Hyundai has added a new subcompact crossover SUV to its lineup, with
lots to offer for the money and features buyers want in a versatile
family vehicle, as well as Hyundai’s excellent warranty.
The new Kona
is available in four trims: SE, $19,500; SEL, $21,150; Limited,
$24,700; and Ultimate, $27,400.
drive is standard, with all-wheel drive adding $1,300. AWD comes
with a more-sophisticated rear suspension for a more-composed ride,
and a locking center differential to enhance off-road traction.
Kona SE and
SEL come with a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with
a six-speed automatic transmission. Limited and Ultimate (the one I
drove) have a 175-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder,
paired with a seven-speed EcoShift dual-clutch automatic
styling includes heavy creasing on the hood, front and rear fenders,
door panels and rear quarters to the taillights, and rocker panels.
Gray body cladding extends from the wheel arches to include the
headlight and taillight housings.
lights make up the distinct slim Daytime Running Lights at the
junction of the hood and front fascia. Kona’s six-sided grille is
trimmed in chrome and has a slightly curved side.
Ultimate with AWD was metallic Thunder Gray with Black leather
interior (seating, steering wheel, shift knob) trimmed in Lime Green
and Gloss Black. Lime Green on the lighted start button, round side
air vents, elongated dual center vents, and shifter surround, along
with piping and top-stitching on front seat bolsters, and front and
rear headrests, and top-stitching on rear outboard seats added a
touch of fun. Interior materials were average, with hard plastics
textured for appearance and feel.
front and rear door handles were a departure from silver or chrome.
Gloss Black also trimmed the vents, A/C control buttons, lower
steering wheel spoke, shifter knob and shifter surround.
colors are available, depending on the trim chosen: Chalk White,
Sonic Silver, Surf Blue, Lime Twist, Pulse Red, our Thunder Gray,
and Ultra Black. SEL also offers a black or dark gray roof with
Sonic Silver, Surf Blue, or Pulse Red exterior paint.
18-inch wheels were attractive, with silver-painted machined fronts
and gray painted pockets. The spokes were canted from the hub for an
colors depend on trim selection and exterior color. Cloth interiors
in SE and SEL come in black, and black with gray, while leather
interiors in Limited and Ultimate models come in black, gray, or
black with Lime. Building your Kona is easy; choosing a color
combination may take longer.
Entry and exit
were easy thanks to large door openings and higher seat cushions.
The seat cushions suited my short legs, but were a little short for
a passenger with longer legs. The front seats were otherwise
comfortable and easy to adjust for fit, especially in combination
with the tilt/telescopic steering wheel. The perforated leather
upholstery allowed adequate air circulation.
steering wheel had cruise control, phone, audio controls (volume,
mode and tune), and vehicle info access and configuration.
split-folding rear seat was able to accommodate two average-size
adults or three children or small adults. The cushioning was
flatter, and slightly less comfortable, and legroom was almost seven
inches less – 41.5 vs. 34.6 inches. Headroom was better, almost
identical to the front seats – 38 vs. 37.8 inches.
storage was limited, with a small shelf under the center stack, a
small bin under the center armrest, small door pockets (very small
bottle pockets) and small cupholders.
builds on the previous, usually adding more technology.
added heated side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition,
leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats,
Blind-Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and satellite
radio over the base equipment on the SE. The sunroof and
power-adjustable driver’s seats that were options were also added.
LED taillights, 18-inch wheels, and leather upholstery were added
above the SEL.
were automatic wipers, Hyundai Blue Link communications, a Head-up
Display, an eight-inch touch screen, a navigation system, a wireless
charging pad on the center console, and a 4.2-inch color
Multi-Information Display (shows distance to empty, average fuel
consumption, average speed, elapsed time, and instant fuel
Smart Sense suite of advanced safety features including Forward
Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Driver
Attention Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, and an
Infinity premium audio with Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology,
eight speakers including subwoofer and external amplifier were
exclusive to the Ultimate.
Attention Warning analyzes driving patterns and warns the driver via
audible tone or visual alert on the instrument panel that it is time
for a break. Kona Ultimate is the only vehicle in its class to offer
wireless charging and the Driver Attention Warning system. All
advanced safety features are well tuned to avoid annoying false
touch screen has a Rear View Monitor with parking guidance for
safely backing up and parking. The screen sits on top of the dash
above the center console, easy to see and reach. A/C controls
located below the middle vents were simple, well labeled, and easy
Hyundai’s Connected Car Service, allows owners to start and cool
or warm the vehicle with a few taps in a smartphone/smartwatch app
or by saying "Alexa, start my car and set the temperature at X
degrees." The vehicle will run for 10 minutes, or a timer may
be set, and the doors remain locked.
Also using a
smartphone/smartwatch/connected home device and a PIN, doors can be
locked/unlocked. Doors lock after 30 seconds if not opened. If you
should lock your keys inside, MyHundai with Blue Link Mobile App on
your smart device can unlock the doors – unless the phone is also
get a full diagnostic check from the touch screen, schedule
services, and get reminders for routine maintenance.
With an app or
in-car voice commands, destination search by Google will help locate
a restaurant, gas station, etc., and send directions to the vehicle’s
navigation system. Blue Link will help locate your car – within a
one-mile radius, and drop a pin on a map on your smartphone. A
stolen car can be located sooner, its location provided to law
enforcement, and the engine immobilized until it is recovered.
In case you
need roadside assistance, Blue Link can provide an assistance staff
member the exact location of your vehicle. Blue Link also provides
parents with peace of mind with Geofence, curfew, and speed alerts
to help keep track of young drivers.
Blue Link also
provides automatic collision notification and assistance if an
accident causes air bags to deploy. An SOS button allows the
operator to contact 911 anytime. A text or email notification can
alert a designated person/people if the panic button has been
information such as speed, cruise control, navigation turn-by-turn,
and safety features such as blind-spot warning were projected on a
pop-up transparent panel just above the instrument panel on the dash
in the driver’s line of sight, so eyes never needed to leave the
Kona is a
versatile vehicle, seating up to five, with above average cargo
space at 19.2 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 45.8 cubic feet
with the seat folded, while being small enough to navigate tight
spaces and park easily.
The ride is
smooth on most roads, but a little rough on broken pavement. Road
noise came through on almost every surface, although not enough to
The drive was
easy, with only a slight delay out of the gate, getting up to speed
quickly and shifting smoothly. Visibility forward and around curves
is good, with the rearview camera filling in the spaces while in
reverse. Braking is appropriately firm, while poised and
controllable under heavy braking.
navigation has quick responses and easy-to-read graphics, although
with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the navigation system and other
infotainment features may be redundant.
Kona isn’t a
serious off-road vehicle, but some of us like to take a road less
traveled, and Kona does that with ease and comfort. Hill Brake
Control was welcome on the steeper roads I encountered.
Kona has a 10 years/100,00 miles powertrain warranty, 5 years/60,000
miles new vehicle warranty, 7 years perforation warranty, and 5
years 24/7 Roadside Assistance with towing, trip interruption
assistance (lodging if needed), help for a flat tire, dead battery,
or if you run out of gas.
Floor Mats adding $125 and destination charges of $980, the
delivered price for my Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD was $29,805.———