2021 Kia Sportage vs. 2021 Hyundai Kona

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Sportage (except LX/S) offers optional Parking Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Kona doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Sportage and the Kona 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage second among compact suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Kona isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 10th.

Engine

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The Sportage has more powerful engines than the Kona:

Horsepower

Torque

Sportage 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder

181 HP

175 lbs.-ft.

Sportage SX Turbo 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

237 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Sportage SX Turbo 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

240 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Kona 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder

147 HP

132 lbs.-ft.

Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder

175 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Kia Sportage 4 cyl. is faster than the Hyundai Kona 4 cyl.:

Sportage

Kona

Zero to 30 MPH

3.5 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

9.6 sec

11.1 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

6.1 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

17.4 sec

18.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

80 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Sportage has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kona (16.4 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Sportage’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Kona:

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

Kona

Kona AWD/1.6T

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.9 inches

10.3 inches

11.2 inches

The Sportage stops much shorter than the Kona:

Sportage

Kona

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Sportage has larger standard tires than the Kona (225/60R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Kona (245/45R19 vs. 235/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sportage LX has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kona SE. The Sportage SX Turbo’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Kona Night/Limited/Ultimate.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Kia Sportage has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Kona 4x2 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sportage’s wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the Kona (105.1 inches vs. 102.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 1.8 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Kona.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Kona SE pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Kona SE (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Sportage has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Kona (6.8 vs. 6.7 inches), allowing the Sportage to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

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The Sportage has 4.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Kona (98.6 vs. 94.1).

The Sportage has 1 inch more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 3.6 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kona.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Sportage’s rear seats recline. The Kona’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Kona with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 19.2 cubic feet). The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kona with its rear seat folded (60.1 vs. 45.8 cubic feet).

The Sportage’s cargo area is larger than the Kona’s in almost every dimension:

Sportage

Kona

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

33.4”/68.2”

28.6”/61”

Max Width

52.3”

48”

Min Width

41”

40”

Height

29.5”

30”

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Sportage EX/SX Turbo’s power liftgate can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Sportage’s power liftgate can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The Kona doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

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The Sportage has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Kona has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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The Sportage’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Kona’s passenger power window and power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Kona doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Sportage’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Kona’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Sportage (except S/LX) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Kona doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Sportage’s optional (except S/LX) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Kona doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Sportage’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Kona doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Sportage and the Kona offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sportage has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Kona doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Kona because typical repairs cost less on the Sportage than the Kona, including $81 less for a water pump, $3 less for a muffler and $163 less for a starter.

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

The Kia Sportage has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

Sportage

Kona

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Kia Sportage outsold the Hyundai Kona by 22% during 2019.

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

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