2018 Kia Niro vs Hyundai Kona

2018 Kia Niro vs Hyundai Kona

If you have an appetite for the sporty and new, say hello to the Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona. The Niro debuted in 2017 and you can still smell the paint (maybe lime-green paint?) on the Kona. If you’re looking at a subcompact SUV, you are likely looking for style, options, and room for your friends and stuff. We’ll tell you who wins out in each of these categories and then give our final ruling on which crossover wins this year.

Style: Kia Niro

Niro Style

Last year’s Super Bowl ad for the Kia Niro featured Melissa McCarthy as an eco-warrior, hilariously saving whales and polar ice caps or trying to. She drove a deep cerulean (frosty blue) Niro as she raced around the world. In other ads, the Niro is a street-slick crimson red urban explorer, winding between skyscrapers under city lights. No matter your color, the style lends itself equally to wooded paths and city streets. Its elevated, angled headlights give it a refined, but charming look. It’s cute-chic with the eco credibility to make even the most earth-focused commuter feel better about what’s sitting in the garage.

The Hyundai’s offering is unabashedly an islander. Named after the western side of the Big Island, the Kona looks like it should have a couple of surfboards hanging out the back. Its sleepy-eyed headlights give it a distinctive look you’ll either hate or love. The Kona comes in plenty of colors but the lime green seems to be Hyundai’s favorite, judging from their ads. The designers spent a long time on the exterior here and it shows–but it’s a particular style that may not appeal to all.

Tech Features: Both

Tech Features

As it turns out, both the Niro and Kona boast plenty of tech options. The Niro comes standard with six-speaker sound system, rearview camera, Bluetooth, a USB port, and Kia’s UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio. In upper trims, you can add rear-seat USB port, Harman Kardon eight-speaker audio system, sunroof, wireless phone charging, and upgraded UVO system with an 8-inch touch screen and a voice-command navigation system.

The Kona has almost exactly the same standard features, except swap out satellite radio for keyless entry. Take one step up to the SEL trim to add SiriusXM satellite radio, plus blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats, and proximity-key entry. In terms of tech options, it’s a tie. You won’t go wrong with either the Kia Niro or the Hyundai Kona if tech matters to you.

Space: Kia Niro

Front passengers will feel equally at home in the Niro or Kona, but backseat passengers will appreciate the extra leg room in the Kia. There’s also slightly more cargo capacity in the Niro. Overall, your looking at more total cabin volume in the Kia Niro which means more room for you, your friends, and your stuff.

It’s close, but with versatile styling, comparable tech features and more space than the Kona, the Kia Niro wins in this head-to-head comparison. Equally at home in the city, on rural highways, and at the beach, the Kia Niro keeps you moving.