Hyundai Kona vs Tucson

Which crossover suits you?

Hyundai Kona vs Tucson - Which crossover is for you?
Hyundai

The Lowdown

The Hyundai Tucson is the next size up from the subcompact Hyundai Kona. It offers significantly more room for cargo, slightly more performance, and comes with more standard features. However, the Kona sports a more inspired exterior which is more up-to-date than the outgoing Tucson.

2021 Hyundai Kona SE

MSRP
$20,400
Body Type
SUV
Horsepower
147
Weight
2,890 lbs
Seating
5
MPG (City/Hwy)
27 / 33

2021 Hyundai Tucson SE

MSRP
$23,700
Body Type
SUV
Horsepower
161
Weight
3,309 lbs
Seating
5
MPG (City/Hwy)
23 / 28

Note: Images shown may not represent trims

Many car manufacturers are meeting the increasing demand for SUVs with various styles and variations, and Hyundai is no exception.

Within their SUV lineup are the Kona and Tucson. The Tucson is a Hyundai classic, making its first debut all the way back in 2004 and picking up many awards along the way. Meanwhile, the Kona is a smaller SUV that first hit the roads in 2017.

Both remain popular choices among car buyers, especially those who seek value bang for buck and extensive warranty coverage. But which Hyundai crossover SUV fits your needs better? We will explore that question by comparing these two SUVs to each other and examining what they offer.

Hyundai Kona rear view
Kona
Photo: Hyundai
Hyundai Tucson rear view
Tucson
Photo: Hyundai

Styling - Exterior

As a smaller subcompact, the Hyundai Kona goes with a sporty, funky aesthetic that doesn’t try to come off as a typical SUV. There’s definitely an adventure-ready, rugged look to the car as well, with black panelling and fenders which contrast with the rest of the vehicle’s paint job. The Kona also follows Hyundai’s newer designs, with the same slit-style headlamps that you can find on the new Hyundai Palisade.

The outgoing Hyundai Tucson looks more like a traditional SUV. As it approaches the end of its cycle, the SUV looks incredibly bland, so if style is a concern you might want to wait for the upcoming makeover. But if you hate attention when you stop at the red light, you’ll love it.

Styling - Interior

Both models have comfortable cabins with decent amounts of room for their respective size class.

Hyundai Kona interior
Kona
Photo: Hyundai
Hyundai Tucson interior
Tucson
Photo: Hyundai

Like its exterior, the Hyundai Kona’s interior has a bit of funk to it, with cute round air vents and slightly retro-esque infotainment setup.

The Hyundai Tucson’s interior, on the other hand, is instantly forgettable, but is at least fully functional and well thought out.

Passenger Space and Practicality

Both models have a seating capacity of 5 people and feature virtually identical amounts of room for the driver and front passenger, but the Tucson comfortably beats the Kona when it comes to rear seat leg and hip room.

The Hyundai Kona has listed cargo space of 19.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 45.8 cubic feet when they’re folded down The Hyundai Tucson features a substantially higher amount of cargo volume – 31 cubic feet with seats up and 61.9 cubic feet when they’re folded down.

Hyundai Tucson trunk
Photo: Hyundai
The Tucson offers significantly more room for loading cargo than the Kona

Performance

Both models operate as you might expect from small SUVs. Both have extremely similar turning diameters (34.8 inches for the Kona, and 34.9 inches for the Tucson), and feature front-wheel drive, 6-speed automatic transmissions, and 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines. All-wheel drive is optional for both models.

Neither car offers a particularly thrilling drive, but the Kona can be had with a turbocharged, 175-horsepower engine that has a satisfying amount of oomph to it. There’s also the Kona Electric, but that’s almost a completely different car altogether, so we won’t go any deeper into that.

Fuel Economy

As you might expect from a smaller vehicle, one significant advantage the Kona has over the Tucson is superior fuel efficiency. It has a combined fuel economy of 30 MPG across all models (27 City & 33 Highway on lower-priced trims, 28 City & 32 Highway on pricier trims).

Despite having a similar 2.0-liter Inline-4 engine, the Tucson gets a lower combined economy of 25 MPG (23 City & 28 Highway).

Technology and Features

Both 2021 models feature Smart Cruise Control, but the Hyundai Tucson’s version comes with automatic stop and go, which deactivates cruise control if the car slows to below 6 MPH or less. If the car in front moves within 3 seconds after deactivating, it re-activates itself. The Kona lacks this stop and go feature.

Meanwhile, the Hyundai Kona features a HUD display that reflects on the windshield, something which isn’t offered by the Tucson.

Pricing

The Kona base model SE starts at $20,400 and the SEL trim starts at $22,200. Both have different safety features, while the SEL trim has a Proximity Key with a push-button remote starter. The Limited and Ultimate Kona trims carry a special 175-hp 1.6L Turbo GDI engine with the same overall fuel economy of 30 MPG. The Limited starts at $26,200 and the Ultimate starts at $28,050.

The Tucson base model SE features Forward Collision Detect and starts at $23,700. The Value trim has BlueLink connectivity, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, and a remote start proximity key, which starts at $25,150. The SEL and Sport trims start at $26,100 and $28,250, respectively. The Limited trim comes with a heated steering wheel and a surround view monitor, starting at $29,400. The Ultimate trim comes with pedestrian detection and Smart Cruise Control with Stop & go, with a $32,050 starting price.

Overall, choosing the Hyundai Kona will save you around $4000 compared to a similarly equipped Hyundai Tucson. Of course, it will also be cheaper to run, which could amount to something significant if you drive a lot.

Hyundai Kona
Photo: Hyundai

Safety

Hyundai has been making sure all newer vehicles come with safety options that keep everyone on the road safe, and the 2021 models are no exception.

Both models come with the following safety features - Forward-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection (FCA-Ped), Blindspot Collision Warning, High-Beam Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) systems, and Driver Attention Warning (DAW) that alerts you if it detects distracted or inattentive driver patterns.

Both models received 5-star US NHTSA crash testing scores. The Kona and the Tucson have the same standard safety features, so they’re practically tied in this category.

Verdict

Choosing between the Hyundai Kona and Hyundai Tucson basically comes down to whether you want a nimble subcompact SUV in the Kona, or a slightly more spacious compact SUV in the Tucson.

However, in its current state, the Tucson is approaching the end of its lifecycle and it is therefore not a great time to buy. The all-new Tucson is already available in many parts of the globe, but Americans will have to wait till 2022.

Of course, there’s also more to think about thanks to the Hyundai Venue, another subcompact SUV that offers excellent value for money. We’d highly recommend visiting your local Hyundai dealership and discussing your needs with an expert to really narrow down your choice.

Full Comparison Table

2021 Hyundai Kona SE2021 Hyundai Tucson SE
Performance
Engine2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
Horsepower147 hp @ 6200 rpm161 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque132 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm150 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
Transmission6-Speed Automatic6-Speed Automatic
DrivetrainFront-Wheel DriveFront-Wheel Drive
Max. Towing Capacity (lbs.)-1000
Handling
Steering TypeRack-PinionRack-Pinion
Turning Diameter (ft.)34.834.9
Front SuspensionStrutStrut
Rear SuspensionTorsion BeamMulti-Link
Front Wheel Size16" x 6.5"17" x 7"
Rear Wheel Size16" x 6.5"17" x 7"
Front TireP205/60HR16P225/60HR17
Rear TireP205/60HR16P225/60HR17
Fuel Economy
MPG - Combined3025
MPG - City2723
MPG - Hwy3328
Gas Tank Size (gallons)13.216.4
Cruising Range - City (miles)356.4377.2
Cruising Range - Hwy (miles)435.6459.2
CO2 Emissions, 15K mi/year (tons)67.1
Exterior Dimensions
Length (in.)164176.4
Height (in.)6164.8
Max Width (in.)70.972.8
Front Width (in.)6263.3
Rear Width (in.)62.463.8
Wheelbase (in.)102.4105.1
Weight (lbs.)28903309
Interior Dimensions
Passenger Capacity55
Legroom - front (in.)41.541.5
Headroom - front (in.)39.639.6
Hip Room - front (in.)53.355.6
Shoulder Room - front (in.)55.557.1
Legroom - rear (in.)34.638.2
Headroom - rear (in.)37.839.2
Hip Room - rear (in.)52.254.5
Shoulder Room - rear (in.)54.555.5
Infotainment
BluetoothStandardStandard
Hard Disk DriveNot AvailableNot Available
HD RadioNot AvailableNot Available
Satellite RadioNot AvailableNot Available
MP 3 PlayerStandardStandard
Premium Sound SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Wifi HotspotNot AvailableNot Available
Aux Audio InStandardStandard
Entertainment SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Comfort
Head Up DisplayNot AvailableNot Available
Navigation SystemNot AvailableNot Available
Steering Wheel Audio ControlsStandardStandard
Power LiftgateNot AvailableNot Available
Power Mirror SStandardStandard
A CStandardStandard
Adaptive Cruise ControlNot AvailableNot Available
Automatic ParkingNot AvailableNot Available
Climate ControlNot AvailableNot Available
Cooled Front Seat SNot AvailableNot Available
Cooled Rear Seat SNot AvailableNot Available
Cruise ControlStandardStandard
Hands Free LiftgateNot AvailableNot Available
Heated Front Seat SNot AvailableNot Available
Heated Rear Seat SNot AvailableNot Available
Heated Steering WheelNot AvailableNot Available
Keyless EntryStandardStandard
Multi Zone A CNot AvailableNot Available
Power Driver SeatNot AvailableNot Available
Power Passenger SeatNot AvailableNot Available
Remote Engine StartNot AvailableNot Available
Remote Trunk ReleaseNot AvailableNot Available
Seat MemoryNot AvailableNot Available
Universal Garage Door OpenerNot AvailableNot Available
Seat MassageNot AvailableNot Available
Rear A CNot AvailableNot Available
Keyless StartNot AvailableNot Available
Navigation From TelematicsNot AvailableNot Available
TelematicsNot AvailableNot Available
Interior Trim
Bucket SeatsStandardStandard
Cloth SeatsStandardStandard
Leather SeatsStandardStandard
Leather Steering WheelNot AvailableNot Available
Premium Synthetic SeatsStandardStandard
Vinyl SeatsStandardStandard
Woodgrain Interior TrimNot AvailableNot Available
Sun MoonroofNot AvailableNot Available
Safety
Back Up CameraStandardStandard
Cross Traffic AlertNot AvailableNot Available
Rear Parking AidNot AvailableNot Available
Blind Spot MonitorNot AvailableNot Available
Lane Departure WarningStandardStandard
Lane Keeping AssistStandardStandard
ABSStandardStandard
Night VisionNot AvailableNot Available
Tire Pressure MonitorStandardStandard
Brake AssistStandardStandard
Stability ControlStandardStandard
Traction ControlStandardStandard
Airbags
Driver Air BagStandardStandard
Front Head Air BagStandardStandard
Front Side Air BagStandardStandard
Knee Air BagNot AvailableNot Available
Passenger Air BagStandardStandard
Rear Head Air BagStandardStandard
Rear Side Air BagNot AvailableNot Available
Seatbelt Air BagNot AvailableNot Available
Warranty
Basic5 Years / 60,000 Miles5 Years / 60,000 Miles
Corrosion7 Years / Unlimited Miles7 Years / Unlimited Miles
Drivetrain10 Years / 100,000 Miles10 Years / 100,000 Miles
Maintenance3 Years / 36,000 Miles3 Years / 36,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance5 Years / Unlimited Miles5 Years / Unlimited Miles