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2021 Hyundai Kona vs 2021 Toyota C-HR

We take a look at two of the latest entries in the surging sub-compact SUV segment.

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2021 Hyundai Kona  

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $21,299 CDN 

 

Pros 

Available turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive 

All-electric Kona EV can cover over 400 kilometres between charges 

Extra-long factory warranty 

 

Cons 

Kona Electric can feel a bit choppier to drive due to its large battery. 

 

2021 Hyundai Kona Highlights 

Wedged between the slightly smaller Venue and slightly larger Tucson in Hyundai's small SUV lineup, the 5-passenger 2021 Hyundai Kona has become one of the best-selling sub-compact SUVs in Canada since its arrival for 2018. Although some of the Kona's rivals offer only front-wheel-drive and limited powertrain options, two of the main reasons for the Hyundai SUV's popularity are the Kona's choice of powertrain options and excellent value for your money pricing.  

The base, front-wheel-drive $21,299 CDN (starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices) Kona Essential trim is well-equipped, with a 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque 2.0-litre 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic transmission. A 7-inch infotainment touchscreen that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus heated front seats are also standard. All-wheel-drive (AWD) is a $2,000 CDN add-on. All-wheel-drive is standard starting with the $26,899 CDN Kona Trend, which also adds a more powerful 175 horsepower 195 pound-feet of torque turbocharged 1.6-litre 4-cylinder and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. If you don't want a gas engine powering your small SUV, the $44,999 CDN Kona Electric is unique in this segment. Boasting an estimated range of 415 kilometres between charges, the Kona Electric uses a powerful 201 horsepower 290 pound-feet of torque electric motor and single-gear automatic transmission to send power to the front wheels. 

Inside, the 2021 Hyundai Kona's quest for user-friendliness means a cabin not quite as "individual" as the outside, but that's no cause for complaint. Its front seats are perfectly comfortable, and the controls are easy to see and use, with physical buttons that complement the standard touchscreen. The rear accommodations are limited—no big surprise given the Kona's sub-compact stature. But there's a decent amount of cargo space behind those rear seats.  

 

2021 Toyota C-HR  

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $23,750 CDN 

 

Pros 

Progressive styling 

Refined ride and handling 

Toyota reliability and resale values 

 

Cons 

No all-wheel-drive option 

Single powertrain option 

Shorter term factory warranty 

 

2021 Toyota C-HR Highlights 

Also making its debut in 2018, the 2021 Toyota C-HR is the Japanese automaker’s starter SUV, positioned under its popular RAV4 compact SUV. Pricing starts with the $23,750 CDN C-HR LE and includes such features as an 8-inch touch screen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Toyota’s Safety Sense driver assistance package. The topline $28,850 CDN C-HR Limited adds leather seating, LED headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting System and larger alloy wheels.  

Unlike the Kona, the C-HR only offers one powertrain: a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder unit making 144 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque with no turbocharger electric motor in sight. The C-HR does not provide all-wheel-drive for all its crossover-SUV pretensions, as its continuously variable automatic transmission sends engine power to the front wheels only. On the plus side, the C-HR’s chassis is clearly talented enough to handle some extra muscle. There’s a combination of suppleness and control reminiscent of expensive European cars.  

With styling that is arguably more aggressive than the Kona, the 2021 Toyota C-HR certainly won’t get lost in a crowded parking lot. With similar dimensions and packaging, passenger and cargo volume differences are negligible between the Toyota and Hyundai. The Toyota C-HR’s cabin sports a design that’s less eye-catching than the outside, which is no bad thing. Some diamond patterns on the dashboard, doors and headliner echo the C-HR’s extrovert vibe. The quality of materials is somewhat upscale, and occupant comfort is perfectly acceptable for longer trips. The Toyota’s cabin is just as roomy as the Kona’s—excellent for two passengers, okay for four, and a bit tight for five.  

  

Final Recommendation 

As contemporary interpretations of the traditional, 5-door compact hatchback but with SUV-like styling and attitude, the Hyundai Kona and Toyota C-HR should be shortlisted. Both offer the latest in infotainment and safety features and standout exterior styling. 

If you're looking for traditional Toyota values like reliably and high-resale values, the 2021 Toyota C-HR is a good choice. The Toyota small SUV also handles quite well when the roads get twisty and offers look-at-me external styling. 

However, if you seek more power (maybe even electric power), traction at all four wheels, a more extended factory warranty and lower pricing, the 2021 Hyundai Kona is our recommendation if you are shopping for a new sub-compact SUV.

 

Specs 

2021 Hyundai Kona 

2021 Toyota C-HR  

 

Engine(s) 

2.0-litre I4 

Turbocharged 1.6-litre I4 

Electric Motor 

 

2.0-litre I4 

 

Horsepower 

2.0- 146 hp @ 6,200 rpm 

T1.6- 175 hp @ 5,500 rpm 

EV-  201 hp  

 

144 hp @ 6,100 rpm 

 

Torque 

2.0-132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm 

T1.6- 195 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,500 rpm 

EV- 290 lb-ft 

 

139 hp @ 3,900 rpm 

 

Transmission(s) 

2.0- 6-speed automatic 

T1.6- 7-speed automatic 

EV- Single Speed Reduction Gear 

 

Continuously variable automatic 

Fuel Economy 

FWD 2.0- 7.9 L/100 km (8.6 city, 7.0 hwy) 

AWD 2.0- 8.6 L/100 km (9.2 city, 7.8 hwy) 

AWD T1.6- 8.6 L/100 km (9.2 city, 7.8 hwy) 

EV- 2.0 L/100 km (1.8 city, 2.2 hwy) 

 

8.2 L/100 km (8.7 city, 7.5 hwy) 

 

Warranty 

5 years/100,000 km 

3 years/60,000 km 

Max Seating Capacity 

Curb Weight 

1,311-1,478 kgs 

1,496 kgs 

Wheelbase 

2,600 mm 

2,642 mm 

Overall Length 

4,165 mm 

4,352 mm 

Width 

1,800 mm 

1,796 mm 

Height 

1,565 mm 

1,565 mm 

Headroom, Front 

1,005-965 mm 

968 mm 

Headroom, 2nd-row 

961 mm 

973 mm 

Legroom, Front 

1,054 mm 

1,105 mm 

Legroom, 2nd-row 

880 mm 

805 mm 

Shoulder Room, Front 

1,410 mm 

1,245 mm 

Shoulder Room, 2nd-row 

1,385 mm 

1,334 mm 

Cargo Volume, Behind 2nd-row seats 

544 L 

538 L 

 

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