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2021 Hyundai Kona vs Kia Niro

2021 Hyundai Kona vs Kia Niro

2021 Kona vs Niro - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Just because you have a family does not mean you have to give up your dreams of owning a sports car. Although an upscale two-door coupe may no longer meet your spatial needs and flexibility requirements, you have other options to make you feel young and achieve the agility you desire. Sporty crossovers are some of the most popular considerations for buyers in search of family-friendly vehicles with athletic attitudes. Encompassing everything a sport-minded individual wants in a new vehicle, crossover models still maintain a level of off-road capability and a bold appearance that buyers enjoy.

Two models that are commonly considered by such buyers include the 2021 Hyundai Kona and the 2021 Kia Niro. Similar in look and attributes, the Hyundai Kona and the Kia Niro are charismatic from their names to their design features. Spunky and fun, the look of the Hyundai Kona and the Kia Niro provide a fresh take on what modern crossovers are meant to be. Due to their relative likeness, the 2021 Hyundai Kona and the 2021 Kia Niro are often considered at the same time by enthusiastic car buyers. These crossovers are undoubtedly, but they are also different in ways that lead buyers to prefer one over the other.

Produced by brands that are known for their efforts toward reliability and innovation, the Kona and the Niro were meant to last a long time for owners. Fun to drive with exceptional fuel economy, the 2021 Hyundai Kona and the 2021 Kia Niro were made to drive down crowded city streets and commute across busy highways with ease. Making driving easy for buyers, these two models require little monitoring and direction. They know the way to success and can get there with their intrinsic motivation for consumer satisfaction. Let us look at how these two crossovers measure up in the areas listed below.

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The Powertrain

The crisp and responsive handling of the 2021 Hyundai Kona and the 2021 Kia Niro does not come by change. Every powertrain component and performance attribute of these crossovers has been carefully planned out. The main difference between the Hyundai Kona and the Kia Niro is how each of these models maintains their powertrain regimen. For the 2021 Hyundai Kona, this means incorporating two different powertrain options. Lower trims are equipped with a four-cylinder engine that can generate 147 horsepower due to its pairing with a six-speed automatic transmission. Another option offered in the 2021 Hyundai Kona is its four-cylinder that accompanies its two higher trims, which can produce 175 horsepower and is paired with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

The 2021 Kia Niro takes a different approach to modern power initiation. Relying on a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the Kia Niro utilizes a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that runs on gasoline and pairs it with an electric motor. A six-speed dual clutch transmission is the setup of choice in the 2021 Kia Niro, which results in a horsepower production of 139hp. This gas and electric duo of the Kia Niro hybrid serves well as an alternative to other modern electric models. In fact, the Kia Niro also introduces a purely electric model that is separate. For the most part, the 2021 Kia Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid are top choices for buyers.

Due to the difference in their engine fueling, the fuel economy of the 2021 Hyundai Kona and the 2021 Kia Niro varies greatly. Performing at an average level for a crossover with a turbocharged engine, the 2021 Hyundai Kona averages 32 highway mpg in fuel efficiency. In lieu of a turbocharged powertrain, the Kona's four-cylinder option improves its fuel economy by one mere mile per hour. However, the 2021 Kia Niro hybrid is must more conservative of its fuel and averages 53 city MPG in fuel economy. Yet, the plug-in hybrid blows all these stats out of the water with a max of 105 MPGe with a 26-mile all-electric driving range.


No matter how innovative a crossover is, if it cannot drive in a way that is beneficial to buyers it will not receive consumer support. Based on the success of the 2021 Hyundai Kona and the 2021 Kia Niro, one can tell these models offer a good driving experience to most consumers. The 2021 Hyundai Kona is quick shifting and makes navigating through daily traffic seem like a breeze. Although this crossover suffers a bit in tight traffic spaces and travel at low speeds, the Hyundai Kona is generally agile and fun to drive. Complete with a special suspension configuration that minimized bumps and smooths out imperfections, buyers can expect a pleasant ride in this model on any street conditions.

Kia's venture into a plug-in hybrid model, such as the Niro, has taken off but not without some downfalls. Excessive road noise within the cabin of this crossover can make it difficult to hear or converse with passengers in the back seats. The swiftness and accuracy of the Niro's steering makes up for the extra road noise, though. Doing well on uneven roads and bumpy pavement is a strong point of the 2021 Kia Niro, and it has its suspension to thank for that. Paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel also provide easy access to quick and seamless shifting when the 2021 Kai Niro needs it the most.

The exterior of the 2021 Hyundai Kona and the 2021 Kia Niro leads customers to assume their interior is just as fun and exciting as their playful designs on the outside. For the 2021 Hyundai Kona, this assumption is not necessarily correct. Its cabin is comforting and charming, providing a level of convenience to buyers that other crossovers cannot offer. Despite its eccentric outward appearance, the cabin of the Kona is surprisingly minimalistic. Quality materials and straightforward analog gauges are standard and not at all what consumers would expect on the inside of this contemporary crossover. Some audio and cruise control settings enhance the intuitiveness of this model's interior, but for the most part its simplicity is what stands out.

As an upgrade from the 2021 Hyundai Kona, the 2021 Kia Niro is more tech-savvy and accommodating. A standard interior that is adorned in cloth upholstery and simple materials accompanies lower trims, but leather seating and dual-zone automatic climate control emerges in mid-level trims. Energy consumption is a huge concern for the 2021 Kia Niro, so it also should not surprise you that there is even an option to turn off air to seats that are without passengers. In warmer months hybrid models tend to suffer a bit from extra power being utilized to run the air conditioner, but this power-saving method improves the functionality of the 2021 Kia Niro during these times.

One reason many buyers choose crossover models is because they provide extra space that pairs nicely with the athletic stance of these models. The 2021 Hyundai Kona sets the pace in fitting 14 carry-on suitcases in the rear. If you are a buyer who is used to a full-sized model, this may be a bit of a decrease in storage capacity. Improving the cargo area available for utilization, the 2021 Kia Niro can accommodate six carry-on suitcases with the rear seats up and 18 carry-on suitcases with the rear seats folded. Not only are these models designed with passenger comfort in mind, but they both offer enough empty area for passenger belongings, too.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.


Considered to be one of the safest crossover models, the 2021 Hyundai Kona is hard to beat. It was awarded a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick+ designation by the IIHS. A variety of driver assistive safety features comes standard in the 2021 Hyundai Kona, as well as a few available upgrades for those who opt for them. Features like lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking can be found as standard amenities. Still yet, automatic high-beam headlights are available as optional upgrades. This is not the entire extent of the driver assistive safety features offered in this model, but they are the most desired.

In comparison, the 2021 Kia Niro does not put forth as much effort into its safety innovation. Failing to offer any driver assistive safety features as standard, if buyers want these advanced safety elements, they will have to pay extra for them. Safety features that are standard in other crossovers, like forward-collision warning and blind-spot monitoring, are solely offered as available upgrades for this model. For those concerned with innate safety features in a new vehicle purchase, the 2021 Kia Niro will likely disappoint in this area.

Which Has the Best Value?

Each one of these crossovers is unique. On the outside, these two models look similar. Yet, as you begin to peer under the hood and in the cabin of the 2021 Hyundai Kona and the 2021 Kia Niro, the innate differences of these models become more apparent. Therefore, to determine which one of these models offers the best value one must determine which features and attributes they find the most important. From the initial price to the cost of ownership to the availability of attributes, potential buyers must match these vehicles up to complete a thorough comparison.

In our evaluation, the 2021 Hyundai Kona inevitably beholds the better value of these two crossover options. The 2021 Kia Niro puts up a good fight with its hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric layouts. Yet, the 2021 Hyundai Kona is more well-rounded in general. It offers fewer trim levels and a simpler interior, but its dedication to the inclusion of modern safety elements is what matters the most in this vehicle. The 2021 Kia Niro offers virtually no modern safety amenities as standard, which is a big disadvantage for a crossover made with a larger passenger capacity in mind. Not to mention, its higher price in conjunction with fewer standard safety features leaves a sour taste in the mouths of buyers.

Which is Better?

Although the 2021 Hyundai Kona is a better value than the 2021 Kia Niro, this does not mean it is the best choice overall. In fact, we quite enjoy the variety of powertrain options offered in the Kia Niro, the intuitive tech features within its cabin, and the plethora of trim levels it must choose from. There are far more options for buyers in the 2021 Kia Niro, and it is the most advanced crossover option when compared to the 2021 Hyundai Kona.

The 2021 Kia Niro is not just more advanced, but it is also more spacious and comfortable for buyers. Boasting more room for cargo items, more comfortable seats, and an array of upholstery options, the Kia Niro leads the way in passenger comfort and convenience. As a result, the 2021 Kia Niro is our top choice between this crossover model and the 2021 Hyundai Kona.

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