2019 Hyundai Kona Electric vs. 2019 BMW i3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Hyundai Kona Electric are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW i3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Kona Electric has a standard Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The i3 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Kona Electric’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The i3 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the Kona Electric’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The i3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Kona Electric and the i3 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, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and driver alert monitors.

The Hyundai Kona Electric weighs 485 to 802 pounds more than the BMW i3. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The Kona Electric comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The i3’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Kona Electric 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than BMW covers the i3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the i3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 2 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Kona Electric’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 11th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 8th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Kona Electric gets better fuel mileage than the i3 with its standard engine (132 city/108 hwy vs. 124 city/102 hwy).

The Kona Electric’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 258 miles on a full charge. The i3 can only travel about 153 miles before it has to start its internal combustion engine.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Kona Electric’s brake rotors are larger than those on the i3:

 

Kona Electric

i3

Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

11 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Kona Electric has larger tires than the i3 (215/55R17 vs. 155/70R19). The Kona Electric Limited/Ultimate’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the i3 (215/55R17 vs. 175/55R20).

The Kona Electric’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the i3’s standard 70 series tires.

The Kona Electric has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the i3; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The Kona Electric has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The i3’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Kona Electric has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Kona Electric flat and controlled during cornering. The i3’s suspension doesn’t offer stabilizer bars.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Kona Electric’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the i3 (102.4 inches vs. 101.2 inches).

Chassis

The design of the Hyundai Kona Electric amounts to more than styling. The Kona Electric has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the i3 (.29 to .33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Kona Electric get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Kona Electric has standard seating for 5 passengers; the i3 can only carry 4.

The Kona Electric has 10.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the i3 (94.1 vs. 83.6).

The Kona Electric has 1 inch more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom and 5.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the i3.

Ergonomics

The Kona Electric has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The i3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Kona Electric’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the i3’s power windows.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Kona Electric Limited/Ultimate detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The i3 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Kona Electric has standard extendable sun visors. The i3 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Kona Electric SEL/Limited/Ultimate has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The i3 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Recommendations

The Kona Electric was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” in 2019. The i3 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

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

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