2020 Hyundai Kona review: An outstanding vehicle with standout styling

2020 Hyundai Kona

The Kona’s front close is busier than downtown Seoul at rush hour. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Like pineapple as a pizza topping, you may both love the Hyundai Kona’s appears to be like or not, and you can make a decision for you if it can be a little something you want to make every month payments on. If, having said that, you might be firmly in the naysayer camp since of the design, that is a disgrace since there is so a lot to like right here.


  • Strong serious-environment gasoline economy
  • Helpful and practical tech
  • Properly intended interior
  • Spunky effectiveness

Never Like

  • Low-pace transmission judders
  • Engine appears like death
  • Backseat is a small restricted

I get it. This crossover’s styling is not for everyone. The Kona is a smaller auto with a ton of grille. That slitlike applique over the primary opening appears to be like like a entire afterthought. All those superangular lamp assemblies that household the daytime jogging lights are positively alien. And then you can find the darkish-grey overall body cladding, which is constantly of questionable tastefulness. Individually, I don’t intellect the Kona’s design and respect that Hyundai was ready to get a gamble right here since some of this crossover’s rivals are pretty uninteresting, like, waiting around on keep with your world wide web provider provider uninteresting. Severely, have you witnessed a Ford EcoSport?

To appeal to a wide selection of motorists, the Hyundai Kona is offered in 5 trim concentrations, from entry-amount SE to highfalutin’ Greatest. My top-shelf all-wheel-push tester rolls on fashionable eighteen-inch alloy wheels, is equipped with typical LED headlights and options lots of driver-help tech.

The Kona competes with other subcompact crossovers like the Honda HR-V and Nissan Kicks, while buyers are possible to also cross-store Hyundai’s sister company’s Kia Soul, which has an identical wheelbase of 102.four inches. All these autos, and quite a few other individuals which include the Toyota C-HR and Chevy Trax, are a equivalent dimension, while this Hyundai is the shortest of that group at just 164 inches from hood to hatch.

Curiously, the C-HR’s more length isn’t going to translate into supplemental interior area. At 19.2 cubic feet, the Kona has .one cubic foot additional cargo capacity than the Toyota. Drop its backrest and that edge grows considerably, with capacity topping out at forty five.eight cubes as opposed with the C-HR’s 37 cubic feet. The HR-V, Kicks and Trax all give additional cargo area than the Kona, while Kia’s Soul is the hauling winner right here, with sixty two.one cubic feet of utmost area.

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

This vehicle’s backseat is snug, but a small additional legroom would be appreciated.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Kona’s backseat is also on the tighter facet, with a claimed 34.6 inches of legroom. That is sufficient area, while I do would like my knees had just a contact additional respiration place. Noggin area, on the other hand, is outstanding for my 6-foot body.

Figures apart, the remainder of this Hyundai’s cabin is beautifully crafted. The dashboard’s design is straightforward, moreover there are lots of pleasant components. Rigid polymers are attractively grained and you can find a pleasant swath of soft plastic jogging across the dashboard. A equivalent content on the doorway uppers would be pleasant and a lot additional elbow-welcoming, but this is a funds-value auto, so you can not expect it all. Interior storage area is decent for a lesser crossover. There’s a cubby forward of the shifter that very easily accommodates a cell phone, wallet and other smaller items. The bin beneath the heart armrest is decently sized, while a handful of additional nooks and crannies for storing junk could be pleasant.

My Kona Greatest tester’s typical leather-based seating surfaces search great but come to feel additional like vinyl than anything that was shucked off a living, respiration creature. Brightening up an if not inky-black interior are vibrant-eco-friendly accents about the air vents, starter button, shifter foundation and even on the seats in the type of both piping and distinction stitching. These prospers echo the exterior paint color my Kona is dressed in, a luminous hue referred to as lime twist. This cornea-accosting paint is undoubtedly not for everyone, but I believe it actually makes the Kona pop and is completely in trying to keep with its youthful demeanor. If you can not manage eco-friendly like this, a palette of other colours is offered, which contains the requisite black, white, silver and grey, but a searing orange and a denimlike blue are also on the menu.

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

This is a properly-intended and nicely crafted interior.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Greatest versions have an eight-inch tablet-model touchscreen that is mounted substantial on the dashboard in which it can be uncomplicated to access. This show is property to a generally likable infotainment technique, one particular that is reasonably uncomplicated to use and very responsive. It truly is undoubtedly one particular of the much better choices on the sector these days, specifically given that it has embedded navigation and contains an eight-speaker Infinity audio technique. Increased-close variations of the Kona also attribute a four.2-inch reconfigurable display in the meter cluster, which is in which you can keep track of gasoline economy and stay abreast of the lane-trying to keep technique, between other items. 

No make any difference the product, Apple CarPlay and Android Car are typical. The similar is true of lane-trying to keep aid, forward collision warning and a driver attention watch. That lane-centering technique is especially outstanding, nearly as good as what Honda or Nissan give. (Between mass-sector manufacturers, their adaptive cruise-manage and lane-centering units are some of the most effective.) Stepping up the ladder, rear cross-site visitors inform and blind-place checking are included on all but the most basic Kona product. Finally, the Greatest trim amount is the only one particular that arrives with automatic substantial beams, adaptive cruise manage and a handy head-up show, which projects practical facts like auto pace onto a individual combiner panel that pops up from the dashboard. If you don’t treatment to use this attribute, that component folds out of the way at the thrust of a button.

Two powertrains are offered in the Kona. Lower-close versions arrive with a 2.-liter four-cylinder motor that is good for 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, figures that compare pretty favorably with what’s offered in rival versions. It truly is paired with a conventional six-pace automatic transmission. Confined and Greatest variants, having said that, attribute a one.6-liter turbo-four that is appreciably additional strong, churning out one hundred seventy five hp and 195 lb-ft of twist. Entrance- or all-wheel push is offered with both powertrain, a pleasant alternative to have. Rivals which include the Kicks, C-HR and Soul do not give this traction-boosting attribute.

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

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

Craig Cole/Roadshow

All those motor output figures might not search all that amazing, but the Kona’s pressure-fed four-cylinder provides lots of torque through its functioning selection, which allows this crossover accelerate with unforeseen ease, while there is a trade-off: This is not the most pleasant powerplant ever crafted. It appears sickly when pushed tough, like a connecting rod could liberate by itself at any instant by punching a window in the cylinder block. This motor is also a bit on the buzzy facet, at times impersonating a random-orbital sander by sending small tingles by means of the Kona’s construction.

The seven-pace dual-clutch transmission is frequently swift to alter gears and it can be generally easy whilst likely about its company. Total, it can be a good unit, if not very a great one particular. Multigear downshifts can get a next or so to manifest when you ground the accelerator, but many thanks to that meaty torque band this is seldom essential. The bigger difficulty with this transmission is that it judders ever so marginally when using off from a standstill. No, it isn’t going to shake the auto, but you can come to feel the drivetrain quivering. Dual-clutch gearboxes have their advantages, but they nearly by no means come to feel as easy or responsive at lower speeds as transmissions equipped with conventional torque converters. 

Underway, the Kona is impressively refined. This crossover’s interior is properly-defended in opposition to wind and road noise, the experience is properly-isolated and its brake pedal is agency and uncomplicated to modulate. As for steering, it can be solely pleasant, with a swift ratio that makes the auto come to feel gentle and maneuverable. The Kona is likely additional pleasurable to push than any of its big rivals, probably with the exception of Mazda’s CX-3. It should really be considerably quicker than an HR-V or Trax, and its steering is orders of magnitude much better than the Nissan’s, which is additional standoffish than a moody teenager.   

With turbocharged ability less than its hood and an all-wheel-push technique spinning every single tire, my top-shelf Kona Greatest is rated at 26 miles for every gallon city and 29 mpg on the highway. Blended, it should really return 27 mpg, a figure that is woefully inaccurate. In serious-environment use I obliterated that figure, averaging a whisker fewer than 35 mpg in mixed driving, which is absolutely stellar. 

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

The Kona is an outstanding smaller crossover. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

How a lot does this South Korean excellence price tag? Eschew all possibilities and you should really be able to push property in an entry-amount Kona SE for about $21,440, a value that contains $one,140 in freight rates. This figure is pretty equivalent to the foundation price ranges of numerous big rivals, while curiously, the most-basic Soul undercuts it by just about three grand. 

The Kona I’m evaluating right here checks out for about $31,000 which include vacation spot charges. All-wheel push adds $one,400 to the foundation value, that extravagant eco-friendly paint charges an supplemental $three hundred and carpeted ground mats further inflate the sticker by $one hundred fifty five. 

With turbocharged torque, an upscale interior and outstanding driver-help tech, the 2020 Hyundai Kona is one particular of the most effective smaller crossovers you can invest in these days. Sure, it might be a small tighter inside than some of its rivals and the transmission could be much better dialed in, but the relaxation of this auto is so compelling it can be uncomplicated to dismiss these insignificant faults. If you can not stay with the Kona’s styling, properly, I guess that is your loss.