2023 Model Year Brought Significant Redesign for Both of These Compact SUVs

When you take into account their popularity on the most famous routes in the US, as well as their superiority in the category of compact SUVs, it’s no surprise that 2023 brought us redesigned versions of these reliable and practical four-wheelers. 

Woman's hand give the car key and blurred background.
Both vehicles got newly redesigned versions – let’s see which one you should buy

Honda CR-V vs. Kia Sportage – A Look at The Main Specifications

Before I get to a more detailed comparison of the Honda CR-V and the Kia Sportage in various different aspects, here’s a brief overview of some of their main specifications:

Category2023 Honda CR-V2023 Kia Sportage
Starting Price$31,110$25,990
Available VersionsAWD, HybridAWD, Hybrid, Plug-in hybrid
Engine1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder 2.5L 4-cylinder
Horsepower190 hp at 6,000 rpm187 hp at 6,100 rpm
Torque179 lb/ft at 5,000 rpm178 lb/ft at 4,000 rpm
Fuel Economy28 city, 34 highway25 city, 32 highway
TransmissionCVT automatic8-speed automatic

Smart Design and Huge Interior Space Make These Vehicles the Most Practical Compact SUVs on the Market

The previous model years of the Kia Sportage have often been criticized for being too small for a compact SUV, so engineers and designers made sure the same mistake isn’t repeated this time around. That’s why the 2023 model year brings us 5-passenger vehicles of comparable dimensions and lots of interior space that offers great comfort and utility. 

Here’s a comparison of the CR-V and the Sportage dimensions:

Measurement2023 Honda CR-V2023 Kia Sportage
Length184.8 inches183.5 inches
Width73.5 inches73.4 inches
Height66.2 inches66.9 inches
Wheelbase106.3 inches108.5 inches

*For the metric system, an inch is 25.4mm

Even With Similar Dimensions the Sportage Can’t Beat Honda’s Cargo Space

By looking at the table of contents above, it’s obvious that both vehicles have cargo capacities that are virtually the same ever since Kia decided on upscaling the Sportage. It has a space of 39.6 cubic feet behind the second-row seats, and when the seats are folded, you’re met with 74.1 cubic feet of cargo space, which is quite impressive. 

However, it still doesn’t beat the CR-V’s 76.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row folded – it’s bigger than some midsize SUVs even. So, if you’re looking for a family car with lots of interior space, the CR-V is still your best bet, even with the new 2023 Kia Sportage overcoming its small SUV label. 

Honda SUV car
The CR-V offers more space and comfort when it comes to the interior

For Affordable Compact SUV Tech Features Are Impressive in Both Cars

From GPS tracking to special devices that help you swiftly navigate even through cities with the worst drivers, infotainment technology and other special features are there to maximize the comfort and convenience you can enjoy in your four-wheeler. 

While the previous model years of the Sportage and the CR-V are nowhere near mediocre regarding tech features, the redesigned vehicles are quite impressive, especially when considering their price range. 

The Infotainment System Is the Category With the Most Differences Between the Two

The CR-V and the Sportage are comparable in many categories, but the infotainment system is definitely not one of them. Maybe the biggest difference is in Sportage’s 12.3-inch display across most trim levels, as opposed to the CR-V’s 7-inch touchscreen for the base level and 9-inch for higher trims. 

The 2023 Kia Sportage Comes With Loads of Standard and Optional Tech Features

The redesigned Sportage comes with a fresh, contemporary look filled with standard tech and many additional features that might surprise you, given the starting price. Here are some of the things you can expect:

  • Audio display with AM/FM,
  • Wireless charging pad,
  • 360-degree camera,
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,
  • Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

The 2023 Honda CR-V Is a Little Bit More Straightforward in Design

Compared to previous model years, the infotainment system of the new CR-V is a bit more straightforward, with physical volume and tuning knobs. Here are some of the tech features you can expect:

  • Audio display with AM/FM,
  • Heated front seats, 
  • Dual-zone climate control,
  • Wireless device charging, 
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Hybrid electric car model, Kia Sportage
The Sportage offers better infotainment features than the CR-V

Performance and Handling Depend on Whether You’re Interested in the Hybrid Versions or Not

Before comparing them in various performance aspects, it’s important to emphasize that both the CR-V and the Sportage offer hybrids. The hybrid version of the Sportage is more efficient, and Kia also has the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version as well. However, if you’re not considering going hybrid, the CR-V is definitely the more fuel-efficient choice. 

Let’s compare these compact SUVs in a few different performance categories

Engine Type and Corresponding Horsepower

The base engine of the 2023 Sportage is a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that delivers around 187 hp and 178 lb/ft of torque. With the CR-V, power is generated from a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine of up to 190 hp and 179 lb/ft of torque. 

But, the more exciting are the hybrid powertrains of both vehicles. With the Sportage Hybrid, a turbocharged 1.6L 4-cylinder engine is combined with two electric motors and can generate an output of up to 227 hp and 258 lb/ft of torque. The CR-V hybrid has a 2L 4-cylinder engine combined with electric motors and delivers around 204 hp and 247 lb/ft of torque.

Drivetrain and Transmission

Both the Sportage and the CR-V are available with all-wheel drive (AWD) and front-wheel drive (FWD) configurations, depending on the trim level you go for. The big difference is in the type of transmission – the Kia comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the CR-V uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Combined with the turbocharged engine and the revised suspension, all that added rigidity gives the CR-V better handling and a more comfortable ride both on and off the road.

Fuel Economy

While Kia can boast its all-electric range of 34 miles, it just doesn’t come close to the fuel economy performance of the standard CR-V when you’re looking at non-hybrid models. It gets up to 30 mpg combined with the FWD and 29 mpg with AWD. It might seem like a small difference when compared to the 28 and 25 mpg Kia offers, but it can have great consequences when it comes to the cost of owning a car.

Both Vehicles Are Some of the Most Affordable Compact SUVs on the Market

When you’re looking for a new four-wheeler, you’ll probably find yourself wondering – why are car prices so high? However, there’s good news when it comes to the Sportage and the CR-V – both of these compact SUVs are pretty affordable

The Kia Sportage Has a Lower Starting Price but a Broader Price Range Between Trim Levels

The starting price of a standard Kia Sportage is $25,990, so it beats the CR-V by a significant margin, with an MSRP of $31,110. However, the Sportage has a much broader range between trim levels, and the plug-in hybrid version is much more expensive than the prestigious Sport Touring CR-V with a hybrid powertrain. 

Once Again It Comes Down to Whether You Want to Go the Hybrid Route

Regarding the price, it’s the same situation as with performance – it all depends on whether you’re interested in the hybrid version. If you want the non-hybrid version, the Sportage is more affordable than the CR-V in all trim levels. On the other hand, the plug-in hybrid Sportage is more expensive than even the top-of-the-shelf hybrid CR-V. However, as was mentioned, the Sportage is the superior hybrid out of the two, so you get what you paid for.

The Kia Sportage is more affordable in most aspects other than the hybrid versions

The Kia Sportage Is Unparalleled When It Comes to Available Warranty Coverage

With the standard warranty of 3 years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles, the CR-V can offer you pretty satisfying coverage options. However, the Kia Sportage is outstanding in this category, with the standard warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles and the powertrain option of astonishing 10 years or 100,000 miles. That will surely ease anyone’s driving anxiety.

The Only Upper Hand of the CR-V When It Comes to Coverage Is the Scheduled Maintenance Option

While the Sportage is definitely the winner when it comes to warranty coverage and can also boast roadside assistance of 5 years or 60,000 miles, the scheduled maintenance is not covered by Kia. This is the only insurance category the CR-V wins in, with offered maintenance for two years or 36.000 miles. 

Kia Sportage car
When it comes to warranty coverage, no one beats the Kia Sportage

Both Compact SUVs Are Reliable Vehicles With a Wide Array of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Reliability and safety are some of the most important aspects you have to think about when buying a vehicle, especially if you’re a beginner driver or looking for a family car. When it comes to that, both the Sportage and the CR-V are great options, with many assistance features that will make your time spent on the road that much easier, no matter if you’re driving at night or during a bright day. 

While the 2023 CR-V hasn’t yet been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Kia Sportage has been dubbed as the 2022 Top Safety Pick. Here are some assistance features you can expect from both of these vehicles:

  • Blind-spot warning,
  • Forward-collision warning,
  • Rear cross-traffic collision avoidance,
  • Automatic emergency braking,
  • Lane-keeping assistance. 

Consider Your Priorities to End up With the Best Choice for You Specifically

All things considered, both the Sportage and the CR-V are great options in the category of compact SUVs. The final decision depends on your priorities – if you want a longer warranty and a quality hybrid option, you should go for Sportage. On the other hand, if you want a non-hybrid option with slightly more cargo space, the CR-V should be your top choice. Think wisely, and you’ll surely end up with your new favorite four-wheeler!