Kia Sportage vs. Toyota RAV4: Battle of Plugins!

The least we can say is that Kia hit the nail on the head with its new Sportage: it surprised us in its first test, before convincing an expert panel and becoming the women’s favorite family SUV in 2022 ! But the RAV4 isn’t resting on its laurels either. He managed to seduce more than a million people worldwide in 2021. This made it the best-selling car in the world last year! Today it is the plug-in hybrid versions that face each other in what promises to be a real battle of the titans.

Finishing, equipment: tie

On board, there’s no doubt that Kia means it with the Sportage: dual curved 12.3-inch displays, a whole host of driving aids, without overlooking its nearly flawless finish. No, really, we have almost no comments for the Korean. We could criticize its infotainment system, which isn’t always easy to use, or its somewhat outdated-looking GPS. But that’s really nitpicking, especially because the RAV4 doesn’t score better in this area…


Admittedly, our test car was not yet benefiting from the new 12.3-inch dual screen for the driver and 10.5-inch on the board shelf, which started production at the end of last year. However, that does not change his equipment, which is also super complete here, and his excellent workmanship. All this in a slightly rougher atmosphere. The two are equally well equipped and finished, so they only differ in their style. And since there is no arguing about taste and color: draw!


Comfort: Toyota at an advantage

In terms of comfort, it is not a photo finish, the Japanese SUV wins hands down! It must be said that these two competitors are in the same league in terms of interior space and sound insulation. So it is only the suspension comfort that distinguishes them. And in this area, Toyota and Kia clearly see it differently…


Toyota is all about smoothness. The RAV4 is a flying carpet, undisturbed by the bumpy surface of the Belgian road network. Quite an achievement when you consider that it weighs about 2 tons! The Sportage, which is nevertheless several hundred kilos lighter, is stiffer on the road. Kia has tried to choose the middle way between flexibility and dynamics. A choice that inevitably plays tricks on him when it comes to comfort.


Engine: Toyota at an advantage

Under the hood of the Korean we find a 1.6 liter turbo coupled to a 13.8 kWh battery. The whole produces a generous 265 hp and 350 Nm of torque. A power with which it accelerates to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 191 km/h. In its all-electric mode, Kia announces an autonomy of up to 70 km. However, Toyota has used the big guns to resist this beautiful technical sheet. This plug-in version of the RAV4 has a large four-cylinder 2.487 cm³ coupled to a battery of 18.1 kWh! With this, the Japanese can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 180 km/h. Toyota indicates that it can drive 65 km without having to switch on its combustion engine.

In practice, the accelerations of the RAV4 are really a lot faster. In terms of their electric autonomy, they are about the same. But with a flat battery, it is again the Japanese SUV that dominates. On a varied route of a hundred kilometers, the Sportage only needed 6.2 liters of petrol. A nice achievement. But the RAV4 only swallowed 4.9 liters for the same distance! Faster, just as durable in its electric mode and more economical: it makes sense that the Japanese gains an advantage in this chapter.


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Handling: Kia at an advantage

As mentioned above, the Sportage has stiffer suspension than its competitor. A feature that detracts from its comfort, but makes it shine with a more cohesive handling. It is not a sporty SUV, but it colors within the lines in the corners and its rebounds are good, despite a less powerful engine than in the RAV4.


It is precisely because of the softer suspension that the latter leans more in the corners. It even has a slight tendency to sway in tight corners, but not so much that this is a problem. It is only against a homogeneous competitor like the Sportage that the RAV4 is no match.


Budget: Kia in favor

In Belgium, prices for the Kia Sportage with this plug-in hybrid powertrain start from 47,190 euros in the Pulse version. That’s not nothing… His smaller combustion engine, on the other hand, allows him to enjoy a (much) lower tax rate, both in the north and in the south of the country.

The RAV4 is considerably more expensive. With a starting price of 58,350 euros, it is more than 10,000 euros more expensive than its competitor today! And that’s not all, because his 2.5 liter combustion engine plays tricks on him in terms of taxes, although fortunately for Toyota that is only the case in the south of our country…

Conclusion: draw

Our two SUVs come out as equals at the end of this comparison. The excellent RAV4 seduces with its comfort and the economy of its drivetrain. But the Kia Sportage will not let itself be done! It is less comfortable or economical with an empty battery, but it has better road holding and is above all… 10,000 euros cheaper!


Thank you to the Sucrerie de Wavre for the use of its facilities.

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Kia Sportage Toyota RAV4 Battle Plugins

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