2020 Hyundai Tucson vs. 2020 Hyundai Kona: Compare Crossover SUVs

2020 Hyundai Tucson

Walk into a Hyundai showroom and it’s not a question of whether the Korean automaker has the right crossover SUV, it’s a matter of which size crossover is for you. Do you need small or smaller?

If the mid-size Hyundai Santa Fe is too large and the subcompact Venue is too small, then the 2020 Hyundai Tucson or 2020 Hyundai Kona should fit your needs. But which one is best?

The 2020 Tucson is in its final year before a complete overhaul, but its refined exterior and quiet interior warranted a TCC Rating of 6.5 out of 10. The smaller 2020 Hyundai Kona has great standard features and versatility that earns a TCC Rating of 6.0 out of 10.

The difference between the two might come down to how much the rear seat will be used.

More: Read our full reviews of the 2020 Hyundai Kona and 2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Hyundai Kona

Both the Kona and the Tucson seat five passengers with comfortable seats and plenty of space up front. The second row and cargo area are where things part ways.

The rear seats of the Kona have limited knee- and leg room, though head room is average thanks to its bubble roof design. Those seated in the back of the Tucson will thank you with nearly four inches more legroom than the backseat of the Kona, but shoulder space is a narrow proposition. We recommend reclining the seat back for a more comfortable experience.

When it comes to hauling, the Tucson was made with more cargo space in mind. The 30.1 cubic feet of space behind the second row doubles to 61.9 cubic feet of space with the rear seat folded flat. The shorter, smaller Kona has 19.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 45.8 cubic feet behind with the rear seats folded. Despite less cargo space, the Kona gets a nod and a wink for a low load floor and a wide, squarish rear opening that makes loading cargo a breeze. Dogs like getting in and out as much as their humans.

Both the Kona and Tucson put a priority on safety with standard automatic emergency braking. The larger Tucson takes the standard active safety tech a step further with active lane control, which is extra on the Kona. Oddly, theKona offers a head-up display but the Tucson does not. The Tucson can be had with a surround-view camera system but the Kona does not. Fortunately, both models can be had with blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control.

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Hyundai Kona

The Kona’s look is newer and edgier than the Tucson. Despite the Tucson’s age––it will be redesigned for 2021––the mid-sizer has a refined and adult-like design that won’t offend, or embarrass, anyone. The conservative but handsome exterior complements the simple if not boring interior.
If the Tucson is the adult then that makes the Kona the teenager going through some awkward years with mismatched details, two-tier headlights, fake vents, and complicated body lines tacked onto a lifted hatchback. Inside, the Kona is like the Tucson with a logical cabin layout and easy-to-use controls, but there are flourishes like orange or green accents on top-trim models akin to a mohawk on a teenager.

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Hyundai Kona

The 2020 Kona and 2020 Tucson are powered by a 2.0-liter inline 4 with a 6-speed automatic powering the front wheels. The Kona’s version makes 147 horsepower while the Tucson in SE or Value trim gets 161 hp. Most Tucsons get a more powerful 181-hp 2.4-liter inline-4, while Limited and Ultimate Konas comes with a 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4. The base engine is a better fit in both of these people movers as the 2.4-L doesn’t add much power while the Kona’s turbo-4 comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that gets confused and feels hesitant at city speeds. All-wheel drive is an option on both the Kona and Tucson for $1,400.

2020 Hyundai Kona

2020 Hyundai Kona

Konas cost just over $20,000 while the Tucson is $4,000 more. Both are similarly equipped with standard cloth upholstery, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, air conditioning, and power features. Our pick of the lineups would be the Kona SEL for just over $23,000 as it nets keyless entry with keyless ignition, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic warnings. For the Tucson, we’d recommend the Value trim for just over $26,000, which adds heated front seats, satellite and HD radio, blind-spot monitors, and keyless ignition along with 8-way power seats.

Both of these crossover SUVs pack a lot of value, but the Tucson offers more space for not much more money and the ability to comfortably haul a family of four and all their gear for a weekend at the lake cottage.

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