2021 Hyundai Kona vs. 2020 Subaru Forester

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 2020/10/30

Compared to metal, the Kona’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Forester has a metal gas tank.

Both the Kona and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

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

The Kona’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Forester’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. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forester.

There are over 31 percent more Hyundai dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Kona’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Kona has a standard 640-amp battery. The Forester’s 620-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 33 points higher than the Forester.

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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 27th, 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 1 place higher in reliability than Subaru.

Engine

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The Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Kona is faster than the Subaru Forester:

Kona 4 cyl.

Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate

Forester

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

2.5 sec

3.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

6.4 sec

9.6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

13.9 sec

11.2 sec

15.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

15.1 sec

17.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.6 MPH

91.7 MPH

82.3 MPH

Environmental Friendliness

© 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 2020/10/30

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Hyundai Kona as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Subaru Forester is only certified to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV) standards.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Kona stops much shorter than the Forester:

Kona

Forester

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

138 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 Forester (235/45R18 vs. 225/60R17).

The Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forester Sport/Limited/Touring’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Kona SEL 4x4 handles at .88 G’s, while the Forester Limited pulls only .78 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 Forester Touring (26.9 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Kona’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Forester’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Hyundai Kona may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 550 pounds less than the Subaru Forester.

The Kona is 1 foot, 6.1 inches shorter than the Forester, 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 Forester Limited (34 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space

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The rear step up height for the Kona is 1.1 inches lower than the Forester (16.1” vs. 17.25”).

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 Forester doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Kona and the Forester have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Kona is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Forester prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Hyundai Kona SEL Plus/Limited/Ultimate has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Forester doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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The Kona is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Kona is less expensive to operate than the Forester because it costs $227 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Kona than the Forester, including $30 less for a water pump, $46 less for front brake pads, $218 less for a starter, $400 less for fuel injection, $147 less for a fuel pump, $120 less for front struts and $161 less for a timing belt/chain.

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 2020/10/30

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 Forester isn’t in the top three.

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