Hyundai Kona Electric vs. Kia Niro EV

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - September 19, 2019

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly mainstream, led by the likes of General Motors and Tesla. But other manufacturers are joining the party. Two recent but well-received entrants come from sister brands Hyundai and Kia.

In 2019, the Hyundai Kona Electric earned the honor of the world’s first electric sub-compact crossover, but it was closely followed by the Kia Niro EV. The two cars share the same powertrain and a similar shape. So, which is the better way to go green?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Kona Electric & Niro EV »

What the Kona Electric Gets Right

The Hyundai Kona Electric wins its first victory on price. After destination fees, the Kona Electric starts at $37,495, which bests the Kia Niro EV's $39,495 starting price by $2,000.

Thanks to its smaller size and lighter weight, the Kona Electric prevails on a key EV battleground: range. The EPA estimates that the Kona Electric runs for up to 258 miles, compared to 239 miles for the Niro EV.

For the same reason, the Kona Electric gets more performance out of its powertrain. It’s a couple tenths faster from 0-60 mph, and its lighter weight lends it more responsiveness on the road.

Although the Kona Electric doesn’t win all the feature battles, it does come with a couple standard perks that the Niro EV can’t match, like heated front seats and an auxiliary audio input.

What the Niro EV Gets Right

The Kia Niro EV loses some range due to its size, but it wins out on capacity. The two cars both have around 19 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in place, but with the second row folded, the Niro EV has 53 cubic feet to the Hyundai Kona Electric’s 45.8.

The size helps passenger space, too. The Niro EV has 2.6 inches more leg room than the Kona Electric in the second row, and the Niro EV’s front row has more head room.

Both cars come with a strong set of active safety features, but the Niro EV has a few extra features. Adaptive cruise control comes standard, and the Niro EV has options for parking sensors at both ends. The Kona Electric can’t match either.

The Niro EV also holds a few perks over the Kona Electric, like power-folding and heated side mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an optional heated steering wheel.

The Efficiency Compromise

Aside from a few feature nitpicks, the main differences between these cars come in the trade-off between size and efficiency. The Hyundai Kona Electric is the smaller vehicle, which gives it a longer range and a nimbler feel. The Kia Niro EV loses some efficiency, but it gains extra passenger and cargo space.

Our Verdict: Hyundai Kona Electric

This one is close, but what tips the balance for us is the Hyundai Kona Electric’s affordability. Some buyers will no doubt appreciate the Kia Niro EV’s extra size – of the two, it’s the one that feels more like a true crossover. Both of these cars deserve more buyers than they'll likely get.

But the Kona Electric is a genuinely good EV with a strong feature set at a mainstream price, and its added range makes it even more appealing. This is an EV that many drivers should consider.

Take a closer look at the Hyundai Kona Electric »

Take a closer look at the Kia Niro EV »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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