2021 Hyundai Kona vs. 2020 Chevrolet Equinox

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/27

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Hyundai Kona 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 Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Kona’s standard Downhill Brake Control allows you to creep down safely. The Equinox doesn’t offer Downhill Brake Control.

The Kona’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Equinox doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Kona and the Equinox have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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 82 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Equinox is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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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 Equinox’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 Chevrolet covers the Equinox. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Equinox ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Kona’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Equinox’s (7/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

Hyundai pays for scheduled maintenance on the Kona for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Hyundai will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Equinox.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Kona’s reliability 25 points higher than the Equinox.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 19 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 5 more horsepower (175 vs. 170) than the Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Kona 4 cyl. is faster than the Chevrolet Equinox 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder:

Kona

Equinox

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

9.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.6 MPH

81.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/27

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

MPG

Kona

2WD

1.6 Turbo 4-cyl.

28 city/32 hwy

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/33 hwy

4WD

1.6 Turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/29 hwy

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

Equinox

2WD

1.5 Turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

4WD

1.5 Turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Kona uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Equinox with the 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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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 Equinox doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Kona stops much shorter than the Equinox:

Kona

Equinox

70 to 0 MPH

171 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The Kona SE’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Equinox’s standard 65 series tires. The Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Equinox Premier’s optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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

The Kona has variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Equinox doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Kona SEL 4x4 handles at .88 G’s, while the Equinox LT AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Kona Ultimate executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Equinox LT AWD (26.9 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Kona’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Equinox’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The Kona’s turning circle is 6.8 feet tighter than the Equinox w/19” wheels’ (34.8 feet vs. 41.6 feet).

Chassis

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The Hyundai Kona may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 pounds less than the Chevrolet Equinox.

The Kona is 1 foot, 7.1 inches shorter than the Equinox, making the Kona easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Kona has .6 inches more front legroom and .5 inches more rear hip room than the Equinox.

The front step up height for the Kona is 1.2 inches lower than the Equinox (16” vs. 17.2”). The Kona’s rear step up height is 1.4 inches lower than the Equinox’s (16.1” vs. 17.5”).

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Kona easier. The Kona’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 27.5 inches, while the Equinox’s liftover is 28.6 inches.

Ergonomics

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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 Equinox doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Kona SEL/Night/Limited/Ultimate’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Equinox’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

The Kona Ultimate’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Equinox’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Kona’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Equinox’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

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

Economic Advantages

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The Kona will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Kona will retain 44.01% to 46.2% of its original price after five years, while the Equinox only retains 35.23% to 40.67%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Kona is less expensive to operate than the Equinox because it costs $482 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Kona than the Equinox, including $34 less for a water pump, $412 less for a muffler, $197 less for front brake pads, $68 less for a starter, $327 less for fuel injection, $440 less for a fuel pump, $357 less for a timing belt/chain and $107 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Hyundai Kona will be $4461 to $7606 less than for the Chevrolet Equinox.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/27

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Hyundai Kona and the Chevrolet Equinox, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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