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2022 Hyundai Kona vs Kia Niro

2022 Hyundai Kona vs Kia Niro

2022 Kona vs Niro - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

If a sedan is not versatile enough but the buyer does not need a large vehicle, a subcompact SUV can be the answer. There are a few strong options out there, with the 2022 Hyundai Kona and the 2022 Kia Niro being two of the more popular. Due to the connection between Hyundai and Kia, there are several similarities between the two SUVs. At the same time, there are drastic differences between the Kona and the Niro.

The 2022 Kona has been fully redesigned. It has an upgraded cabin and a long list of standard equipment to offer. The Niro, on the other hand, first hit the market in 2017 and is still in its first generation. No changes have been made for 2022, but that does mean that it is not an appealing choice.

The Powertrain

There are many different powertrain options available for the Kona in 2022. Buyers who choose the SE or the SEL trim levels will get a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that creates 147-horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a continuously variable transmission. Choosing either the N-Line or the Limited model of the new Kona will mean getting a turbo 1.6L that makes 195-horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. It goes with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Buyers can get an even more exhilarating version of the Kona that is known as the N. It has a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine that makes 276-horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque. Hyundai pairs this engine with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Every model of the Kona comes standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available on every trim except the performance-oriented N.

There is also an electric version of the Kona. It creates an impressive 201-horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque, and it has an estimated range of 258 miles. This new option has regenerative braking, which can essentially extend the range of the vehicle.

Then there is the new Niro. Most models have a hybrid powertrain underneath the hood. It creates 139-horsepower using a four-cylinder engine and electric motor. A six-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard, and all models have front-wheel drive. There is also the all-electric Niro to consider. Called the Niro EV, it creates 201-horsepower.

Fuel economy numbers are impressive all around for these two SUVs. The front-wheel-drive Kona with the base engine is estimated to get 30mpg in the city and 35mpg highway. Upgrading to all-wheel drive with that engine will mean getting 28mpg city and 33mpg highway.

The turbo 1.6L engine manages to get 29mpg city and 35mpg highway with front-wheel drive, and 27mpg city and 32mpg highway with all-wheel drive. The Kona N is not quite as fuel-efficient, which is not surprising considering the amount of power. It gets 20mpg city and 27mpg highway.

Choosing the entry-level Niro LX Hybrid will have drivers seeing 53mpg city and 28mpg highway. Most models go down to 51mpg city and 46mpg highway, while the Touring SE model goes all the way down to 46mpg city and 40mpg highway.

There is a plug-in version of the Niro Hybrid as well. It does not gain any additional power, but it gets an estimated 105 MPGe when relying on electric power only. When functioning as a hybrid, it gets 46mpg combined. Finally, the Niro EV is estimated to have a driving range of 239 miles. The Niro also features regenerative braking for extended drive time.

Hyundai and Kia offer identical warranties for their vehicles. Buyers of a new Kona or new Niro will be covered for five years or 60,000 miles overall. They will also get ten years or 100,000 miles for the powertrain coverage.


The gas-powered Kona is pleasant to drive, especially with one of the available engine upgrades. It is easy to maneuver this subcompact SUV in and out of parking spots and around town. The Kia Niro is a bit slow, but it offers enough power to drive around town. It also has no issue in tight parking lots or busy city streets.

No matter the powertrain, the new Kona offers 19.2 cubic feet behind its back row. The Niro is just slightly larger, offering 19.4 cubic feet in the very back. With the second row folded down, the Kona has 45.8 cubic feet. That is considerably less than the Niro, which can offer up to 54.5 cubic feet.

Both the Kona and the Niro have spacious and supportive front seats that offer a great view of the road ahead. Similarly, they have cramped second rows that are best saved for children. There is a bit more legroom in the back of the Niro. Both of these SUVs have cloth upholstery on the standard feature list. The Niro comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, however, which is not something found on lower Kona trim levels.

Buyers find similar infotainment setups in the 2022 Kona and the 2022 Niro. They have an 8-inch touchscreen and six-speaker sound system in common, plus wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Niro comes standard with one USB port, while the Kona has at least two.

Either of these SUVs can be upgraded to a 10.25-inch touchscreen and an eight-speaker sound system. Buyers should note that any model of the Kona or Niro with the larger touchscreen will have wired smartphone integration features rather than wireless ones. They can both add satellite radio and navigation. The Kona further offers Hyundai's Blue Link, which allows drivers to download an app and gain access to remote features.

Both of the SUVs can be equipped with proximity keyless entry and a push-button start. The Hyundai Kona is also available with a sophisticated 10.25-inch digital instrument panel. Buyers can get convenient upgrades such as power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel on either the Kona or the Niro.


When comparing safety scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Kona and Niro look similar. They both were awarded the top score of "Good" in all six of the major categories that the IIHS tests. When the crash prevention technology was tested, both SUVs once again received the top score when it came to vehicle-to-vehicle incidents. They both received the second-highest score for preventing vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not see these two SUVs as equals, however. The 2022 Kona received an overall score of five stars. That included five stars for both frontal and side collisions, while four stars were given for rollover testing. This is quite common for an SUV. The Niro, on the other hand, received an overall score of four out of five stars. It is broken down into four stars for frontal crashes and rollovers and five stars for side collisions.

When it comes to standard driver aids, the list for the 2022 Kona is far longer. Buyers get forward-collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and rear occupant alert. Driver drowsiness monitoring is also included. Higher trim levels add high beam assist, blind-spot monitoring, and a sophisticated adaptive cruise control system.

The Niro, on the other hand, is only equipped with a rearview camera and a rear occupant alert feature on its entry-level model. Starting with the LXS, it adds quite a few of the most popular driver aids. The list includes blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, and forward-collision mitigation. The Niro LXS also has driver attention monitoring. Adaptive cruise control and rear parking sensors are available on select models.

Which is the Best Value?

Buyers can get a gas-powered 2022 Kona for around $21,150. Buying a Kona EV will cost quite a bit more, however. This vehicle has a starting price of $37,190. The 2022 Niro starts at $24,690. A plug-in hybrid version will start at $29,590, while the EV model costs around $40,000.

There are many factors that go into the cost of ownership of a vehicle. There is also a wide range of costs associated with either of these SUVs, depending on the powertrain and other options. To give buyers a rough idea of what they can expect, this guide will focus on the entry-level models of the 2022 Kona and the 2022 Niro.

Over the course of five years, a new Kona will lose approximately $12,200 of its value. The Niro will lose around $14,500. Although the Niro loses more, it was also worth more originally. Buyers can assume that they could sell a 2022 Kona or a 2022 Niro for around the same price in five years.

The entry-level Kona is a gas-powered vehicle, and it will cost around $7,200 in fuel during the first five years. This is phenomenal for an SUV. It does not keep up with the hybrid Niro, however, which will cost only $4,750 in five years.

It will cost nearly $3,750 to maintain the Kona in its first five years. Although this is high, it is not as bad as the Niro, which will cost around $4,800 to maintain. Repairs for both the 2022 Kona and the 2022 Niro are estimated to cost around $680.

Buyers will also be paying financing fees, insurance, and state fees during this time period. When all of the factors are combined, it will cost Kona drivers around $0.41 per mile to drive their SUV. The Niro will cost around $0.43. These numbers are assuming that the vehicles are driven 15,000 miles per year.

Which is Better?

It is hard to choose a clear winner when comparing the 2022 Hyundai Kona to the 2022 Kia Niro. They are both economical choices with a strong list of standard features. Neither of them is particularly fun to drive when looking at the entry-level models, but they make up for it by being practical and convenient. Buyers also get the impressive warranty coverage with either SUV.

The 2022 Kona is an upscale SUV, especially for the price. It offers fantastic fuel economy for a gas-powered vehicle, and buyers can also consider an electric version if that better suits their needs. The extensive list of standard driver assistance features gives the Kona an edge over the Niro for many drivers. If having a thrilling experience is the ultimate goal, the Kona N is an enticing option to explore.

Then there is the 2022 Niro. It has a bit more cargo space and a slightly larger second row when compared to the Kona. Some would argue that the Niro also has a smoother ride. When buyers factor in the incredible fuel economy they can get, it seems like a strong contender. Although the entry-level model is missing out on driver aids, buyers only need to go up one trim level to find them.

Shoppers who are looking for more variety when it comes to what is underneath the hood will want to focus on the 2022 Hyundai Kona. People who need a bit more interior space will find that the 2022 Kia Niro is a better choice.

View Comparisons for other Years:

2021 Hyundai Kona VS Kia Niro
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