August 11, 2020


Connecting People

2020 Hyundai Kona review: An outstanding vehicle with standout styling

The Kona’s front stop is busier than downtown Seoul at hurry hour. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Like pineapple as a pizza topping, you will either love the Hyundai Kona’s appears or not, and you can make your mind up for by yourself if it’s a little something you want to make regular payments on. If, nevertheless, you happen to be firmly in the naysayer camp because of the style and design, that’s a shame because there is so a great deal to like below.


  • Robust authentic-world gasoline economic system
  • Friendly and beneficial tech
  • Properly built inside
  • Spunky efficiency

Will not Like

  • Minimal-pace transmission judders
  • Motor appears like demise
  • Backseat is a minimal tight

I get it. This crossover’s styling is not for every person. The Kona is a tiny motor vehicle with a lot of grille. That slitlike applique above the most important opening appears like a comprehensive afterthought. Individuals superangular lamp assemblies that home the daytime functioning lights are positively alien. And then there is certainly the dim-gray human body cladding, which is always of questionable tastefulness. Individually, I don’t head the Kona’s style and design and value that Hyundai was prepared to acquire a gamble below because some of this crossover’s rivals are pretty boring, like, waiting around on maintain with your internet service service provider boring. Significantly, have you witnessed a Ford EcoSport?

To attraction to a broad assortment of motorists, the Hyundai Kona is made available in five trim concentrations, from entry-level SE to highfalutin’ Final. My top rated-shelf all-wheel-generate tester rolls on stylish eighteen-inch alloy wheels, is fitted with normal LED headlights and options plenty of driver-aid tech.

The Kona competes with other subcompact crossovers like the Honda HR-V and Nissan Kicks, though purchasers are most likely to also cross-shop Hyundai’s sister company’s Kia Soul, which has an similar wheelbase of 102.4 inches. All these motor vehicles, and numerous others such as the Toyota C-HR and Chevy Trax, are a equivalent dimension, though this Hyundai is the shortest of that group at just 164 inches from hood to hatch.

Curiously, the C-HR’s further duration isn’t going to translate into supplemental inside place. At 19.two cubic feet, the Kona has .1 cubic foot far more cargo capability than the Toyota. Fall its backrest and that advantage grows noticeably, with capability topping out at forty five.eight cubes in contrast with the C-HR’s 37 cubic feet. The HR-V, Kicks and Trax all supply far more cargo place than the Kona, though Kia’s Soul is the hauling winner below, with 62.1 cubic feet of most place.

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

This vehicle’s backseat is at ease, but a minimal far more legroom would be appreciated.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Kona’s backseat is also on the tighter aspect, with a claimed 34.6 inches of legroom. That is adequate place, though I do want my knees had just a touch far more breathing space. Noggin place, on the other hand, is excellent for my 6-foot frame.

Figures aside, the remainder of this Hyundai’s cabin is superbly crafted. The dashboard’s style and design is uncomplicated, furthermore there are plenty of good materials. Rigid polymers are attractively grained and there is certainly a good swath of soft plastic functioning throughout the dashboard. A equivalent substance on the doorway uppers would be good and a great deal far more elbow-friendly, but this is a spending plan-rate motor vehicle, so you are not able to assume it all. Inside storage place is good for a scaled-down crossover. You can find a cubby in advance of the shifter that very easily accommodates a cellphone, wallet and other tiny things. The bin underneath the center armrest is decently sized, though a handful of far more nooks and crannies for storing junk may be good.

My Kona Final tester’s normal leather seating surfaces glimpse great but experience far more like vinyl than just about anything that was shucked off a residing, breathing creature. Brightening up an usually inky-black inside are vivid-green accents all around the air vents, starter button, shifter foundation and even on the seats in the form of equally piping and distinction stitching. These flourishes echo the exterior paint color my Kona is dressed in, a luminous hue termed lime twist. This cornea-accosting paint is definitely not for every person, but I believe it definitely can make the Kona pop and is absolutely in keeping with its youthful demeanor. If you are not able to manage green like this, a palette of other shades is made available, which contains the requisite black, white, silver and gray, but a searing orange and a denimlike blue are also on the menu.

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

This is a very well-built and nicely developed inside.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Final versions have an eight-inch tablet-fashion touchscreen that’s mounted substantial on the dashboard the place it’s easy to achieve. This show is property to a generally likable infotainment procedure, one that’s fairly easy to use and really responsive. It really is definitely one of the superior offerings on the current market currently, in particular considering that it has embedded navigation and contains an 8-speaker Infinity audio procedure. Greater-stop variations of the Kona also element a 4.two-inch reconfigurable display in the meter cluster, which is the place you can keep keep track of of gasoline economic system and remain abreast of the lane-keeping procedure, among the other factors. 

No subject the design, Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are normal. The identical is true of lane-keeping support, forward collision warning and a driver interest check. That lane-centering procedure is especially excellent, virtually as superior as what Honda or Nissan supply. (Among the mass-current market manufacturers, their adaptive cruise-regulate and lane-centering devices are some of the finest.) Stepping up the ladder, rear cross-visitors inform and blind-location monitoring are included on all but the most standard Kona design. Eventually, the Final trim level is the only one that arrives with automatic substantial beams, adaptive cruise regulate and a useful head-up show, which jobs beneficial information and facts like motor vehicle pace on to a independent combiner panel that pops up from the dashboard. If you don’t care to use this element, that component folds out of the way at the thrust of a button.

Two powertrains are made available in the Kona. Reduce-stop versions occur with a two.-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s superior for 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, figures that examine very favorably with what is made available in rival versions. It really is paired with a standard 6-pace automatic transmission. Constrained and Final variants, nevertheless, element a 1.6-liter turbo-4 that’s appreciably far more strong, churning out 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of twist. Front- or all-wheel generate is made available with either powertrain, a good solution to have. Rivals such as the Kicks, C-HR and Soul do not supply this traction-enhancing element.

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

Strong and effective, the Kona’s drivetrain could be smoother.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Individuals engine output figures may perhaps not glimpse all that remarkable, but the Kona’s force-fed 4-cylinder provides plenty of torque all through its running assortment, which will help this crossover accelerate with surprising ease, though there is a trade-off: This is not the most enjoyable powerplant ever developed. It appears sickly when pushed difficult, like a connecting rod may liberate alone at any second by punching a window in the cylinder block. This engine is also a little bit on the buzzy aspect, at moments impersonating a random-orbital sander by sending minimal tingles via the Kona’s composition.

The seven-pace twin-clutch transmission is typically quick to alter gears and it’s generally clean while going about its business. Overall, it’s a superior unit, if not really a great one. Multigear downshifts can acquire a second or so to manifest when you floor the accelerator, but thanks to that meaty torque band this is almost never required. The much larger dilemma with this transmission is that it judders ever so a bit when taking off from a standstill. No, it isn’t going to shake the motor vehicle, but you can experience the drivetrain quivering. Dual-clutch gearboxes have their added benefits, but they virtually by no means experience as clean or responsive at low speeds as transmissions fitted with conventional torque converters. 

Underway, the Kona is impressively refined. This crossover’s inside is very well-defended versus wind and highway sounds, the experience is very well-isolated and its brake pedal is company and easy to modulate. As for steering, it’s fully enjoyable, with a quick ratio that can make the motor vehicle experience light and maneuverable. The Kona is almost certainly far more enjoyable to generate than any of its big rivals, potentially with the exception of Mazda’s CX-three. It ought to be far more quickly than an HR-V or Trax, and its steering is orders of magnitude superior than the Nissan’s, which is far more standoffish than a moody teenager.   

With turbocharged electricity less than its hood and an all-wheel-generate procedure spinning each individual tire, my top rated-shelf Kona Final is rated at 26 miles for every gallon metropolis and 29 mpg on the freeway. Mixed, it ought to return 27 mpg, a determine that’s woefully inaccurate. In authentic-world use I obliterated that determine, averaging a whisker a lot less than 35 mpg in combined driving, which is absolutely stellar. 

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

The Kona is an excellent tiny crossover. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

How a great deal does this South Korean excellence expense? Eschew all alternatives and you ought to be in a position to generate property in an entry-level Kona SE for all around $21,440, a rate that contains $1,a hundred and forty in freight costs. This determine is very similar to the foundation costs of numerous big rivals, though curiously, the most-standard Soul undercuts it by just about a few grand. 

The Kona I’m evaluating below checks out for all around $31,000 such as vacation spot expenses. All-wheel generate provides $1,400 to the foundation rate, that fancy green paint prices an supplemental $300 and carpeted floor mats even more inflate the sticker by $155. 

With turbocharged torque, an upscale inside and excellent driver-aid tech, the 2020 Hyundai Kona is one of the finest tiny crossovers you can buy currently. Sure, it may perhaps be a minimal tighter inside of than some of its rivals and the transmission could be superior dialed in, but the relaxation of this motor vehicle is so compelling it’s easy to dismiss these minimal faults. If you are not able to are living with the Kona’s styling, very well, I guess that’s your decline.