2019 Hyundai Kona vs. 2019 Ford Escape

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Kona (except SE/Limited) offers optional 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 Escape offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Both the Kona and the Escape have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Hyundai Kona is safer than the Escape:

 

Kona

Escape

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Kona its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Escape was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Kona comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Escape’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Kona 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Escape. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Escape ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Kona’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Escape’s (7 vs. 5 years).

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked fifth.

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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 8 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Kona is faster than the Ford Escape:

 

Kona 4 cyl.

Kona 1.6T

Escape 4 cyl.

Escape 1.5 turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

7.5 sec

9.1 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

15.9 sec

16.9 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.6 MPH

88.1 MPH

80.9 MPH

78.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Kona gets better fuel mileage than the Escape:

 

 

 

MPG

Kona

 

FWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

27 city/33 hwy

 

 

1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

28 city/32 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

 

 

1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

26 city/29 hwy

Escape

 

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

 

 

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

AWD

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

 

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Kona uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Escape with the 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Hyundai Kona Limited/Ultimate, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Escape.

The Kona offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Escape doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The Kona stops much shorter than the Escape:

 

Kona

Escape

 

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

129 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The Kona SEL 4x4 handles at .88 G’s, while the Escape Titanium AWD pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Kona Ultimate 4x4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Escape SE (27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Kona’s turning circle is 3.9 feet tighter than the Escape’s (34.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The Hyundai Kona may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 600 pounds less than the Ford Escape.

The Kona is 1 foot, 2.1 inches shorter than the Escape, making the Kona easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Kona Ultimate 4x4 is quieter than the Escape Titanium AWD:

 

Kona

Escape

At idle

34 dB

42 dB

70 MPH Cruising

70 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the Kona is .8 inches lower than the Escape (16” vs. 16.8”). The Kona’s rear step up height is 1.4 inches lower than the Escape’s (16.1” vs. 17.5”).

Ergonomics

The Kona 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 Escape doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Kona’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 Escape’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Kona is less expensive to operate than the Escape because it costs $54 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Kona than the Escape, including $12 less for front brake pads, $57 less for a fuel pump, $247 less for a timing belt/chain and $249 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Kona, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Escape isn't recommended.

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