Compared: 2023 Kia Niro vs. 2023 Hyundai Kona

One of these corporate cousins wins on price, the other on features and sustainability.

2023 Kia Niro in green and blue 2023 Hyundai Kona LimitedKia | Hyundai

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The 2023 Kia Niro and 2023 Hyundai Kona are subcompact crossovers that fall from the same family tree but cater to different tastes and needs. Both offer seating for five, multiple powertrain options, and modern tech and safety suites, but the Niro is a little more upscale and geared toward eco-conscious buyers. The Kona stays true to its Hyundai roots as a value play, perfect for cost-conscious shoppers. This comparison does not include the high-performance 276-hp Kona N, which lacks a competitor in the Niro lineup.

The Hyundai Kona Is Cheaper Than the Kia Niro for a Comparable Trim

The front-drive-only 2023 Kia Niro comes in three models: the traditional hybrid at about $28,000, the Niro PHEV at about $35,000, and the Niro EV at roughly $41,000. The EV leads in output, with 201 horsepower. The base setup makes 139 horsepower, while the PHEV produces 180 horsepower.

The more reasonably priced 2023 Hyundai Kona also offers three powertrains, but only one of them is electrified. The base model employs a 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and costs around $24,000 to start. Above that there's the $29,000 sport-oriented N Line, which delivers 195 horsepower from a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder. At the top of the range (excluding the Kona N), there's the 201-hp Kona Electric, which goes for about $35,000 — around $6,000 less than the equally powerful Niro EV. That Kona comes exclusively with front-wheel drive, but buyers can spec either of the lower-priced, gas-only models with all-wheel drive for $1,500 extra.

2023 Kia Niro Hybrid engine bayKia

Niro and Kona Are Closely Matched in Features

The 2023 Kia Niro's cabin — with its sculptural lines and nicely textured touch points derived from recycled plastics, repurposed wallpaper, and eucalyptus leaves — gives off a modern, eco-conscious vibe. The 2023 Hyundai Kona's interior, by comparison, feels less polished and more utilitarian, in line with the model's lower price point. The Niro also comes better equipped.

Both Kia and Hyundai provide desirable features such as blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist across their lineups, but Hyundai reserves a couple of things, such as automatic high-beams and dual-zone automatic climate control, for top models.

Similarly, leather-trimmed seats are available only at the top of the Kona Electric range, whereas various Niro trims come standard with it. Lower Kona trims as well as base Niro hybrid models — both traditional and plug-in — make do with an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen and regular cruise control, but top-level Kona trims and most Niro trims have a 10.3-inch center display and adaptive cruise.

2023 Hyundai Kona Limited front cabinHyundai

The Niro Beats the Kona in Fuel Economy — Except for the EV Variants

The EPA has yet to publish ratings for a few models in the 2023 Niro line, but Kia estimates the hybrid will see up to 53 mpg, the plug-in up to 108 MPGe, and the 253-mile EV up to 113 MPGe. Moreover, the PHEV can provide up to 33 miles of range on electricity alone.

Unsurprisingly, the gas-only 2023 Konas can't really compete with any of the Niros in fuel economy, but the front-drive base and N Line models return a decent 32 mpg. Adding all-wheel drive drops that figure by two and three points, respectively. The 2023 Kona Electric, however, outperforms the 2023 Niro EV here, boasting 120 MPGe and offering 258 miles of range.

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication), and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Teia Collier
Native Texan with a love for people, auto, beautiful design and a grand adventure, Teia Collier is an award-winning writer based in the Dallas area. With a background in education, civic service, and public policy, she loves to discover the why behind a thing and to connect people with the best resources to make their lives better. Collier is also a mom of three, addicted to coffee, and the incoming president of the Texas Auto Writers Association.