The Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona occupy the same crossover category and are often pitted against each other like rivals in comparisons, despite sharing more than a few obvious features. With their 2022 refreshes now available, subcompact SUV shoppers are looking to the cousin SUVs to see which car offers the better deal.
The Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos have very different design languages. The Kona is smooth, modern, with curved edges, revamped headlights, and a compact form factor, likely in line with its sporty new design direction. It is 164 inches long, 70.9 inches wide, and has 7 inches of ground clearance, even on the base model.
The Selos, on the other hand, is boxy and unabashed with its more traditional design. Its hard edges result in a higher roof, solid base, and a mostly forgettable grille and bumper design. It is 172 inches long, 70-inches wide, and has 7 inches of ground clearance on the base trim.
On the base model, the Kia Seltos comes with heated cloth seats, an 8.0-inch touch display that houses the infotainment system, which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. One trim up, and you get a heated steering wheel and leatherette seats. You can also get access to other features like rear car heating, a premium sound system, a 10-inch display, and even a wireless charger for your phone with subsequent upgrades.
The Kona has near-identical offerings except with different trim upgrade packages. There is a standard 8-inch display on all trims, even the top of the line, and you need to buy a special package to get a better screen, ventilation, and front seat heating, and another optional package to get wireless charging pad.
Cargo and space
Both the Seltos and Kona provide ample space on the inside, with enough legroom and headroom to house most adults comfortably, as well as store luggage in their generous trunk. However, if you’re looking for space and had to make a choice, look to the Kia Seltos.
The advantages of its boxy design show with its generous 40-inches of headroom in the front seats and 38 inches in the rear. Your feet will also get ample space to breathe with the 41-inches of space in the front and 38 inches in the three-seater rear. For storage, the Seltos has a trunk that measures 26.6 cubic feet. The capacity shoots up to 72.8 cubic feet when you flip down the seats.
Kona does not lag completely. It has similar if slightly smaller dimensions. It has 39.6 inches of headspace with the sunroof in the front and 38.0 inches with glass panels in the rear. For legroom, the Kona has 41.5 inches in the front and 37.8 inches in the back. The trunk space is where the difference shows. It is 19.2 cubic feet and can extend to reach 45.8 cubic feet with the bench folded down.
Both Kia and the Seltos offer identical engines and powertrains. Their base trims come with a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine with 146 horsepower, hauling 132 lb-ft torque. Both cars are hooked up to a CVT transmission. The Seltos, however, sets itself apart by offering Front Wheel Drive as an optional package alongside the standard Four Wheel Drive.
The Nightfall and the respective high trims of each car replace the base engine with a snappier 1.6-liter engine that outputs 175 hp and 195-lb of torque.
Both cars drive almost the same because of their engines and transmission, so neither comes out as the better-driving car.
The Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Keno have fairly high EPA for their respective classes. On the turbo-charged engines, the Kona delivers 32 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on highways. The Seltos Front-Wheel-Drive blows the Kona’s numbers out of the water by reaching 35 mpg on tests. The 4WD drive manages 30 mpg, which is nearly identical to the Kona, but the Seltos come out on top in this comparison.
The Kia Seltos is the pricier of the two compact SUVs, starting at $23,665. It offers four regular trims and single limited edition trim. A fully specced Kia Seltos SX can cost up to $29,165. The Hyundai Kona starts at $21, 499 and has three base trim and one limited edition trim which can run you up to $29,675.
Warranty is another area these sister SUVs differ The Hyundai Keno offers no complimentary warranty, only a limited warranty for up to 5 years or 60,000 miles or 10 years or 100,000 miles. The Kia Seltos are more generous in comparison. It offers 3 years or 36,000 miles complimentary maintenance.
The Kia Seltos offers the better put-together package. Its offerings are more thoughtful, and the optional features are better bundled into the trims rather than marketed as singular purchases. The difference in cabin space is negligible, but the trunk space might be something to think about. Either car offers great value for their budget starting price, but the Seltos delivers a better experience overall.