2021 Hyundai Kona vs. 2020 Kia Niro

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 2020/10/24

The Kona offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Kona SEL Plus/Night/Limited/Ultimate has standard Blue Link, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, 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 Niro 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 and the Niro 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, plastic fuel tanks, 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 rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Kona’s corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Niro’s (7/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

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. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Niro.

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 35 points higher than the Niro.

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 Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 3 places higher in reliability than Kia.

Engine

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The Kona’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 8 more horsepower (147 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid. The Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 36 more horsepower (175 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Kona is faster than the Kia Niro:

Kona 4 cyl.

Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate

Niro

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

6.4 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

15.1 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.6 MPH

91.7 MPH

80.3 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 2020/10/24

The Kona has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (13.2 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

© 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 2020/10/24

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

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Kona AWD/1.6T’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Niro:

Kona AWD/1.6T

Niro

Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

10.3 inches

The Kona stops much shorter than the Niro:

Kona

Niro

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

152 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/10/24

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

The Kona has a standard space-saver spare (not available on 1.6T/AWD) so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Niro; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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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 Niro doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Kona Ultimate handles at .85 G’s, while the Niro LXS pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Kona Ultimate executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Niro LXS (26.9 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Hyundai Kona may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 200 pounds less than the Kia Niro.

The Kona is 7.5 inches shorter than the Niro, making the Kona easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 Niro’s liftover is 29 inches.

Ergonomics

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The Kona SEL Plus/Limited/Ultimate 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 Niro doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Niro doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Niro’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Niro doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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 2020/10/24

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Kona third among small suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Niro isn’t in the top three.

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

The Hyundai Kona outsold the Kia Niro by almost three to one during 2019.

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

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