2019 BMW i3 vs. 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The i3 has standard Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The Kona Electric doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the i3 and the Kona Electric have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available crash mitigating brakes.

Warranty

The i3’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Kona Electric’s (12 vs. 7 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Kona Electric.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 2 places higher in reliability than Hyundai.

Brakes and Stopping

The i3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Kona Electric are solid, not vented.

The i3 stops much shorter than the Kona Electric:

 

i3

Kona Electric

 

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The i3s’ 195/50R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Kona Electric’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 17-inch wheels are available on the Kona Electric. The i3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the Kona Electric’s (32.4 feet vs. 34.8 feet). The i3s’ turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Kona Electric’s (33.8 feet vs. 34.8 feet).

Chassis

The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 800 pounds less than the Hyundai Kona Electric.

The i3s is 6.5 inches shorter than the Kona Electric, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Hyundai. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 43% lower rating, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the i3, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Kona Electric doesn’t offer a memory system.

The i3’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Kona Electric’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the i3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Kona Electric can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The i3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Kona Electric SE/Limited’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the i3 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Kona Electric doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The i3’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Kona Electric doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.

The i3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Kona Electric doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW i3, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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