Are you looking for a compact SUV that comes well-equipped, is nice to drive and offers great value for money? Then your choice is likely to come down to either the Hyundai Kona or Kia Seltos.

But choosing between these two is harder than it looks because Hyundai owns approximately one-third of Kia’s shares and to reduce costs, the two companies agreed to share platforms.

So while they are made in separate factories and sold through separate dealerships, they share the same underlying Hyundai-Kia B SUV platform.

But this is more than a case of badge engineering. The two companies work hard to make each model distinctive. So much so they are more like distant cousins than brother and sister.

So which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out.

The Basics

Hyundai Kona

Price: $28,388 - $71,895

Drive train: 2.0L ULP, CVT, Auto, Electric

Body type: SUV

Dimensions: 1550x1800x4205 mm

Kia Seltos

Price: $27,990 - $49,990

Drive train: 2.0L ULP, CVT, Auto

Body type: SUV

Dimensions: 1615x1800x4370 mm

Not surprisingly, there is not much between them on paper. Both cars start at the same price and share the same engine and transmission options, although only the Hyundai Kona is available with an electric drivetrain.

In terms of value for money, the Kia Seltos comes with a higher standard specification. Even the base Model S comes with a reversing camera and parking sensors as standard.

But we suspect most people will opt for the $28,990 Seltos Sport model. This comes equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels and a full-colour 10.25-inch touchscreen.

Buyers looking to go electric have no option but to opt for Kona Electric. This is fitted with a 150 kW motor that provides 484 km of range and with prices starting at $59,346, this is one of the most affordable electric family cars on sale in Australia.

Recommended Reading: 7 SUV's You Can Buy Under $40,000 In Australia


Both the Seltos and the Kona are impressive inside. The cars come well equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. This can be upgraded to a 10.25-inch full-colour screen on higher-end models.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard on both models. This should help to keep the kids entertained on long journeys while the grown-ups can luxuriate in the comfort of heated and ventilated front seats.

When it comes to space, the Kia Seltos has the upper hand. There is more legroom both front and back, and while the Hyundai Kona has to make do with 374 litres of luggage space, the Seltos has a spacious 433 litres.

Buyers of the top-of-the-range GT Seltos also get to enjoy an 8-speaker Bose Sound System, along with a trick interior lighting system that changes colour in time with the beat of the music.

So the Kia Seltos has the advantage in standard equipment and space while the Hyundai feels a little more refined and dare I say, grown-up.


Park these two together in the parking lot and you’d never know they are based on the same platform. While the Kia Seltos is boxy and SUV-like, the Kona is all swoops and curves. But both cars are attractive in their own way, so ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

From a practical point of view, the Kia Seltos sits higher and has greater ground clearance. This is a good thing if you intend to drive off-road but it makes the car more difficult to get in and out of, especially for older or immobile people.

The base model Hyundai also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels as standard. While the Seltos S has to make do with 16-inch steel wheels. While alloys are available as an option. It's a bit disappointing to see steel wheels on an SUV in this price range.


Hyundai Kona

Engine: 2.0 Petrol

Transmission: 8 sp automatic FWD

Power: 180 Nm @ 4500 rpm

Power to weight ratio: 81.3 Kw/t

Find A Used Hyundai Kona On Cartopia

Kia Seltos

Engine: 2.0 Petrol

Transmission: 8 sp automatic FWD

Power: 180 Nm @ 4500 rpm

Power to weight ratio: 81.2 Kw/t

Search For A Used Kia Seltos On Cartopia

Both cars share the same drivetrain so they have similar performance. The standard 2.0L petrol engine develops 147HP and is matted to an 8 speed CVT transmission.

A more powerful 1.6L turbo engine with 174HP is available on 4-wheel-drive models. This is connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch manual transmission as standard. But, buyers of the Seltos can also opt for an automatic option.

Buyers looking for an alternative to the petrol engine will have to go with the Kona Electric. This comes with a 150kW motor that drives the front wheels via a reduction gear transmission.

The performance of the Kona Electric is brisk and more than a match for any other electric or ICE powered SUV. Only owners of the much more expensive Tesla Model 3 will be able to outpace you.

On the road, both cars have similar driving characteristics. But the Kia sits higher and leans more in corners. While the Kona sits lower on firmer springs which give it a more sporty feel.

All things considered, the Kona is the better long-distance driving machine. While the Kia offers more practicality and is better off-road.

Related: 7 Electric SUV's Coming To Australia

Tech & Safety

Tech and safety features are an important consideration for families, so you’ll be pleased to know that both cars come well equipped in that department.

Both the Santos and Kona have a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. They also come with blind-spot monitoring, lane assist and collision avoidance systems. Front and rear parking sensors and driver attention warnings are also included.

But only the Hyundai Kona is equipped with Smart Cruise Control. This fully automated system not only maintains a preset speed, it maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

And while both models are equipped with front collision avoidance systems, the Hyundai can mitigate against collisions at speeds up to 180 km/h. While the Kia Santos is limited to 120 km/h.

So while both models come well equipped, the Hyundai Kona has the upper hand in the safety department.


Hyundai Kona

Sporty design

Engaging driving experience

Great safety features

Kia Seltos

Attractive pricing

Plenty of interior space

Large boot

Great off-road driving

Who Should Buy The Hyundai Kona?

The Kona is a great looking family SUV that comes well equipped and packed with safety features. While it's not as good off-road as the Seltos, the smooth handling makes for a more comfortable long-distance driving experience.

The Kona Electric is also one of the more affordable family electric cars.

So if you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, and you love taking your family on long cross-country road trips, the Hyundai Kona is a great choice.

Read Our Full Review Of The 2022 Hyundai Kona

Who Should Buy The Kia Seltos?

The Kia Seltos offers better value than the Kona and it comes with more space for both the driver and passengers. While the big boot will come in handy for camping trips, the high ground clearance is also great for off-road driving.

This makes the Kia the best choice for families that enjoy exploring the great outdoors.

Learn More About The 2022 Kia Seltos

Final Verdict

On paper, there is little to choose between these two cars, but in the metal, it's a different story. The Hyundai Kona is more refined and is easier to drive long distances while the Kia Seltos has better off-road performance and more space inside.

Only the Hyundai Kona is available with an electric drivetrain. So if you want to go electric, the decision is made for you. For everyone else, it comes down to value and practicality vs driving dynamics.

Get financing for a Hyundai Kona or Kia Seltos. Begin Your Enquiry Now. 

More: 2021 Hyundai Kona vs Kia Seltos

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Jordan Ballard

Jordan Ballard

Automotive Content Editor

Jordan is a car finance and automotive industry specialist at Only Cars. With over 20 years of experience with frontline and management roles in sales, finance and other areas, Jordan has an incredible understanding of the automotive industry. As Automotive Content Editor, Jordan loves sharing his passion for cars with the Only Cars audience.