With more and more drivers searching for a capable vehicle that can take them places, it is not surprising why the subcompact SUV segment has grown rapidly over the last few years. Two of the models vying for market share in this segment are the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona, which are like close cousins because of their almost similar form and function.
If you are planning to buy a subcompact SUV and are making a choice between the Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Kona, you’ve come to the right place or you might want to click here to see the salient differences between the two. Now in this article, we will discuss the most interesting points between the two and decide which of them is tougher for their segment.
The Hyundai Kona stands for many things and has proven that innovation is also achievable even for car manufacturers that are less known than the bigger players. This car feels very natural to drive in that it almost standardizes the EV powertrain. Despite its cool features, however, the Hyundai Kona is not quite its Kia counterpart.
The Kia Seltos may look less remarkable on paper, but with its boxy appearance, strong presentation, impressive performance, utilitarian proportions, premium equipment, and fuel economy, the Kia Seltos is shaping up to be the next most desirable offering in the subcompact SUV segment. Despite its small wheels and ordinary engine, it has almost everything it takes to beat its rivals.
The Hyundai Kona boasts of its “eco” look because of its ceramic blue color and light grey interior. If you are looking for an “eco” car, this will definitely make the grade because of its unique aesthetic and calming interior design. Its rear features a bumper that is remarkably shorter than most of its peers, with a well-proportioned design that makes it such a pleasure to look at.
Inside the Hyundai Kona, however, you may not like how its center console makes the buttons and controls seem less accessible despite its futuristic appeal. It’s a different story when it comes to the touchscreen display though, as it looks easy to use even for non-techies. If there is one thing you will probably not like about the Hyundai Kona’s design, it is how it incorporates too much matte silver in an attempt to make it look avant-garde. Its interior is also filled with too many hard plastics that you will realize it has more hard surfaces than soft ones.
The Kia Seltos, on the other hand, looks striking from the inside out. You will love how it looks robust despite its tiny wheels, and how it comes in a range of vivid colors. The exterior design of this subcompact SUV is so remarkable that it manages to stand out despite its segment being packed with new entrants.
Inside the Kia Seltos are almost the same elements as the Hyundai Kona, except that this one looks more modern. Despite its interior seeming a bit more style-oriented than its rival, you will be amazed how it incorporates pragmatism into its interior design. Its dashboard is designed in a way that will make it easier for you to access all controls and better interact.
There is not much difference between the Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos when it comes to engines, except if you opt for the electric version of Kona. But despite their almost similar 2.0L engines, the Hyundai Kona offers a 6-speed automatic transmission which, despite being powerful, is a little shaky on the road. You don’t experience this with the Kia Seltos’ CVT engine, which is overall more superior than that of Hyundai Kona. The Kia Seltos works well in a city environment, thanks to its CVT engine that does not lag or waver like other dual-clutch autos.
You will also love how even its steering feels prompt and lets you run the car effortlessly when making maneuvers. If you are looking for a smooth and compact SUV that you can easily ride around the town in, this one makes an excellent choice. Even if you go off the beaten path, its perfect ground clearance makes it easy to travel on craggy surfaces. Well, you may not like the amount of noise that’s audible when it makes tight turns, but the noise is pretty much tolerable and you will love how the Kia Seltos never feels unwieldy regardless of the terrain. Its traction system also feels comfortable, allowing you to accelerate fast without bringing your car to a halt.
When it comes to safety, both the Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos come with impressive safety features, although the latter has a much longer list of safety standard kits than the former. The Hyundai Kona features an auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, active cruise control, and more—which are great safety features but are not really very exceptional since they come as standard to almost all vehicles in the subcompact SUV segment. If you often travel with children, you will find the ISOFIX child seats among the Hyundai Kona’s most important selling points.
Like we mentioned, the Kia Seltos comes with a longer list of safety features that include anti-lock brakes, auto emergency braking, forward collision warning, driver attention alert, downhill brake control, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist stability, and more. The safety features that come with every Kia Seltos are not only designed to protect you and your passengers from the collision but also to guide you as you drive to prevent an accident.
Just like the Hyundai Kona, the Kia Seltos also features two ISOFIX points in its rear, but with extra top tethers for straps. If these safety features aren’t enough, you may opt for higher trims that come with more complex safety systems, including cyclist collision avoidance braking, electric folding mirrors, and adaptive cruise control.
There is no denying that the Hyundai Kona offers value, but the Kia Seltos is all about giving it everything. So if you are looking for a subcompact SUV that prioritizes efficiency and capability above all, the 2023 Kia Seltos makes the best choice.