What we compared
Mitsubishi supplied us with a high-spec XLS 2WD version ($32,000) and Hyundai gave us the base-model Active ($24,500) fitted with the $1500 Safety Pack. ASX gets a similar option on the base-grade LS, called the LS ADAS model, and while optioning these additional safety features is money well spent, it would have been preferable if they were standard across the range.
This small SUV category is all about driving ease and functionality, focusing on city and suburban use with the occasional country trip, and that’s where our test cars’ strengths lie, although they approach the task slightly differently.
Mechanically, they follow a similar formula: a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
The main difference was equipment levels, with additional comfort and convenience features in our high-end ASX including heated front seats, power adjustment on the driver’s seat, smart key/push-button start and rain-sensing wipers. These features are on higher-spec Konas. Both vehicles rely on your mobile phone data for their sat-nav operation via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
On the inside
ASX is one of the bigger-bodied and roomier wagons in the category, and parked side by side Kona is noticeably smaller, but Hyundai has made good use of the interior space. Neither has anything other than adequate width and leg room across the back seat, with ASX’s marginally better. The typical SUV high, upright seating position is more pronounced in the ASX, making its all-round visibility fractionally better, but it loses out to Kona on head room, which was not helped by the sunroof in our ASX. The biggest space difference is the ASX’s much larger luggage compartment, even though the Kona’s is by no means small for the class.
Kona’s newer cabin design has a fresh, welcoming feel, with a straightforward presentation and clear, logically placed controls. For a base model, front seats are well shaped, supportive and very comfortable.