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The Hyundai Kona and Kia Seltos are both excellent subcompact SUVs. They have a few mechanical similarities, but they’re different enough to stand on their own. Hyundai Kona sales are off to a great start so far this year. Let’s find out why that might be.

The Hyundai Kona sales are better than the Kia Seltos

One advantage of the Hyundai Kona over the Kia Seltos is its popularity. According to data on GoodCarBadCar, the Hyundai has sold 37,925 units so far in 2023. The Seltos lags behind a bit; it sold 32,423 units in the same period.

So, the market has spoken. The Hyundai Kona is slightly more popular in the U.S. than the Kia Seltos. There could be a few reasons for this. For starters, there are slightly more Hyundai dealers in the U.S. compared to Kia’s dealer network. Another perk of the Kona is a lower starting price. For the 2023 model year, the Kona starts at $22,140, and the Seltos begins at $23,340.

The Hyundai Kona also has more variety in its model range than the Kia Seltos. The Seltos has a fun turbo engine available, but it doesn’t compare to the high-performance Hyundai Kona N. It boasts a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque plus N Sport bucket seats, performance tires, an N 8-speed DCT transmission, and more.

There’s also a Kona Electric available with a 258-mile range on a full charge. The Seltos has no EV option.

One crucial factor that they have in common is an outstanding warranty. They’re both covered by a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The Seltos is catching up to Hyundai Kona sales

Although the Hyundai Kona outsells the Kia Seltos, Seltos sales numbers are growing faster. So far in 2023, Seltos sales have increased 64 percent, while Kona sales have grown 15 percent in the same period. Both are growing, but the Seltos is growing faster.

Part of the reason the Kia Seltos could be growing faster is that word is getting out about how good it is. Remember, the Kona has been around longer than the Seltos. The Kona came out for the 2018 model year, and the Seltos was all-new for 2021.

2024 updates to both models

The Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona both receive updates for 2024. The Kona enters an all-new generation for 2024, and the Seltos receives a mid-cycle refresh. The update to the Seltos includes refreshed styling inside and out, an updated infotainment display, a rotary shifter, and a rugged-looking X-Line trim. Also, the turbo engine gets an extra 20 hp and a new 8-speed automatic transmission.

Meanwhile, the Kona is all-new for 2024. It’s slightly bigger, gets a sleek new look, and a new hybrid powertrain is on the way. It appears to be an improvement of an already excellent subcompact SUV.

Which is better?

Since these SUVs are both so good and so close in price, which is better primarily comes down to personal preference. If you want hot hatch performance in an SUV or you’re looking for an EV, then the Hyundai Kona is a better choice. However, the Kia Seltos is a roomier SUV, and most trims come standard with AWD.


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