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2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid vs. 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid: Which Is Better?

The 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid and the 2021 Kia Sorento are two recent arrivals in the compact SUV field offering fuel efficiency and space. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • The Honda CR-V Hybrid comes in three trim levels for 2021.
  • The Kia Sorento was redesigned for 2021.

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid front right side in Obsidian Blue Pearl
The 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid in Sonic Grey Pearl

Base price: $30,560 /  Read our 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid Review

What we like: Good fuel economy; standard AWD; roomy interior; tons of standard safety tech; lively hybrid powertrain.

What we would change: Outdated infotainment system; more affordable rivals.

Overview: The 2021 Honda CR-V hybrid is a hybrid compact crossover SUV. The CR-V in all forms is wildly popular because it offers a good blend of safety, affordability, and comfort. The hybrid model comes in three different trims.

What’s new for 2021: This year, the base LX trim gets the ax from the CR-V line-up.

Features and technology: At its base, the hybrid EX comes well-equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, HD Radio, SiriusXM, HondaLink, 8-speaker audio, a power moonroof, a power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic monitor, heated power mirrors, automatic high-beams, LED fog lights, and the Honda Sensing safety tech suite, which includes a collision mitigation braking system and a road departure mitigation system.

The EX-L builds on these features and adds a leather interior, a power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power front passenger seat, and ambient interior lighting.

The Touring line is at the top of the line, which adds a hands-free power liftgate, wireless charging, 19-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, navigation, roof rails, 9-speaker premium audio, and rain-sensing wipers.

Across the line, the CR-V Hybrid comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of safety features, which includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

On the road, the CR-V Hybrid is full of pleasant surprises. It’s smooth and comfortable around town, and its turbocharged hybrid powertrain is spunkier than you might expect. All-wheel drive comes as standard.

What does the future hold: The Honda CR-V should get a full update for 2022. See 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid models for sale

2021 Kia Sorento

2021 Kia Sorento Driver Side Profile in Metallic Green
The 2021 Kia Sorento in Aruba Green

Base Price: $30,565 / Read our 2021 Kia Sorento Review

What we like: Seats up to seven; choice of gas engines; available hybrid; lots of tech features.

What we would change: Hybrid not available with AWD; minimal luggage space behind the third row.

Overview: The new 2021 Kia Sorento is an appealing package. Like its predecessor, the Sorento is unusual in that it manages to wedge in a third-row seat. Predictably, it’s strictly kid-sized but may be useful for handling additions to the carpool. There’s very little luggage space with it in use, but fold it away, and there’s 38.5 cubic feet or 75.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. The two base trims have a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 191 horsepower, an 8-speed automatic, and either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). EPA combined fuel economy is 26 mpg with FWD and 24 with AWD. A new 2.5-liter turbo replaces the previous V6 in upper trims, and with 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque, it’s very quick — it’s also nearly as efficient as the base engine. The real fuel economy champ is the new turbocharged 1.6-liter hybrid that returns 37 mpg — unfortunately, it’s FWD only. The top-spec X-Line SX-Prestige AWD has more ground clearance and locking center differential for additional off-road ability. On pavement, the Sorento is comfortable and nimble.

What’s new for 2021: The Sorento has been completely redesigned for 2021.

Features and technology: The 2021 Kia Sorento is offered in LX, S, EX, SX, and SX Prestige grades. All can be had with AWD; adding AWD to the SX Prestige creates the off-road-themed SX Prestige X-Line. The Sorento Hybrid comes in S or EX form only. All Sorentos come standard with forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection; upper trims add cyclist detection and Junction Assist, which prevents you from turning in front of oncoming traffic. Also standard on all models are blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert (both with auto-braking on all but the base car) and lane-keeping assist. All but the base LX get heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, and Safe Exit Assist (which warns passengers not to open their door if it senses approaching traffic). EX and higher trims include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability. The standard 8-inch touchscreen includes wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, while the 10.25-inch unit in the SX and SX Prestige has the wired version. Prestige trims have a digital instrument cluster with Kia’s neat blind-spot view monitor that shows a camera image of the rear blind spot when a turn signal is actuated. Other Prestige features include leather, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

What does the future hold: A plug-in-hybrid variant is set to join the lineup midway through the 2021 model year. It has 261 hp and 30 miles of EV driving range. See 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid models for sale near you.

CR-V Hybrid vs. Sorento: Strengths Comparison

2021 Honda CR-V vs 2021 Kia SorentoHonda CR-V Hybrid Benefits: Lively driving; reliability; resale.

Kia Sorento Benefits: Third-row seat; better fuel economy; available hybrid; more high-tech features; longer warranty.

2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid vs. 2021 Kia Sorento: Which Is Better?

2021 Honda CR-V vs 2021 Kia Sorento Exterior

We really like the Kia Sorento for its smart use of space and advanced technology. While you really cannot go wrong with either the 2021 Honda CR-V or the 2021 Kia Sorento, the Kia slightly edges out the Honda in this comparison.  See 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid models for sale or See 2021 Kia Sorento models for sale

Popular Powertrains 2021 Honda CR-V Hybrid 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid
Engine 1.5-liter turbo I4 1.6-liter turbo I4 hybrid
Horsepower 190 hp @ 5,600 rpm 177 hp @ 5,550 RPM
Torque 179 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm 195 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
Transmission CVT 6-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 30 mpg (28 city/34 hwy) 37 mpg (39 city/35 hwy)
Also Available 2.0-liter I4 hybrid; AWD PHEV
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 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 6
Wheelbase 104.8 inches 110.8 inches
Overall Length 182.1 inches 189.4 inches
Width 73.0 inches 74.8 inches
Height 66.1 inches 66.7 inches
Turning Diameter 37.4 feet 37.8 feet
Headroom, Front 40.1 inches 40.3 inches
Headroom, Rear 39.2 inches 36.8 inches
Legroom, Front 41.3 inches 41.4 inches
Legroom, Rear 40.4inches 40.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 57.9 inches 59.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.6 inches 58.1 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 105.9 cubic feet 105.3 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 33.2 cubic feet 38.5 cubic feet

Abigail Bassett
Abigail Bassett
Abigail Bassett is a freelance journalist based in L.A. and she's covered automotive topics for a variety of well-known outlets including Fortune, Forbes, CNN and Motor Trend. She's also a television and video host and regularly covers breaking news, social justice, technology, health and wellness, and science in addition to her car coverage. When she's not working on her next project she's... Read More about Abigail Bassett

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