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2021 Subaru Crosstrek vs Hyundai Kona

2021 Subaru Crosstrek vs Hyundai Kona
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

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

Anyone searching for a practical SUV with high-tech features and not too large a size should look into the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek or Hyundai Kona. These two models have made quite an impression in recent years due to their reputations of reliable, affordable vehicles - something these compact SUVs certainly deliver in spades. These versatile crossovers boast plenty of capabilities at their disposal.

The Powertrain

Subaru Crosstrek offers several powertrain choices. The 2.0-liter engine delivers 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, giving this compact vehicle plenty of capability for most drivers. However, if anyone desires more power, the available 2.5-liter engine increases horsepower to 182 with 176 lb-ft of torque. Either engine provides a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.

When looking at the Hyundai Kona, its standard engine is a 2.0-liter that produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. The optional turbocharged version has 1.6 liters displacement but generates 175 horsepower with its turbocharger installed. Unfortunately, the Kona is not certified to tow cargo, so this could pose an issue if anyone plans on hooking up a trailer to their next car.

When selecting a Kona model, owners have the option of getting either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. By comparison, every Subaru Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive for enhanced traction in any weather condition - particularly helpful when dealing with snowfall or dry roads. With power sent to all four wheels, users gain enhanced handling even during dry conditions.

Front-wheel-drive Kona models can achieve up to 32 or 33 miles per gallon when driving on the highway and 27 or 28 in town, depending on which model is being driven. When equipped with all-wheel drive, these numbers decrease slightly; Crosstrek models nearly match these same levels of fuel efficiency with the exception of the Crosstrek Hybrid's estimated MPGe of 90.

An intriguing factor is that the Crosstrek's fuel tank capacity exceeds 16 gallons, while the Kona only holds 13 gallons, potentially impacting how often people need to refill their tanks.

One final factor that may impact driving experience is the transmissions available in these vehicles. Crosstreks powered by 2.0-liter engines come standard with six-speed manual gearboxes; however, Lineartronic continuously variable transmission is optional for larger engines or hybrid powertrains. When selecting an SUV with either of these powertrains, only a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission is offered.

Hyundai Konas with 2.0-liter engines feature six-speed automatic transmissions with SHIFTRONIC for manual shift control if desired. Conversely, those equipped with turbo engines use dual-clutch transmissions - often seen in more athletic vehicles.

Hyundai provides its customers with great peace of mind through generous warranties on new Konas. The powertrain of the Kona is covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles, while in comparison, Subaru Crosstrek's powertrain warranty only lasts five years or 60,000 miles.


The Crosstrek might feel more like an SUV than the Kona does, sitting about 6.7 inches off the ground. As such, some may consider it more of a crossover. On top of that, its ground clearance is two inches greater than that of the Kona; making this information important if anyone plans on heading into more challenging terrain.

These vehicles are both very easy to drive and agile. The Crosstrek is slightly longer than the Kona at 176.5 inches, while its counterpart measures 164 inches. Furthermore, the Crosstrek stands slightly taller and wider than its smaller counterpart too.

The Crosstrek boasts more passenger volume, with people in the front having up to 43.1 inches of room and rear-seat passengers enjoying 36.5 inches. By comparison, Hyundai Kona's front leg room measures 41.5 inches while rear leg room only measures 34.6 inches. While these numbers should suffice for short trips even with taller adults riding in the back, longer road trips might become uncomfortable for those seated in the second row.

Customers searching for SUVs typically prioritize cargo capacity. The Crosstrek boasts more than 20 cubic feet of space in its rear cargo area, which can be expanded up to 55 cubic feet with folded seats down. (The Crosstrek Hybrid has less storage capacity; 15.9 cubic feet when seats are up and 43.1 when folded down.)

In the Kona, there's just under 20 cubic feet of space when all seats are upright. When the rear seats are folded down, cargo capacity drops to 45.8 cubic feet - significantly less than what can be found in the Crosstrek.

Potential customers often consider the kind of infotainment system a given model has. Subaru generally excels here, with all Crosstrek models featuring 6.5-inch touchscreens and the top two featuring 8.0-inch ones. All have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth functionality built-in; most also offer SiriusXM radio with navigation as an option on top two models; Wi-Fi capability and six-speaker sound systems are standard across all trims except the base one.

Hyundai has given the Kona many features found in other Hyundai vehicles, such as seven-inch touchscreens on most trims and an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation at the top. Lower trims also come equipped with smartphone integration and Bluetooth capabilities; SiriusXM satellite radio is included with most Konas, while over half have Infinity Premium Audio systems featuring eight speakers. Finally, wireless charging is another feature found only on premium models of the Kona.

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.


Subaru and Hyundai are renowned for their commitment to safety, providing drivers with a bevy of essential features like anti-lock brakes, rear vision cameras and tire pressure monitoring systems that work in harmony to ensure maximum comfort on the road. Air bags and cutting edge driver assist technologies further augment this security - equipping motorists everywhere with greater protection than ever before.

Subaru Crosstrek models feature EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, consisting of multiple sensors and mitigation systems. One sensor can sense potential frontal collisions while another keeps track of whether the vehicle is centered in its lane. If there's an issue, the Crosstrek will alert the driver and potentially hit the brakes or correct steering if necessary. Adaptive cruise control also comes standard on top trims; it allows the Crosstrek to adjust its speed based on how quickly or slowly a car in front slows down or speeds up. This EyeSight safety package comes standard in upper trims while lower trims have access to it as well.

The Subaru offers an array of available features, such as high beams that can turn themselves on or off depending on traffic, and reverse automatic braking. Furthermore, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are optional components - these can be invaluable in dimly lit conditions when it's hard to see vehicles around you.

The Kona stands out in this regard due to its standard driver-assist technologies. All trims include forward collision avoidance assist, which can warn drivers about potential crashes and apply pressure if necessary; lane keeping assist to keep people in their lane; and driver attention warning systems. On top of that, the second-most affordable trim comes equipped with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist function as standard features.

Which Offers the Best Value?

To determine which model offers better value, costs of both models should be compared. At base level, the Crosstrek costs $22,245 while the Kona comes in at $20,500; though there's a substantial discrepancy, both prices remain reasonable. Highlights of the Crosstrek's base model include symmetrical all-wheel drive, roof rails, touchscreen interface and automatic climate control while Kona's SE base model boasts LED Daytime Running Lights, remote entry and safety components mentioned earlier.

Crosstrek and Kona mid-level trims feature several key upgrades. For $23,290, customers can choose the Crosstrek Premium ($23,295) which comes with fog lights, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel; while the Sport ($26,495) adds driver assist systems, keyless entry, and StarTex upholstery. At $27,995 for the Limited model with LED headlights and fog lights plus power adjustable driver's seat plus larger touchscreen display and leather upholstery - while paying $35,345 for the Crosstrek Hybrid which boasts greater fuel economy at around $35,345.

On the Kona, there are three mid-level trims: SEL ($22,300), SEL Plus ($24,150) and Night ($26,200). At this level, turbo engine becomes standard and has dark exterior accents for a bold appearance. At SEL level there are heated side mirrors, roof rails, SiriusXM radio and heated front seats; on SEL Plus there's wireless charging, premium audio system and power-adjustable driver's seat as well.

The top two trims of the Hyundai Kona are Limited and Ultimate. Priced at $26,300 and $28,150 respectively, these models remain reasonably affordable while providing power sunroofs, leather seats, automatic temperature control, auto-dimming rearview mirrors. However, only the Ultimate offers more features with its larger touchscreen, navigation, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control - making it the best option available.

Which Is Better?

Comparing the Crosstrek to the Kona is difficult; both offer great features at attractive prices. However, customers should take note of a few points when making their choice.

Featuring greater power and standard all-wheel drive, the Crosstrek is equipped to take on whatever terrains you throw at it. For an eco-friendly solution, a hybrid variant of the Crosstrek may be your go-to car. When it comes to space inside - whether for passengers or cargo - there's no doubt that the interior capacity trumps its Kona counterpart.

The Kona takes the cake when it comes to amenities, with a superior safety package and infotainment system that's available standard on its top trim. Plus, you can easily opt for optional navigation if needed. Additionally, those of us who prefer having extra light streaming in our cabin will appreciate the sunroofs featured as part of the Kona - something notably absent from Crosstrek models.

It comes down to capability versus convenience and style. Those seeking a more capable, durable SUV should look into the Subaru Crosstrek. Conversely, those seeking an adaptable SUV but don't necessarily require something heavy duty should find plenty of joy with the stylish Hyundai Kona.

Used 2021 Subaru Crosstrek: