2022 Hyundai Tucson vs Kona
Going through the rigmarole of finding a likable new SUV isn't exactly an easy task, but Hyundai gives you a few good vehicles to opt from. Whether you go for the 2022 Hyundai Tucson or 2022 Hyundai Kona, you can reap the benefit of getting industry-leading warranty coverage. That alone lends a lot of value to these vehicles.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is undoubtedly a strong choice for an SUV. Having just been redesigned for the 2022 model year, the newly overhauled Tucson offers a fresh-faced line-up of powertrains - including both hybrid and plug-in hybrid options. There are plenty of standard tech features and advanced driver aids to be found along the trim level ladder. The Tucson's ride quality is compliant and smooth, plus the front seats are sculpted in a way that provides day-long comfort and support.
The Tucson does have a few drawbacks that you will need to consider before you commit to buying one. First of all, you will need to cope with the base 2.5-L engine's sluggish acceleration and a hybrid engine that just doesn't stack up to the fuel economies posted by its main rivals. Also, the distracting touch-style center stack controls make for a controls layout that is somewhat obnoxious to use.
As a subcompact SUV, the 2022 Hyundai Kona is smaller than the Tucson, and this model year marks its first real refresh since it was introduced in 2018. The new and decidedly sportier N Line trim level stands out from the pack. The Kona's center stack has been revamped, but the rest of the cabin's changes look a lot more subtle. A new - and bigger - 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes standard, plus wireless connectivity is standard for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Then, there's the brand-new Kona N. This variant features upgraded brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates a power output of 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque. For an extra-small SUV, the Kona and its new variant are strong performers.
However, the Kona's base engine is drastically underpowered. There are also a lot of hard plastic surfaces adorning the interior, which slightly cheapens the ownership experience.
Which Hyundai is the best model for you and your family? Which one delivers the most value? It is time to put the Tucson against the Kona and figure that out.
Size and Styling
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson is a compact SUV, so it is somewhat small in stature. Its fresh new line-up includes hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain options. In terms of style, the Tucson is historically a laid-back vehicle that does not do a whole lot to really stand out. However, the new Tucson's external appearance is a lot more eye-catching. There are Lines sloping around the vehicle, a set of cascading headlights, and wheel arches that are squared off. The Tucson's cabin features a center stack that lacks a lot of the typical physical buttons and knobs. Plus, there is a shroud-less digital instrument panel built into it the stack for an even more contemporary appeal.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona is an extra-small/subcompact SUV, so it is smaller than the Tucson. The N line is sportier than the regular Kona. The base SE rides around on top of 16-inch alloy wheels, but the SEL is upgraded to 17-inch wheels. It also comes with roof rails, heated mirrors, and rear windows that are tinted. If you equip the Convenience package, you'll also get a sunroof. The N Line drops the sunroof but keeps the other contents of that package. It also has special 18-inch front wheels and unique bumpers and a front grille. Equipping it with the Tech package puts the sunroof back on and adds LED headlights and taillights. The Limited has both Convenience and Tech features, plus it has 18-inch wheels. The line-topping Kona N also drops the sunroof, but it upgrades you to 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires slapped on and an aerodynamic body kit for sportier performance.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson receives its power from a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder that generates a power output of 187 horsepower. As already mentioned above, you can choose a hybrid powertrain with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine which creates 227 total hp. A plug-in hybrid with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine is also available, and that engine generates 261 total hp. The gas-powered engine is able to be equipped with front- or all-wheel drive. Also, it gets paired up with an eight-speed automatic. Meanwhile, the hybrid models come with standard AWD and a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Tucson's gasoline-powered engine struggles to get the SUV zipping off the line with any sense of urgency. If you are just cruising around town or out on the highway, the driving performance feels decent enough. However, when you are in a hurry, the engine's sluggish acceleration is a real drag. The Tucson requires a dismal 10.2 seconds to move from 0 to 60 mph. This makes it one of the slowest vehicles in its class.
The Tucson's driving experience is not really anything to write home about either. The vehicle's steering comes off as straightforward and precise when you turn the wheel in your hands. Also, the SUV remains composed while you round through tight corners. Upshifts on the transmission feel smooth enough for the liking, but its downshifts send some shudders out when you press down hard on the accelerator.
When you get AWD equipped on the Tucson, this vehicle gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving. Real-world tests reveal that these estimates are fairly accurate, but the Tucson's AWD-equipped rivals tend to pull better estimates than this by at least a few mpg.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona derives its power from a base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine equipped on the SE and SEL. This engine generates 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque and gets matched to a continuously variable automatic transmission (or CVT, for short). There is a more powerful turbocharged 1.6-liter engine on the N Line and Limited trim levels, which generates 195 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Kona N has its own higher-powered turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that serves up 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque and can temporarily boost it up to 286 hp. It is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch. Front-wheel drive is a standard issue while all-wheel drive is available for all models. The only exception is the line-topping Kona N, which comes with standard AWD and no option for FWD.
The Kona feels sporty with its swift acceleration and nimble handling. The Kona is able to zip from 0-60 mph in just 7.2 seconds, which is fast for a vehicle in this particular segment. The dual-clutch automatic transmission paired to the turbo engine has been tweaked for the model year, delivering smoother gear shifting capabilities than it used to. When you pull away from a firm stop is the only time you might notice some hesitation from it.
When rounding through turns, the Kona shows a lot of road grip and stability. The steering doesn't give you a whole lot of feedback, but it isn't anything detrimental. The Kona's brakes bring this vehicle to stop quickly and safely around town and have a respectable amount of strength during panic stops.
The fuel economy is fairly average on the Kona's powertrains. The 1.6-liter engine with AWD equipped has an EPA-estimated 29 mpg in combined city and highway driving. That is about average compared to Kona's rivals with AWD, but this engine tends to be more powerful than those competitors. Real-world tests have put this engine's capabilities closer to 31 mpg.
Comfort, Options, and Performance
When it comes to creating a comfortable interior, the 2022 Hyundai Tucson borders on luxury status. Its standard suspension feels remarkably well-tuned. It gives you an utterly smooth ride quality, easily absorbing bumps in the road sans drama. The Tucson provides a comfortable ride quality on all fronts. In fact, the front seats are given supportive cushions that are upholstered in sophisticated, high-end-looking material. These seats also come with plenty of lateral support and power lumbar adjustments. The Tucson's cabin remains tranquil and thoroughly insulated from exterior noise even when you take the vehicle up to speed on the highway. Many of the other SUVs in this class are not as serene as the Tucson. Not even a big burst of wind is audible inside this quiet cabin.
The Tucson has a ton of cabin space available that makes the interior feel truly cavernous and cozy no matter which seat you are in. There's no bad seat in the house. The front seats are wide and well-cushioned, and the rear seats happen to be equally as comfy. In fact, the rear seat passengers can easily stretch their legs out and recline back in their seats. As the driver, you can efficiently find a comfortable driving position with a commanding outward view sprawling out in front of you, to which the massive windshield and slender roof pillars contribute.
The layout for the controls is not as good as it could be. The majority of the controls are buried in the menus, and the features it doesn't control have flat buttons beside them. Sadly, those buttons do not offer much grip. A controller or dial would make things better. What's more, the touchscreen quickly shows up a slew of finger smudges.
As far as options are concerned, the Tucson gives you a couple. There are the Convenience and Premium packages available on the SEL trim level. You cannot get any other packages or stand-alone options for the Tucson though.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona has a slightly stiffer ride quality than other vehicles in its class, so it does have a busy ride quality while going over rough road surfaces. Handling feels superb though, and there's only a little bit of road noise - nothing uncommon for this segment.
Although the front seats are very adjustable and comfortable, there are no side bolsters to provide additional support. The N-Line is distinguished by its stylish and airy fabric upholstery. The back seats are relatively upright yet have a flat seat bottom. The climate control is easy to use with its two-knob, no-touchscreen-touching-required system. Even the seat heaters feel nice on a chilly morning drive.
The Kona has a lot of plastics inside the cabin, but the interior is pleasant enough. The controls feel user-friendly since they are neatly labeled and arranged, and the infotainment interface has a straightforward menu layout. The slender roof pillars give enough visibility to the front and sides. With the wide backup camera employed, you can back out of a tight parking spot with ease.
The Kona is loaded with effective technological features. The N-Line trim's premium Harman Kardon stereo system delivers a punchy amount of bass and decent audio quality. The navigation system's display is easy to read, and the turn-by-turn instructions are practical. Smartphone app integration from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. There are wireless charging capabilities and a couple USB connections throughout the cabin.
The Kona falls a little short on utility compared to class leaders. Its wide load floor and low lift-over height make the cargo area simple to stash your bulky items in. But the Kona doesn't offer as much maximum cargo space as its top rivals.
However, there are ample door pockets for water bottles on all four doors and a rather small cell phone holder in the front. Again, these are all things that are decent but done better in the Kona's rivals. The car seat anchors are tucked between firm cushions, but there is at least ample space for getting car seats in there.
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson comes standard with a long variety of driver assistance features. This suite has been enhanced for the 2022 model year in lieu of the new generation. Standard driver aids include lane keep assist, a rear seat reminder, a driver attention warning, and forward collision mitigation. If you go up to the SEL trim level, you get a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot intervention. Upgrading all the way to the line-topping Limited trim level gets you a blind-spot camera, a full lane-keeping system, and a surround-view camera system.
Similarly, the 2022 Hyundai Kona is equipped with standard lane departure mitigation, a lane-keeping system, and forward collision mitigation. The SEL adds a blind spot monitor with a rear cross-traffic alert. The Tech package on the Kona N-Line adds adaptive cruise control, and the Limited gets rear parking sensors slapped on.
Which Model to Choose?
Both the 2022 Hyundai Tucson and 2022 Hyundai Kona are capable vehicles backed by solid warranties. It is hard to pass by them without wondering what all they have to offer. Both feel comfortable and have decent driving performances, but the Tucson has a slightly more refined persona. If we had to pick one, we'd go for the Tucson and even go for one of the higher trim levels since they're still reasonably priced compared to some of the Tucson's rivals.