2019 Hyundai Kona Electric vs. 2019 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

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 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Kona Electric has standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The ForTwo Electric Drive offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive 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 ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Kona Electric’s blind spot mirrors use wide-angle convex mirrors mounted in the corner of each side view mirror to reveal objects that may be in the driver’s blind spots. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Kona Electric has standard Blue Link, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Kona Electric and the ForTwo Electric Drive have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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 rear parking sensors and driver alert monitors.

The Hyundai Kona Electric weighs 1380 to 1400 pounds more than the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive’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 Smart covers the ForTwo Electric Drive. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the ForTwo Electric Drive ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Kona Electric’s corrosion warranty is 3 years and unlimited miles longer than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s (7/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are over 32 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are Smart dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Kona Electric’s warranty.

Engine

The Kona Electric’s electric motor produces 121 more horsepower (201 vs. 80) and 142 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 118) than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s electric motor.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Kona Electric is faster than the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive:

Kona

ForTwo

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95.9 MPH

77.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Kona Electric gets better fuel mileage than the ForTwo Electric Drive (132 city/108 hwy vs. 124 city/94 hwy MPGe).

The Kona Electric’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 258 miles on a full charge, almost four-and-a-half times as far as the ForTwo Electric Drive’s 58 mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Kona

ForTwo

Front Rotors

12 inches

10.2 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

9” drums

The Hyundai Kona Electric has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the ForTwo Electric Drive. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Kona Electric has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Kona Electric has larger tires than the ForTwo Electric Drive (215/55R17 vs. 165/65R15). The Kona Electric Limited/Ultimate’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ForTwo Electric Drive (215/55R17 vs. 185/50R16).

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 ForTwo Electric Drive’s standard 65 series front and 60 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Kona Electric has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the ForTwo Electric Drive. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

The Hyundai Kona Electric’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Hyundai Kona Electric has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Kona Electric’s wheelbase is 28.7 inches longer than on the ForTwo Electric Drive (102.4 inches vs. 73.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Kona Electric is 4.2 inches wider in the front and 6.1 inches wider in the rear than on the ForTwo Electric Drive.

The Kona Electric Ultimate handles at .79 G’s, while the ForTwo Electric Drive Passion Coupe pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Kona Electric has standard seating for 5 passengers; the ForTwo Electric Drive can only carry 2.

The Kona Electric has 48.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ForTwo Electric Drive (94.1 vs. 45.4).

Cargo Capacity

The Kona Electric has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the ForTwo Electric Drive Coupe (19.2 vs. 9.2 cubic feet).

The Kona Electric’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Kona Electric has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Kona Electric Ultimate has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

Proximity Key standard on the Kona Electric allows you to unlock the doors, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Kona Electric has a standard rear wiper. The ForTwo Electric Drive Cabrio doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The Kona Electric has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The ForTwo Electric Drive only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

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 ForTwo Electric Drive 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 ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Kona Electric’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Smart charges extra for heated mirrors on the ForTwo Electric Drive.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Kona Electric has a standard Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Recommendations

The Kona Electric was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” in 2019. The ForTwo Electric Drive 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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