2018 Kia Sportage vs Honda HR-V

The last Kia Sportage followed closely in the tracks of the Optima sedan, transforming Kia in the minds of many people and becoming a worldwide hit. But what’s this fourth-generation model doing against of its smaller rivals? Let’s take a look at the match up between the Sportage and the Honda HR-V.

2018 Kia Sportage vs Honda HR-V

How Do They Look?: Kia Sportage

The Sportage is a stylish crossover, no doubt about it, though the front end may not instantly have your heart. But give it a chance, especially with the right color combination, and its aggressive sporty look will win over even the biggest skeptic. The Sportage offers an individual, striking design, exactly what the vanilla SUV market needs.

The Honda HR-V can look very different when seen from different angles, but you’ll have to find just the right one for it to look anywhere near as desirable as the Sportage. The front is stubby and a little odd, and it’s hard to see what type of buyers Honda is aiming for with this one.

What’s Under the Hood?: Kia Sportage

Although the Sportage is no sports car, the performance from its two powertrains is above average for the segment. LX and EX versions come equipped with a 2.4-liter inline-four developing 181 horsepower, while the SX Turbo ups the ante considerably with a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 240 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.

Honda drops the ball here, disappointing us with the HR-V’s performance. The fact that there’s just one engine in the entire line compounds that feeling. With just 141 horsepower and 127 lb.-ft. of torque at its disposal, the HR-V’s 1.8-liter inline-four is no more than adequate at best, and therefore hands another easy win to the Sportage.

How About the Cabin?: Honda HR-V

Forget about the days when Kia had a reputation for selling cheap and cheerful vehicles of limited quality. The interior of the latest Sportage is decidedly upscale with a classy feel and high-quality materials throughout. The ride can be a little firm with some of the bigger wheels on it, but there’s really very little to find fault with in this interior.

Where the Honda excels is in providing an almost inordinate amount of interior space inside such a compact package. The HR-V has the much-lauded Magic Seat, which allows you to create a seemingly unending configuration of ways to use cabin space–and they’re all more impressive than the next. The Kia is bigger externally by almost every measure, but you won’t find any difference between them in terms of interior space. The Honda’s interior isn’t of quite the same quality, as the Sportage though, but the creative use of space here gives the HR-V the nod.

What About the Safety Ratings?: Kia Sportage

On the face of things, the Sportage getting five stars for overall safety from the NHTSA and Top Safety Pick status from the IIHS would leave most people happy with its safety credentials. You’ll also find more standard safety options, especially in terms of active safety features.

By Honda’s generally very high standard, the HR-V is a little disappointing in the safety stakes. It does get the full five-stars from the feds at the NHTSA, but the IIHS isn’t as generous and the HR-V doesn’t get a Top Safety Pick rating.

Learn More about the Kia Sportage

The HR-V doesn’t just fall short of Honda’s general safety standard. The HR-V is not as desirable, practical, or attractive as many other Hondas and we’re not sure who would buy one and why when such great alternatives–like the Kia Sportage–are on the market. The Sportage is more expensive, yes, but the money is well-spent in dynamic style and impressive performance, as well as safety credentials and a posh interior that you’ll love. We highly recommend the Sportage.