Kona

Hyundai Kona information and reviews

Here is Hyundai's official page for the Kona.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Kona a Top Safety Pick.

US News named it their 2021 #1 Best Subcompact SUV and a finalist for best for the money. US News compiles reviews from around the web and then rank cars in classes based on those compiled reviews.

And Consumer Reports is also a fan! They recommend the Kona giving it praise for its fun-to-drive agility, great braking, and easy-to-use controls. Reliability is also a highlight.

Car and Driver congratulates Hyundai on earning an Editors' Choice award, delivering a subcompact crossover that isn't just fun to look at, but also fun to drive. Highlights include nearly sports-sedan agility 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. They also liked the roominess for front seat occupants. And, like all Hyundais lately, they praise how easy it is to use the controls.

In this video review, AutoBlog makes the argument that the Kona may make for a better alternative than a compact sedan like a Civic or Corolla (or Elantra). For a little more money you have the option of all-wheel-drive and sitting up higher and more cargo space than a compact sedan, while not sacrificing much fuel economy.

Automobile Magazine 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.

Thinking about a subcompact crossover like a Mazda CX-3, Subaru Crosstrek, or Honda HR-V? This Autoweek automotive journalist says that the Kona is an easy winner to him if you want one with an automatic transmission (the only way the Kona is offered). The Kona is fun to drive, comparably roomy for passengers and cargo, and has easy-to-use connectivity.

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".

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.

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.

JD Power study: let's face it, having a car that's easy to operate is critical to enjoying the car overall. Read through a number of reviews on this site and you will see a trend that Hyundai has among the highest satisfaction in the area of infotainment. It is no surprise, then, that the Hyundai Kona places with the best in class for its multimedia systems.

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.

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.

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.

MotorTrend compared the Ford EcoSport and the Nissan Kicks to the Hyundai Kona. You can read all the details here, but I think one quote kind-of says it all, "If you care at all about how a car drives, go straight to Kona. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200"

AutoGuide, for fun, put together a pretty interesting list of 5 vehicles that the Kona surprisingly is quicker than (with the 1.6L Turbo). Mini, Audi, and Lexus' subcompact crossovers find themselves on the list as well.

While we're working on getting them for stock here in PA (but NJ and NY gets them, and we can order them or dealer trade one in from our NJ Fred Beans Hyundai dealer), I thought it would be good to include an article on the Kona EV. In this article, Car and Driver says it may be the best mass market EV due to its solid driving characteristics, long EV range of 258 miles, and its cost-effective price.

For 2021, Car and Driver awards the Kona EV an Editors' Choice award. While the 2021 article doesn't address where it ranks amongst the competition, the 2022 article does, and they rank it best in class - and its class includes the Ford Mustang Mach E and Tesla Model 3.

©2021 Tim Bergey

The views expressed on this website are not necessarily those of my employer.
Images copyright John Barclay, Hyundai.

 

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