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2022 Hyundai Kona vs Kia Seltos

2022 Hyundai Kona vs Kia Seltos
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

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

When it comes to buying a new SUV, finding one that holds the most value is the overarching objective for the average shopper. You want to find something that offers at least most of the features you desire, puts in a strong performance, and won't annihilate your monthly budget. That is probably why you are considering both the 2022 Hyundai Kona and its corporate cousin, the 2022 Kia Seltos.

Both of these SUVs are strong options. They aim to provide ample power, plenty of features for your money, and a whole lot of comfort. On the Kona, you get the all-new Kona N, which debuts with an impressive 276 horsepower. Similarly priced to the Kona, the 2022 Kia Seltos delivers a ton of cargo space, unique styling elements, and the fresh-off-the-line Nightfall Edition, which adds blacked-out styling cues to the vehicle.

So, which one is going to best suit your particular needs? Will the Kona's powerful new engine reel you in? Or will the Seltos snag you with its highly personalized aesthetic? Which one holds more value for a buyer in this segment? Let's find out by pitting these two SUVs against one another.

The Powertrain

Who does not want a powerful engine to get them zipping along in no time at all? A great powertrain should be able to get you up to highway speed in a reasonable time without any signs of sluggish power delivery. Nobody will want anything sluggish, and the 2022 Hyundai Kona will likely not disappoint with its new N turbo engine.

The Kona's base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine isn't exactly underpowered, but it feels somewhat basic. It generates a power output of 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque while matched up to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard issue with the base engine, but you can opt for all-wheel drive (AWD) if you want more traction for driving along slick, wintry roads.

Of course, if you want something a bit sportier, you can try out the turbocharged 1.6-L engine, which starts on the N Line. This engine produces 195 hp and 195 lb-ft, and it is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It has some sport to it, but it ultimately feels a little too basic still.

That's where the new turbo engine comes in. The line-topping N trim level is outfitted with a sturdy turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque, which it can temporarily boost to 286 hp. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but you can only get this powertrain with FWD. If you want AWD, you will have to stick with one of the lower trim levels.

If you opt for the 1.6-L turbo engine, you will find that the Kona can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.2 seconds, which is rather snappy for this segment. The dual-clutch transmission has received some refinement, taking it up to the top of its class in terms of a DCT's performance. The only thing you might notice with it is that there is a slight hesitation when you go to pull away from a dead stop.

The Kona is able to handles turns with ease, demonstrating a lot of grip and stability as it rounds through corners. While you will not get much road feel coming through the steering system, it is easy enough to maneuver this SUV around town. You will get enough braking power from the brakes when you need to come to a sudden stop in everyday driving.

Fuel economy is not all that strong for the Kona (unless you opt for the EV variant). It's just about average. The 1.6-L turbo engine is EPA-rated for 29 miles per gallon in combined driving when AWD is equipped. This engine is more powerful than competitors, and these EPA ratings are on par with them. Real-world tests have been about to get about 31 mpg in combined driving, and you do not have to put premium fuel into the Kona. Still, the Kona EV is the real star of this show if you want to save money on increasingly expensive fuel.

The 2022 Kia Seltos offers a few powertrain options, starting with the base set-up on the LX trim level. This 146-horsepower four-cylinder engine is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which directs power to all four wheels via the all-wheel drive system. Upgrading to the Nightfall edition will snag you a 175-hp turbocharged engine that gets paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

For being the higher powered engine option, the turbo engine doesn't give you thrilling acceleration, but once you get it off the launch, it makes this SUV come off as being punchy enough. The turbo-equipped Seltos can get from 0 to 60 mph in about 8.1 seconds. With the transmission's smooth shifts up and down, this makes for a good performance in this segment. It just doesn't read as being as exciting as the Kona's turbo engine.

The Seltos doesn't handle winding roadways that well. The steering feels tight and responsive, but when you try to put some 'oomph' into how you drive it, the Seltos starts to feel way too front-heavy. With the more powerful turbo engine and AWD equipped, expect an EPA estimated 27 mpg in combined driving. With FWD, you get 31 mpg combined, which is a bit better. But 27 mgp combined puts this SUV below a lot of its competitors, including the Kona.


Drivability is a term that we use to describe multiple factors relating to how a vehicle performs on a daily basis. We are talking about comfort, interior design, technological features, cargo volume, and utility in general.

The 2022 Hyundai Kona does ride a bit stiffer than others in this segment. Trying to ride over busy pavement feels quite busy. Still, this is a good trade-off for the Kona's taut handling capabilities. There is a moderate amount of road noise that makes its way into the Kona's cabin, but this is actually a common occurrence for this segment. The Kona is otherwise fairly quiet though.

The Kona's front seats are padded for support and are equipped with a high degree of adjustability. The downside is that they they do not have much in the way of side bolsters. The cloth upholstery is breathable enough, and the back seats are not too terribly upright despite being kind of flat. The climate control is composed of a mere two-knob set-up; no touchscreen is required in order to operate it. On a cooler morning, the optional heated front seats feel quite cozy.

The Kona' interior is well crafted for the average buyer in this segment. While there is certainly a plasticky vibe to the design, the set-up is user-oriented. Physical controls are grouped together well along the dash and are clearly labeled. Also, the Kona's infotainment system has a user-friendly interface that takes little time to figure out. The Kona has slender roof pillars that make for clear visibility to the front and side. The clear, wide image you get from the back-up camera helps you see even better.

Up front, there is an adequate amount of space for both the driver and the front seat passenger. Headroom in the back is reasonable enough for this segment, but leg space is cramped - particularly if you are sitting behind a taller driver. At least you get some extra space beneath the front seats for rear passengers' feet. The doors are considerably short, and they are able to open out wide even in a crowded parking spot.

Technology is a real highlight on the Hyundai Kona. This vehicle is loaded with an abundance of standard and available technology that all seem to function pretty well. The N-Line trim's Harman Kardon stereo system is particularly enjoyable, providing a crisp sound quality from its speakers. There is an integrated navigation system that comes with a clear-to-read display and turn-by-turn prompts that should come in handy. Smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, but there are only a couple USB ports available for plugging your devices into. Wireless charging is standard though, so you can at least avoid plugging in for that function. You can upgrade to a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel on the N Line.

Storage, however, is more of a mixed bag. The one downfall here is that utility does not stack up to the leaders in this segment. Still, with a low lift-over height and wide load floor, the cargo area is quite usable. But the Kona doesn't quite have as much cargo volume as those competitors in its segment.

On a positive note, you will find plenty of water bottle-size pockets on each of the four doors. The small cell phone tray, center console, and glovebox all feel out-of-the-way but offer enough space for storing things. Also, the LATCH anchor points are buried between firm cushions in the back.

How does the 2022 Kia Seltos compare? The Seltos is quite comfortable. It absorbs a lot of bumps without a problem, and the front seats are decent in terms of comfort. They just do not offer a lot in the way of thigh support. The rear seats are actually better in terms of comfort than many others in this segment. You will hear a fair amount of road noise, and the climate control system comes off as being somewhat weak.

Inside of the Seltos, you will find a cabin that is spacious, simple, and practical. The optional 10.25-inch infotainment display offers some crisp graphics and is more user-friendly than you might expect. There is a dual-screen set-up with a bottom screen that shows single-zone climate settings. If you are under 6'2", you should find the cabin to be quite roomy. However, a pair of thick roof pillars limits rear visibility. There is a wide-angle rearview camera that will come in handy for backing up.

The Seltos has no shortage of tech gadgetry equipped. On the SX trim level, you can delight in the punchy bass from the premium Bose audio system. The integrated navigation system is user-friendly. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration functions best on the available 10.25-inch infotainment display but is standard on each trim level. Higher trim levels will offer a wireless charging pad, two USB ports, and a 12-volt power port up front. Unfortunately, there is only one USB port in the rear.

With its maximum cargo capacity of 62.8 cubic feet, the Seltos gives you some of the most abundant cargo volume in its segment. Even with all seats in place, the 26.2 cubes of cargo space you get feels ample. Lifting cargo items in and out is also simple thanks to the wide load floor.


Safety features are becoming more and more in-demand and high-tech. The Kona and Seltos both go pretty far with how much they include. On the 2022 Hyundai Kona, you get a standard bundle of driver aids that serves up forward collision mitigation, the lane keeping system, and lane departure mitigation. Upgrading one trim level to the SEL adds a blind spot monitoring system with a rear cross-traffic alert. The Kona N Line's optional Tech package lets you get adaptive cruise control. This comes standard on the Limited, which also has front and rear parking sensors equipped.

On the 2022 Kia Seltos, you get standard automatic high beams, forward collision warning, a driver attention warning, lane keeping assist, and a lane departure warning. You will have to upgrade all the way to the SX to get more, as this trim level includes the full lane keeping system and adaptive cruise control. Other vehicles in this segment offer more on lower trim levels.

Which Has the Best Value?

Value is an all-encompassing term too. It basically boils down to how much bang you can get for your buck. Is a vehicle going to give you the return you want on fuel? Does it give you enough features for the price? Is warranty coverage at least industry average?

The 2022 Hyundai Kona offers its buyers a reasonable amount of features at an affordable price tag. Konas that are powered by the 1.6-L turbocharged engine can get a bit expensive - and the line-topping N definitely does - but you get a lot of power for your money, not to mention a decent fuel economy. A couple of interior surfaces have been treated with soft or padded materials, and some of the surfaces show pleasant textures and a nice fit. You still won't escape the abundance of plastic though.

Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty is a true leader in this segment, and its five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is better than what you will find on most vehicles in this class. A plan of three years/36,000-mile free maintenance places even more value within the Kona.

The 2022 Kia Seltos offers a lot in the way of value too. The SX actually adds a ton of value for being a line-topper, giving you the best engine option and a massive list of features compared to the lower trims. The interior is not quite as refined as the Kona's, and it trails behind other rivals, too. Of course, you do get Kia's impressive five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage.

Which is Better?

In terms of performance, the 2022 Hyundai Kona is slightly better than the Seltos, which is hindered by its handling performance. The Kona has a lot of features available for the price, but the top N trim level will get expensive. On either one, though, you'll probably think about going up high in trim levels since you'll get more power and more desirable features. The Kona, though, would be our pick from these two corporate cousins.

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2021 Hyundai Kona VS Kia Seltos