The Kona is the larger of Hyundai's subcompact SUVs, positioned above the pint-sized Venue and the compact Tucson, which is being redesigned for 2022. Introduced for the 2018 model year, the Kona saw a mid-cycle refresh for 2020.
In a competitive segment full of new players, the Hyundai Kona still manages to stand out. Chunky styling and inspired interior design differentiate the Kona from generic lozenge-shaped crossovers like the Honda HR-V. We're big fans of the torquey 1.6-liter turbo-four, but even the base powertrain is relatively fun to drive.
The reasonably sized cargo hold is useful for single trips, but as we found in our long-term Kona, moving large amounts of cargo is best handled by a rented cargo van. That said, we were able to cram 10 days' worth of camping gear in the cargo hold without obstructing visibility, and even loaded up, the turbo-four provided plenty of propulsion.
The Kona's sporty handling comes with a firmer ride quality, however, and like other subcompact SUVs, the cabin can get noisy. The back seat is on the tighter side, too. Some might find that the Kona's easy-to-use infotainment system and large standard touchscreen compensate for any interior foibles. As a package, Hyundai's subcompact crossover is a compelling little thing with distinctive character among a subclass of forgettable competitors.
Unless you opt for the Kona Electric, your new little ute will feature a four-cylinder engine under its hood. SE, SEL, and SEL Plus models make use of a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated mill working with a six-speed automatic. FWD is standard, and AWD is optional on all trims. The base engine develops 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque that, in our SUV of the Year testing, helped a FWD Kona SEL reach 60 mph in 8.3 seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 25-27/30-33 mpg city/highway, with FWD models holding an advantage.
Higher trims—that means Limited, Ultimate, and the new Night Edition—work with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that swaps the base engine's six-speed conventional auto with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The turbo-four generates 175 hp and 195 lb-ft. Our testing has found FWD variants accelerating to 60 in 6.4 seconds and AWD examples a couple ticks behind at 6.6 seconds. Surprisingly, the more powerful engine is similarly efficient. With the 1.6T powertrain, the Kona is EPA-rated at 26-28/29-32 mpg.
Wondering if it's worth spending a little extra cash on the Kona Electric? You're in luck; we conducted a full comparison test between one Kona with the 1.6-liter turbo-four and another with a 201-hp electric motor. We found the electric variant to offer a smoother, better-performing powertrain, and with over 250 miles of range, it can travel far enough for most journeys without you worrying about how many electrons are left in the battery. So, if the electric model is within budget and the compromised rear seat isn't an issue, try the EV version.
The Kona is one of the safest subcompact SUVs on sale. In IIHS safety testing, the Kona earns the highest possible crashworthiness ratings across the board, and when equipped with the LED headlights standard on Limited and Ultimate trims, it's a 2020 Top Safety Pick. That said, the standard halogen headlights on lower trims receive the lowest possible rating of Poor. The Kona also earns a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.
Hyundai also includes a variety of active safety features on the Kona. Base models include automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and driver attention warning as standard. SEL models and above add blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while the Ultimate trim includes adaptive cruise control, plus pedestrian detection and rear brake support for the automatic emergency braking system.
The Kona seats five and while the 41.5 inches of front legroom are just fine, 34.6 inches of legroom in the rear trails the amount of space offered by the Subaru Crosstrek, Mazda CX-30, and Honda HR-V. Cargo space is closer to the pack at 19.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats but still on the smaller end of the segment. The Kona can hold 45.8 cubic feet of cargo when you fold down the rear seats.
Every Kona—even the base car—includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Entry-level models are equipped with a six-speaker audio system and SEL Plus trims and above boast an eight-speaker Infinity premium system.
|$0||2.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Hyundai announces APR rates on select models.||07-06-2021|
|$400||Hyundai announces a Bonus Cash offer for College Graduates who finance through HMF.||12-31-2021|
|$500||Hyundai announces a Bonus Cash offer available to all service branches of the military including National Guard and Reserve branches, veterans and retirees.||12-31-2021|
|$0||0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 24, 36, 48, 60 Months - Hyundai announces APR rates on select models.||07-06-2021|
|$2250||Hyundai announces a Bonus Cash offer for standard rate retail sales only.||07-06-2021|
|$750||Hyundai announces a Bonus Cash offer for customers who finance through HMF. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||07-06-2021|