Small SUV’s and crossovers have all but taken over the segment that sedans and hatchbacks used to occupy. The small SUV’s such as Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro are occupying a new space that is quickly growing. Introducing new technologies such as hybrid drivetrains and semi-autonomous driving, the SUV’s are becoming more high tech and competitive than ever.
The 2019 Kia Niro and 2019 Hyundai Kona are competent subcompact SUV’s loaded with modern technology and fuel economy to compete across multiple segments.
The amount of modern technology packed into these new crossovers is unbelievable. Both vehicles are available with an 8” touch screen with available apps like traffic and weather. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available in both SUV’s. This means your smartphone can be seamlessly integrated into your vehicle and can use apps like Messages, Maps, Spotify and more. The hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology of the Kia Niro gives it a distinct advantage over the Kona. However, when both vehicles are outfitted with the fully electric powertrain, they are directly competitive. Both vehicles are available with automatic climate control, heated seats, and a full array of safety tech, making this section a tie between the two cars.
Safety features have skyrocketed in the past few years. Passive safety features such as crumple zones, dual front, side and knee airbags, 3-point seatbelts and 4-wheel disc brakes are available on both vehicles. Active safety features like advanced traction control, blind spot monitoring, automatic braking, and lane keep assist are available on both vehicles as well. The Hyundai Smart Sense package and Kia’s Advanced Technology, which encompasses all of the safety features, can also be added to any trim level, meaning you can get the full array of safety features without having to splurge on anything else. However, the Hyundai has the features available as standard at a lower trim level, making them a more affordable option.
Performance can mean a lot of different things to different people. Whether you are looking to go 200 mph or get 70 mpg, the term can refer to very different figures, but stem from the same performance technology. As a hybrid, the Kia Niro has far superior fuel economy. Ringing in an impressive 52 city and 49 highway mpg, the Kia Niro is clearly the winner compared to the Hyundai Kona’s 28 city and 32 highway mpg, though those are still impressive numbers on Hyundai’s behalf. That being said, if a sportier ride is what you are looking for, then the Hyundai definitely takes the cake. The Hyundai Kona’s 1.6l turbo four-cylinder engine is good for 175 hp, ample power for a small SUV. It also comes available with AWD, a feature the Niro does not offer. The Kia Niro’s hybrid powertrain is good for 139 hp, a noticeable difference between the platforms. Your personal preference is going to determine which of these vehicles has better performance. If you are looking for outstanding fuel economy, the Kia Niro is the choice for you. If you are more interested in a sporty fun ride, the Hyundai Kona is going to give you a more ample package.
When comparing vehicles from companies that operate under the same umbrella, such as Kia and Hyundai, it is often difficult to discern the differences. These two vehicles, however, are of a very different nature. The two vehicles may share many mechanical components, but they use them in very different manners. The 2019 Hyundai Kona is a sporty small SUV with decent performance for its size and offers a fun capable driving experience. The 2019 Kia Niro on the other hand, is an economically driven platform that offers outstanding fuel economy and a well thought out and well-built interior, especially in this price range. Being a fan of quick little hatchbacks, I like the idea of a sporty little SUV to take the kids off to school and take the long way home. With ample fuel economy for longer trips as well, it offers a well-rounded package.