The Hyundai Kona and Ford EcoSport are two small SUVs that emphasize affordability and urban usability. Here’s how they compare.
Hyundai Kona 2021
2021 Hyundai Kona starting price: $20,050 | Price yours Where See listings near you
Above average: Optional turbo engine; electric version available; lively chassis; All-wheel drive option; long warranty.
Below average: Small hold; tight rear seat; EV limited to California emission states.
Consensus: The 2021 Hyundai Kona is a spunky urban runabout with two engine options, including a zippy turbo and an EV. In addition to a long warranty, Hyundai offers three years of free maintenance.
2021 Ford EcoSport
2021 Ford EcoSport starting price: $19,995 | Price yours Where See listings near you
Above average: all-wheel drive available; nimble handling; easy to park.
Below average: Fuel economy; acceleration; narrow inner limits.
Consensus: Subcompact SUVs are popular, but the 2021 Ford EcoSport struggles against some competitors in this segment. The absence of many of the driver assistance systems that are standard on most of its rivals makes the EcoSport a tough buy.
Kona vs. EcoSport: Small SUVs for the City
The 2021 Hyundai Kona lives up to its name with its caffeinated exterior styling, nimble handling and available turbo engine. The look might not be to everyone’s taste, but it helps the Kona stand out despite its small size. The overall length is shorter than most of its rivals, which is ideal for street parking. However, rear legroom is tight and the cargo hold is rather small.
At this low price, the cabin materials are basic and the interior could make more use of the expressive design found on the exterior. The switchgear is user-friendly, as is the 7-inch (8-inch in the Ultimate trim) infotainment system.
A 147-hp 2.0-liter base engine pairs with a 6-speed automatic, while a 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo engine gets a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and finds itself in the three best versions. With either engine, the combined EPA rating is 30 mpg with FWD and 27 mpg with AWD. There’s also a Kona EV with an impressive range of 258 miles and 201 horsepower, but its availability is limited to states that meet California emissions standards.
Hyundai’s long warranty coverage and 3-year/36,000-mile free scheduled maintenance are pluses. Among the standard safety features are Forward Collision Warning and Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping and Following Assist, and Driver Attention Warning. Kona also earns an NHTSA 5-star overall safety rating.
The EcoSport is one of the smallest SUVs on the market. Front-wheel-drive versions are powered by a tiny 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder that develops 123 horsepower. AWD versions get a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder developing 166 horsepower.
Both use a 6-speed automatic, and while the EcoSport can feel quick enough around town, acceleration at highway speeds is laborious. Fuel economy is disappointing at just 27/29 mpg city/highway (FWD) and 23/29 mpg (AWD). The EcoSport’s chassis tuning, at least, lives up to its name with its nimble handling, and the EcoSport’s small footprint allows for easy parking.
The cramped cabin feels cramped, and there’s only 20.9 cubic feet of luggage space behind the rear seat. That expands to 50 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded down, and access to the cargo hold is through an old-style side-hinged door.
An easy-to-use 8-inch touchscreen (in all but the base car) includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and Waze integration; navigation is available on the SES and Titanium versions. Both models also benefit from blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, which are optional on the SE. Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are not available, however, a glaring omission.
Starting price; available all-wheel drive; external dimensions
Advantages of the 2021 Hyundai Kona
Optional turbo engine; EV available; lively handling; long warranty.
Benefits of the 2021 Ford EcoSport
Low starting price; ease of parking.
Which is good for me?
The 2021 Hyundai Kona offers a winning combination of driving pleasure, especially with its available turbo engine, available features and superior warranty. There is also an electric version available in some states.
The 2021 Ford EcoSport hauls a decent amount of cargo with the seats folded down, and its very small and cramped footprint could benefit anyone with a very cramped garage.
Ready to buy a Hyundai Kona or a Ford EcoSport? Buy one on sale now you
|Hyundai Kona 2021||2021 Ford EcoSport|
|Motor||2.0 liter I4||1.0 liter turbo I3|
|Powerful||147 hp at 6,200 rpm||123 hp at 6000 rpm|
|Couple||132 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm||125 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|fuel economy||30 mpg (27 city/33 highway)||28 mpg (27 city/29 highway)|
|Also available||1.6 liter turbo I4; 7-speed automatic; all-wheel drive; VE||2.0 liter I4; all-wheel drive|
|Basic warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||10 years/100,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|NHTSA Global Safety||5 stars||4 stars|
|Maximum seating capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||102.4 inches||99.2 inches|
|Total length||164.0 inches||161.3 inches|
|Width||70.9 inches||69.5 inches|
|Height||61.0 inches||64.8 inches|
|Turning diameter||34.8 feet||36.8 feet|
|Headroom, front||39.6 inches||39.6 inches|
|Headroom, rear||37.8 inches||35.0 inches|
|Leg room, front||41.5 inches||42.9 inches|
|Leg room, rear||34.6 inches||36.7 inches|
|Shoulder room, front||55.5 inches||53.3 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||54.5 inches||51.3 inches|
|EPA passenger volume||94.1 cubic feet||91.1 cubic feet|
|EPA cargo volume||19.2/45.8 cubic feet||20.9/50.0 cubic feet|