Crossovers have been the most popular trend on the market for several years now. Every automaker wants to get in on the action, and one brand after another is releasing midsize and compact SUVs. In recent years, Kia how the brand managed to completely change its image and update its model range. Today, the Korean brand is one of the main competitors in the market, and their cars attract a huge customer base, including the youth. For 2023, the brand’s popular Kia Sportage crossover received a complete redesign, but the 2021 model year still has a pretty impressive package.
However, this same segment has Subaru It features the Forester, which is a time-honored crossover with a huge following for all sorts of reasons. The Forester received an overdue facelift this year, and Subaru’s best-selling car is now more than ever in contention for the top spot. Each crossover has different paths where one takes precedence over the other. In that vein, here are 5 reasons we like the 2021 Kia Sportage and 5 reasons we prefer the Subaru Forester over it.
10/10 The 2021 Kia Sportage still looks sporty and eye-catching
Appearance is a significant factor for buyers when choosing their car, and this is where the 2021 Kia Sportage still manages to score points. Not as polarizing as the 2023 facelift, the 2021 Sportage looks sporty and bright with its gorgeous headlights.
The Sportage has a muscular stance, and its front grille complements the exterior, making the crossover exude power. Tasteful gloss black and chrome inserts make the Kia Sportage 2021 also elegant, but at the same time look aggressive.
9/10 The 2021 Sportage SX Turbo is one of the fastest crossovers in the segment
If you’re looking for a plain old crossover that still feels young and doesn’t look sluggish, look no further than the 2021 Kia Sportage LX, S, and EX trims. With a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine, the lower trim Sportage made 181 horsepower, which was quite decent and sufficient.
However, the situation changed for the better in the SX Turbo configuration, which satisfied those who wanted more speed. With a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, the SX Turbo produced 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, sending the 2021 Sportage from 0 to 60 in just 7.2 seconds. Those numbers are still among the best in the segment today.
8/10 The interior of the 2021 Kia Sportage is a segment higher
Even though the 2021 Kia Sportage was priced lower than its competitors, and is even cheaper on the used car market today, it still has an extremely well-built interior. Quality leather and tech are packed into the cabin, and the 8-inch infotainment screen gets the job done.
There’s also a partially digital driver display and one of the best audio systems in the segment. Even on long drives, plush seats prevent discomfort, and the 2021 Kia Sportage has a more luxurious interior than its price would suggest.
7/10 Kia Sportage offers maneuverability and sporty handling
Thanks to its slightly smaller dimensions than the competition, the 2021 Kia Sportage manages to drive much sportier. With a playful and confident drive compared to the Forester or Mitsubishi Outlander, the 2021 Sportage proved to be a great experience for the enthusiast in the family.
The steering is responsive enough to impress you, and the 2021 Sportage, especially with the SX Turbo, feels like it deserves a spot on the list of great sleeper SUVs no one will see.
6/10 The 2021 Kia Sportage is a great value
Kia has always positioned the Sportage as a great value car, but for 2022, the 2021 Sportage is perhaps the best package available. A complete redesign for the 2023 model year has provided further price reductions for the 2021 Sportage used car market.
With good looks, great performance, and a tech-laden interior that’s also comfortable, the 2021 Kia Sportage is pretty much unbeatable when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck.
5/10 Subaru Forester offers more ground clearance
The 2021 Kia Sportage was built for city use, and its ground clearance proves it. Front-wheel-drive models had 6.4 inches of ground clearance, and four-wheel-drive models had 6.8 inches.
However, all Subaru Forester models of the same year came with a whopping 8.7 inches of ground clearance, a full 2.3 inches more than the base Sportage. This gives the Forester great height and stability, giving it presence and making it a better choice for off-road take-offs.
4/10 All-wheel drive is included in the standard configuration of the Subaru Forester
While buyers had to shell out extra to get AWD on their 2021 Kia Sportage, Subaru offered all-wheel drive as standard on all Forester trims.
The base trim of both cars offered the same power and torque, but the all-wheel drive sold as standard made the Forester a more spirited drive that we’re all rooting for.
3/10 The high resale value makes the Subaru Forester a smart choice
There’s no denying that while the Kia Sportage looks stylish, it’s also polarizing. The grille with a tiger nose is not suitable for everyone. Then again, the boring look of the Forester isn’t either. However, where the Forester takes the cake is its resale value, which is clearly higher than the Kia Sportage.
CarEdge estimates that the Subaru Forester will only depreciate by 22% after half a decade, with a 5-year resale value of over $27,000. However, the Kia Sportage will drop in price by 29%, and the resale value in 5 years will barely exceed $23,000.
2/10 The Subaru Forester has more standard driver assistance features
Although both the 2021 Subaru Forester and Kia Sportage have five-out-of-five safety ratings from the NHTSA, the base Kia Sportage trims don’t offer enough driver assistance features.
This is where the Subaru Forester gets ahead of the Sportage, as the crossover has been loaded with plenty of standard features with the Subaru EyeSight safety system. Driver assistance systems such as pre-collision braking and adaptive cruise control were not standard on the Kia Sportage, and the Forester prided itself on providing these features in every trim level.
1/10 The Subaru Forest Wilderness is a great SUV
While the Subaru Forester’s standard ground clearance of 8.7 inches is impressive on its own, the Wilderness crossover trim improves things with 9.2 inches of ground clearance thanks to a revised suspension.
Forester Wilderness also has a built-in pressure sensor, a 180-degree front view camera and a special screen for the system. Subaru has also outfitted the Forester Wilderness with StarTex water-resistant material, so you’ll never have to worry about getting it dirty when you hit the trails.