2021 Hyundai Kona vs. 2020 Ford Escape

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 2020/10/23

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

Both the Kona and the Escape have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, 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 Escape 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 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).

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. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Escape.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Kona’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Escape’s camshafts. If the Escape’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 60 points higher than the Escape.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 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 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 10 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

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The Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 190) than the Escape’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Kona 4 cyl. is faster than the Ford Escape turbo 3 cyl.:

Kona

Escape

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

8.4 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.6 MPH

84.5 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder is faster than the Ford Escape 2.0:

Kona

Escape

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.7 MPH

89.3 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 2020/10/23

On the EPA test cycle the Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate 4x4 Auto turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the Escape AWD 4 cyl. (26 city/29 hwy vs. 23 city/31 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Kona uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Escape 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 Escape doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Kona stops shorter than the Escape:

Kona

Escape

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Escape (235/45R18 vs. 225/65R17).

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 Escape’s standard 65 series tires. The Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Escape’s optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Kona SEL 4x4 handles at .88 G’s, while the Escape SE AWD pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Kona Ultimate executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Escape SE (26.9 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Kona’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the Escape’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.2 feet).

Chassis

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The Hyundai Kona may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 400 pounds less than the Ford Escape.

The Kona is 1 foot, 4.5 inches shorter than the Escape, making the Kona easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Kona Ultimate 4x4 is quieter than the Escape SE AWD (34 vs. 37 dB).

Ergonomics

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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 Escape’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 Escape doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Kona owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Kona will cost $230 less than the Escape over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Kona is less expensive to operate than the Escape because typical repairs cost much less on the Kona than the Escape, including $1019 less for a muffler, $58 less for front brake pads, $28 less for a starter, $46 less for fuel injection, $67 less for a fuel pump, $618 less for a timing belt/chain and $226 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 $2669 to $4996 less than for the Ford Escape.

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 2020/10/23

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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