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Hyundai Kona information and reviews
All Kona Trim Levels
The official factory page for the Hyundai Kona
The official factory page for the Hyundai Kona Electric
The official factory page for the Hyundai Kona N
The official Hyundai walk-around video of the Kona Limited and N Line
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has safety rated the Kona 5 Stars, their highest rating.
Car and Driver scores the Kona a strong 9 out of 10, delivering a subcompact crossover that isn't just fun to look at, but also fun to drive. Highlights include agile handling combined with a well-damped and comfortable ride, which can be combined with a zippy turbo engine. They also like the interior, calling it refined with really good ergonomics. And, like all Hyundais lately, they praise how easy it is to use the controls.
AutoGuide author Jodi Lai test drove the Kona in Vancouver. She believes that the Kona will become the segment benchmark and that "the Kona is the whole package." She praises great driving dynamics striking a balance of handling and comfort: "comfortable without being too squishy, and athletic but not crashy". She feels it offers the best ride/handling/power combination in the class. She feels it is among the top three in class in looks and has the best infotainment system other than the UConnect in the Renegade. She wraps up saying it "easily outshines a lot of itsd competition in nearly all areas".
Edmunds.com speaks highly of the Kona calling it one of the best in its class. They love the great handling, easy-to-use technology, great fuel economy, and zippy acceleration, among a whole lot more.
MotorTrend drove a couple of Kona's around the Big Island in Hawaii and came away "mightily impressed". They loved the refined ride which absorbed bumps well, had very little body lean, had responsive and properly-weighted steering, and had a quiet interior. They praised standard amenities like a 7" touch screen with Android Auto and Apple Car Play as well. Fuel economy and cargo space are both good for the class. They wrap up by saying that you can't go wrong choosing whichever trim level and equipment suits you.
MotorTrend says that the Kona is fun to drive and fun to look at. They praise the operation of the dual-clutch automatic transmission and ease-of-use of the multimedia system. The Kona's exterior dimensions are at the smaller end of the subcompact crossover spectrum so there are some that offer more cargo room or rear seat legroom, but they point out that this entry in the segment is more about style and an engaging driving experience.
Then MotorTrend got one for their long term test fleet. After the break in period they took it to the track. It was the turbo version, which they described as "Really fun", and quick.
After the visit to the track, a MotorTrend staffer drove it from LA to San Francisco and back to grab some things from storage. He also noted that the car had plenty of power. Further, it handles and corners very well (so much so he compared its capability in that department to a BMW). But the Infinity stereo was a real stand out for him, as he called it the best sound system he has heard in any car at this price point.
In this video review of the Kona, Cars.com explains that the thing that really sets the Kona apart from its main competitors is its combination of ride and handling. They are one of the few that I have read that do not seem to like the exterior appearance, and they rightly point out the small back seat and cargo area. But what is fun to watch is how he still love the car despite those quibbles.
Kona 1.6 Turbo Trims
Car and Driver talks in superlatives about the handling and acceleration of the 1.6L Turbo with all-wheel-drive in the Kona. Shockingly, it accelerates more quickly than the Civic Si in their tests. Then it also goes on to pull the same .88g of lateral grip on the skid pad that the Civic Si does. What does that mean? It means the Kona is really quick and is a blast to drive around corners, even outperforming one of the more popular performance compact sedans on the market. Add to that a suspension that absorbs bumps well, easy-to-use controls, and nice materials for the class, and you have a car that you want to spend time behind the wheel with.
AutoBlog drove the Kona Turbo for a week, which led to effusive praise of it. They highlight the amazing power (at least 3 seconds quicker to 60 than most everything in its class) and fun to drive chassis. They call the interior attractive and functional, with a lot of standard and available equipment (more so than most of the rest of the class). Add in the value and warranty and they highly recommend the Kona.
The official Hyundai walk-around video of the Kona N
Savage Geese is fun because they are skeptics about a lot of things automotive and they don't like car dealers, so it is easy for many to identify with (I tend to be a little more optimistic). Here one of the two goes into the video making fun of the idea of the Kona N, wondering why Hyundai even built this thing. He makes fun of the marketing. He feels like Hyundai should have just released the true hatchback i30 N here in the US. But in the US we don't buy hatchbacks (ugh! why not?!?!?!). So we get a tall hatchback. And then he drove it. In the video he is sitting in the passenger seat and commenting while the other one drives. His comments amount to his one statement that "this is the most fun I've had in anything the last few years". He went from total skeptic to believer...in just one test drive.
MotorTrend drove the Kona N and they seem to indeed be doing a "happy dance" over it. Their comments include "It digs its claws in and goes." "it's hard to make a case for any of the Kona N's competitors... will run circles around a Mini Clubman JCW or Countryman JCW and it'll stand up to a Mercedes-AMG GLA45 for probably about $20,000 less". It is the Veloster N for someone that wants to sit up higher or needs more passenger space. And they say that while the ride is firm, and while it is track capable, it is also comfortable enough to be used as an every day driver.
Car and Driver enjoyed their time behind the wheel of the Kona N. They point out that in no way is this trying to be a buttoned-down experience. To that end they point out that the wind noise is appreciable on the highway. However, they also point out that this is something they would happily live with given the power and handling and grin-inducing exhaust note that can be pumped into the cabin. See all their initial drive comments here.
AutoGuide points out that if you want a mainstream performance subcompact crossover, you have one choice - the Hyundai Kona N. But they also point out that it is a blast to drive - fast, nimble, comfortable, and even practical. And the exhaust's crackle is addicting. They sum up saying that if others are developing a competitor, the Kona N sets "a very high bar".
Kona vs the Competition
Spoiler Alert! In this Car and Driver ranking of 19 subcompact crossovers, the Kona failed to come in first place. But, since the one that did come in first has a base price that is $2000 more than the Kona, it makes me wonder what Hyundai could do if they charged $2000 more for the Kona. So I guess coming in second isn't so bad.