- The Chevrolet Equinox is the brand’s bestselling SUV.
- The Kia Sorento is all new for 2021 and seats up to seven passengers.
2021 Chevrolet Equinox
Base Price: $24,995 / Read our 2021 Chevrolet Equinox Review
What we like: Low starting price; spacious interior
What we would change: More power; add a hybrid option; improve cargo space
Overview: The Chevrolet Equinox has proven to be a competent compact crossover that offers a low price of entry and solid resale value. It’s roomy for five and handles capably. Formerly the base engine, the 1.5-liter turbo-4 paired with a 6-speed automatic is now the only offering. It’s no barn-burner with 170 horsepower and has EPA estimates of 28 mpg combined (FWD) or 27 mpg (AWD).
What’s new for 2021: A new Leather Package for the LT includes perforated leather upholstery in Jet Black, memory settings for the power driver’s seat, an auto-dimming inside mirror, and heated and auto-dimming outside mirrors. The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder has been dropped.
Features and technology: The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox is offered in L, LS, LT, and Premier trims. The LT can be dressed up with the blacked-out Midnight Edition or the Sport Edition, while the Premier offers a Redline Edition appearance package. Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic high-beams are standard. Blind-spot monitoring is optional. All trims come standard with a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, available Wi-Fi, and four USB ports. A user-friendly 8-inch unit with optional navigation is available. The top-spec Premier includes a hands-free power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, and LED exterior lighting.
What does the future hold: A update for the Equinox is coming for 2022 and sees revised front and rear styling as well as the addition of a sporty new RS trim. See 2021 Chevrolet Equinox models for sale near you.
2021 Kia Sorento
Base Price: $29,000 / Read our 2021 Kia Sorento Review
What we like: Tons of passenger space; variety of engine options including a hybrid and PHEV (coming in late 2021); optional captain’s chairs in the second row; great warranty
What we would change: Bring back the V6 engine; increase towing capacity; offer an AWD hybrid
Overview: The Kia Sorento is a compact crossover that offers ample interior space for up to seven passengers (six when outfitted with the captain’s chairs in the second row.) It comes with a variety of powertrains, including a turbocharged 2.5-liter. A hybrid and plug-in hybrid option is available too. AWD is also offered, but you can’t get it on the hybrid versions.
What’s new for 2021: The Kia Sorento is totally new for 2021, based on a stronger and lighter chassis with a 1.4-inch-longer wheelbase. Initially, the new Sorento will be offered as an LX, S, EX, SX, and SX-Prestige, each available with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). The Kia Sorento PHEV is expected to arrive sometime early next year, also as a 2021 model.
One of the most significant new 2021 Sorentos is the X-Line SX-Prestige AWD, a premium model bristling with technology and improved off-road ability. With its inch-higher ride height and locking center differential, the X-Line will be a little more at home on the dirt, and its looks are distinguished by some unique styling details, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a bridge-type roof rack.
Features and technology: At the base level, the 2021 Kia Sorento LX 2.5 is a FWD model with the 2.5-liter engine, an 8-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, and LED headlamps. Inside, there’s cloth seat trim, a 4.2-inch digital instrument binnacle, an 8-inch touchscreen, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Step up the trim lines to get things like 18-inch alloy wheels and special GT-Line bumpers with black accents.
The most affordable turbocharged new Sorento is the EX 2.5T. Besides the 2.5-liter turbo engine and an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Sorento EX 2.5 T is a front-drive model equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, second-row captain’s chairs, smart cruise control, and an electronic parking brake. The Sorento SX 2.5T has the same powertrain but adds 20-inch alloy wheels. LED projector headlamps, a panoramic roof, and a 10.25-inch navigation and audio screen.
Next up, the Kia Sorento SX Prestige 2.5T is also a front-driver, this luxurious Sorento is fitted with leather seat trim, vented front seats, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a large 12.3-inch infotainment screen. It also has the handy Blind View Monitor for a 360-degree view that’s most helpful in tight parking lots.
An even more opulent Sorento is called the SX Prestige X-Line 2.5T. This dirt-tuned AWD Sorento comes with everything on the standard Prestige, but it’s slightly raised and has a locking center differential as well as Drive Mode Select. This model is distinguished visually by silver bumpers with molded-in skidplates, black and chrome exterior trim, and black roof rails.
The new Sorento S 1.6T Hybrid and EX 1.6T Hybrid models are FWD offerings with 17-inch alloy wheels, second-row captain’s chairs, a rotary dial shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, and Syntex interior fabric. The EX is further distinguished by smart cruise control and a panoramic roof. Last, there’s the upcoming new Kia Sorento PHEV, which arrives sometime in 2021. Equipped with the turbo 1.6-liter gas engine, a 66.9-kW electric motor, and a larger battery, this plug-in hybrid Sorento is an AWD model with an expected electric-only range of 30 miles. We expect the Sorento PHEV to be well-equipped.
Kia doesn’t skimp on the safety or technology options either. Even at the base, you get Kia’s suite of safety equipment, including a forward-collision warning system and automatic emergency braking that senses not just cars but also pedestrians and cyclists. Also standard: a driver-attention warning that sends audible and visual warnings if it senses the driver getting sleepy. You even get a rear occupant alarm across the entire line up so that you don’t forget a child or pet in the back.
What does the future hold: The Sorento is all-new this year, so we expect some light refreshes going forward. See the 2021 Kia Sorento models for sale near you
Equinox vs. Sorento: Strengths comparison
Chevrolet Equinox benefits: Lower starting price; user-friendly infotainment system
Kia Sorento benefits: More powertrain options; better warranty
2021 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2021 Kia Sorento: Which is better?
The 2021 Chevrolet Equinox has a budget-friendly starting price bolstered by good resale value. A roomy interior for five and user-friendly infotainment are plusses. The 2021 Kia Sorento is an excellent option if you need to carry more than five passengers and are looking for something with a variety of engines. For our money, we’d go with the Sorento. See 2021 Chevrolet Equinox models for sale or See 2021 Kia Sorento models for sale
|Popular Powertrains||2021 Chevrolet Equinox||2021 Kia Sorento|
|Engine||1.5-liter turbo I-4||2.5-liter 4-cylinder|
|Horsepower||170 hp at 5,600 rpm||191 hp at 6,100 rpm|
|Torque||203 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm||181 lb ft at 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|Fuel Economy||28 mpg (26 city/31 highway)||26 mpg (24 city/29 highway)|
|Also Available||AWD||AWD, Hybrid, Plug-in hybrid, Turbocharged 4-cylinder|
|Basic warranty||3 years/36,000 miles||5 years/ 60,000 miles|
|Powertrain warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||10 years/ 100,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||5 stars||NA|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||7|
|Wheelbase||107.3 inches||110.8 inches|
|Overall Length||183.1 inches||189.0 inches|
|Width||72.6 inches||74.8 inches|
|Height||65.4 inches||66.7 inches|
|Turning Diameter||37.4 feet|
|Headroom, Front||40.0 inches||40.3 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||38.5 inches||39.1 inches|
|Legroom, Front||40.9 inches||41.4 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||39.7 inches||29.6 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||57.2 inches||59.1 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||55.5 inches||58.1 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||103 cubic feet||NA|
|EPA Cargo Volume||29.9/63.9 cubic feet||38.5 cubic feet/75.5 cubic feet|