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Anyone looking for a practical SUV with high-tech features and a size that isn't too large will likely be considering the Subaru Crosstrek and Hyundai Kona. These two models have done very well for themselves in recent years. Subaru and Hyundai are two companies that are known for designing reliable, affordable vehicles, and the Crosstrek and Kona certainly fit that description. These compact SUVs have much to offer.
There are several powertrain options with the Subaru Crosstrek. The first choice is a 2.0-liter engine that delivers 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. This is a pretty decent amount of capability for a compact vehicle, and most drivers would be satisfied with this engine. If anyone prefers having more power, there's the available 2.5-liter engine. It increases horsepower to 182, and it comes with 176 pound-feet of torque. With either engine, towing capacity is 1,500 pounds.
A third option is to get the Crosstrek Hybrid. This model is only available in limited quantities, at least for this year. It uses a 2.0-liter engine along with an electric motor, and it has a net horsepower of 148.
The numbers are comparable when looking at the Hyundai Kona. Its standard engine is also a 2.0-liter version, and it's able to churn out 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. The available turbocharged engine on the Kona has a displacement of 1.6 liters, but it's able to generate 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque since it has the turbocharger. The Kona is actually not rated to tow cargo, so this would obviously be an issue if anyone is planning on hooking up a trailer to his/her next vehicle.
If someone chooses the Kona, he/she can decide whether to get a model with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. In contrast, every Subaru Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive. Having power sent to all four wheels can significantly improve traction. It's useful when dealing with wintry conditions, and it can enhance handling even when the roads are dry.
Front-wheel-drive Kona can earn up to 32 or 33 miles per gallon on the highway and 27 or 28 miles per gallon when driving in the city. The exact numbers depend on the type of model being driven. When the Kona has all-wheel drive, the respective numbers drop by a few miles per gallon. The Crosstrek has just about the same level of fuel efficiency. The exception is the Crosstrek Hybrid, which has an estimated MPGe of 90.
An interesting point is that the Crosstrek has a fuel tank capacity of over 16 gallons. The Kona's fuel tank can hold about 13 gallons, so this will have an impact on how often people need to fill up their tanks.
One last factor that may influence the driving experience has to do with the available transmissions in these vehicles. In the Crosstreks that are powered by 2.0-liter engines, there are six-speed manual transmissions. However, a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission is optional. When the SUV uses the larger engine or the hybrid powertrain, it's only available with a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission.
Hyundai Konas with 2.0-liter engines use six-speed automatic transmissions. Those transmissions come with SHIFTRONIC, which lets the driver take manual control over shifting, if he/she prefers. Konas with turbo engines use dual-clutch transmissions. It's common to see these types of transmissions in more athletic vehicles.
Hyundai gives it customers a lot of peace of mind by providing generous warranties on new Konas. The Kona's powertrain is covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. In comparison, the Subaru Crosstrek has a powertrain warranty that's good for five years or 60,000 miles.
The Crosstrek might feel more like an SUV that the Kona does. The Kona sits about 6.7 inches off the ground, so some people may consider it to be more of a crossover. The Crosstrek has a ground clearance that's two inches greater than that of the Kona. If anyone plans on heading into more rugged terrain, this would be important to keep in mind.
These vehicles are both very easy to drive and relatively agile. Note that the Crosstrek is the longer mode out of these two. It has an overall length of 176.5 inches, while the Kona measures 164 inches. The Crosstrek is slightly taller and wider than the Kona as well.
This translates into the Crosstrek having more passenger volume. In a Crosstrek, people in the front have up to 43.1 inches of room, and rear-seat passengers have 36.5 inches of leg room. In the Hyundai Kona, front-seat leg room is 41.5 inches and rear-seat leg room is only 34.6 inches. This should be fine for short trips, even if taller adults are riding in the back, but longer road trips might start to get uncomfortable for anyone who has to sit in the second row.
Cargo capacity is usually going to be of interest to customers looking at SUVs. In the Crosstrek, the rear cargo area has more than 20 cubic feet of space. By folding the rear seats down, cargo capacity can be expanded to more than 55 cubic feet. (The Crosstrek Hybrid has less storage space. Its cargo capacity is 15.9 cubic feet when the seats are up and 43.1 cubic feet when the seats are down.)
In the Kona, there's just under 20 cubic feet of space when the seats are in their upright positions. When the rear seats are folded down, cargo capacity is 45.8 cubic feet. This is quite a bit less than what's found in the Crosstrek.
Another thing that will influence potential customers is what kind of infotainment system a particular model has. In general, Subaru does very well in this department. The Crosstrek's lower trims have 6.5-inch touchscreens, and the top two trims have 8.0-inch touchscreens. All of those touchscreens have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth. Most trims also have SiriusXM, with navigation being an option on the top two trims. In addition, all trims - except the base model - have Wi-Fi capability and six-speaker sound systems.
Hyundai has given the Kona comparable features. Most of the Kona trims have seven-inch touchscreens, and the top-level trim has an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation. With the lower trims, people can take advantage of smartphone integration and Bluetooth. SiriusXM is included with most Konas, and over half of the trims have Infinity Premium Audio system with eight speakers. Wireless charging is yet another component found in the more premium models of the Kona.
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Subaru has built a solid reputation, thanks to its commitment to safety. Likewise, Hyundai has made a name for itself because of how many advanced safety features are incorporated into its models. To start, the Kona and Crosstrek have anti-lock brakes, rear vision cameras, tire pressure monitoring systems, and air bags that have been strategically placed in their cabins. In addition, these models have driver-assist technologies that allow them to be proactive about protecting passengers.
In the Subaru Crosstrek, there's something called EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. It consists of multiple sensors and mitigation systems. One of them can sense potential frontal collisions, and another can keep track of whether the vehicle is centered in a lane. If there's an issue, the Crosstrek will warn the driver, and it could potentially hit the brakes or correct steering, if the situation called for it. There is also adaptive cruise control, a program that allows the Crosstrek to adjust its speed if the car in front of it slows down or speeds up. This EyeSight safety package is standard in the top trims of the Crosstrek, and it's available in the lower trims.
There are more available features in the Subaru. They include high beams that can turn themselves on or off, depending on whether there are other vehicles on the road, and reverse automatic braking. Two more available components are blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. These can be nice to have since it's sometimes hard to see surrounding vehicles.
The Kona actually stands out a bit more in this area because it has several standard driver-assist technologies. Every trim has forward collision-avoidance assist, so they can warn drivers about potential collisions and potentially apply pressure to the brakes; they have lane keeping assist to prevent people from accidentally drifting out of position; and they have driver attention warning systems. The second-most affordable trim of the Kona is where blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a lane change assist function become standard.
Which Has the Best Value?
To determine whether the Crosstrek or Kona has better value, the costs of each model should be compared. Just looking at the base models, the Crosstrek costs $22,245 and the Kona costs $20,500. There's certainly a discrepancy, though these prices are certainly reasonable. Some highlights of the Crosstrek's base model are its symmetrical all-wheel drive, roof rails, touchscreen, and automatic climate control. In the base model of the Kona, which is called the SE, there are LED Daytime Running Lights, remote entry, and the safety components described earlier.
The mid-level trims of the Crosstrek and Kona come with many key upgrades. The Crosstrek Premium ($23,295) has fog lights, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the Sport ($26,495) has driver-assist systems, keyless entry, and StarTex upholstery. The Limited, which costs $27,995, is where there are LED headlights and fog lights. In its cabin, it has a power-adjustable driver's seat, a larger touchscreen, and leather upholstery. The Crosstrek Hybrid is very similar to the Limited in terms of its amenities, but people will have to pay about $35,345 for this trim because of its greater fuel efficiency.
With the Kona, the mid-level trims are the SEL ($22,300), the SEL Plus ($24,150), and Night ($26,200). The Night is the trim at which the turbo engine becomes standard, and this trim in particular has dark exterior accents to give it a bold look. At the SEL level, there are heated side mirrors, roof rails, SiriusXM, and heated front seats. The SEL Plus is where the Kona is upgraded with wireless charging, a premium audio system, and a power-adjustable driver's seat.
The top two trims of the Hyundai Kona are the Limited and the Ultimate. Priced at $26,300 and $28,150, respectively, they're still fairly affordable. One benefit of driving one of these models is that they have power sunroofs. Both trims also have leather seats, automatic temperature control, and auto-dimming rearview mirrors. The Ultimate has the best features with its larger touchscreen, navigation, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.
Which is Better?
It can be difficult to say that the Crosstrek is definitively better than the Kona, or vice versa. They're both impressive in what they offer, considering their low starting prices. However, there are a few points that customers should think about.
First, the Crosstrek is the more powerful vehicle. It will handle challenges with greater ease than the Kona will, and of course, it has all-wheel drive as a standard component. The Crosstrek is also available as a hybrid, which isn't an option on the Kona.
When comparing the two cabins, it's clear that the Crosstrek has more interior space. Passengers will probably be more comfortable in the Crosstrek, and there will be more room for cargo.
It's a different story when looking at the available amenities. The Kona comes out as the winner when it comes to technology. It has the more comprehensive safety package, and it has a nicer infotainment system. Navigation is only optional on the Crosstrek but a standard component of the top trim of the Kona. Further, the top trims of the Kona are going to seem slightly more upscale than those of the Crosstrek, since they have sunroofs.
It comes down to capability versus convenience and style. Those who want a more capable, durable SUV will likely be better served by the Subaru Crosstrek. Those who want a versatile SUV but don't necessary need something heavy duty should be more than happy with the stylish Hyundai Kona.