Car Reviews

2023 Hyundai Kona Review: Four small SUVs, one name

Execs: Nice tech; enjoyable to drive; sturdy security scores; riotous Kona N

Cons: Much less spacious than rivals; no federal tax credit score for Electrical

So that you need to learn concerning the 2023 Hyundai Kona, huh? Nicely, you’re going to have to be extra particular than that as a result of it’s mainly three totally different automobiles … perhaps 4. Though all share that delightfully Hawaiian title and rock variations of the identical funky, subcompact SUV look, every is sort of totally different by way of their goal and the way they’re powered. For many, a “Hyundai Kona” would be the automobile you see above: a subcompact SUV with a modest engine, a modest value and a beneficiant quantity of apparatus and guarantee protection. It boasts distinctive styling, nice tech and a surprisingly enjoyable driving expertise whether or not you get the bottom engine or turbocharged improve. It’s additionally one of many least spacious subcompact SUVs, however that’s not sufficient to stop us from recommending it.

OK, now issues begin to fork. As enjoyable because the bread-and-butter Kona might be, the sporty N Line contains that turbocharged improve and spices issues up additional. The Kona N then turns the dial as much as 11: It’s mainly a sizzling hatch with large energy, large noises and simply large enjoyable. It’s a riot. The 2023 Hyundai Kona Electrical positively doesn’t make large noises and is definitely much less enjoyable, however it delivers wonderful electrical vary for the cash (sure, regardless that it’s a lot pricier than the opposite variations). Sadly, the lack of federal tax credit signifies that value isn’t as aggressive because it was once, particularly for the reason that Chevrolet Bolt is cheaper and does qualify for the $7,500 credit score.  

Inside & Expertise   |   Passenger & Cargo Area   |   Efficiency & Gasoline Financial system

What it is wish to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Ranges   |   Crash Rankings & Security Options

What’s new for 2023?

After a considerable refresh final yr, the Kona carries over into 2023 with solely characteristic availability updates. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning are actually customary, together with a rear USB port. The SEL trim beneficial properties an ordinary energy driver seat and auto up/down entrance home windows, whereas the SEL Comfort beneficial properties navigation and the larger 10.25-inch touchscreen. The N Line Expertise package deal has been discontinued. The Kona Electrical, in the meantime, now comes customary with an eight-way energy driver seat, heated entrance seats, the auto up/down home windows and rear USB port. Its trim ranges are additionally now the SE, SEL and Restricted, although they mainly correspond with the earlier three.

What are the Kona inside and in-car expertise like?

For the cash and for this humble phase, the Kona inside is simply effective. Plastics are unremarkable and the design is a bit blah, particularly since Hyundai not provides vibrantly coloured trim choices or distinctive houndstooth customary upholstery. It’s all very monochromatic now. At the very least the Kona Electrical (above left) spruces issues up with a richer customary upholstery, light-colored leather-based and silver trim, plus a singular rising middle console and push-button shifter. The brand new Kona N (above proper) additionally will get nicer upholstery on sport seats plus a really cool sport steering wheel. 

With both design, the low sprint provides good visibility, the steering wheel sufficiently adjusts, and most trims profit from an influence driver seat that gives extra adjustability than most within the phase. The driving place can be larger than a automobile (which you positively discover within the Kona N), however we would not say you get the “commanding view” of the highway such as you’d get in an even bigger crossover.

One of many Kona’s main perks is the easy-to-use infotainment system. With both the accessible 10.25-inch or customary 8-inch touchscreen, a user-friendly interface pairs with loads of bodily shortcut buttons, and importantly, bodily quantity and tuning knobs. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are customary options on all fashions. Additionally now discovered on high trim ranges is an all-digital instrument panel with enhanced performance and an look that modifications with drive mode. The IP designs additionally differ by mannequin as you possibly can see beneath with the Restricted (beneath, higher left) and Electrical (beneath, backside left).

How large is the Kona?

The Kona is on the small aspect even for the subcompact SUV phase, so if you happen to’re planning on utilizing the again seat and cargo space quite a bit, it will not be your best option. Even the Hyundai Venue, which is smaller on the surface, has a extra helpful cargo space. And amongst subcompact SUVs, solely the Toyota C-HR is notably smaller. Successfully, the Kona is a subcompact hatchback with a excessive seating place.

Based on the specs, the Kona has 19.2 cubic-feet of cargo house behind its raised again seat. We present you precisely what number of luggage that equates to in our Kona Baggage Take a look at, however briefly, it does certainly maintain lower than its opponents. If house is necessary to you, a Nissan Kicks or Kia Soul will work higher, and you can even take into account stepping as much as the marginally bigger midcompact phase with the Kia Seltos and Mazda CX-30.

What are the Kona gas financial system and electrical vary specs?

This part is often fairly easy for different subcompact SUVs, however not so the Kona because it’s accessible with three fuel engines and an electrical powertrain.

The SE and SEL trim ranges are powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque – a typical quantity for the phase. It’s paired with a constantly variable transmission that Hyundai dubs “IVT,” and both customary front-wheel drive or non-compulsory all-wheel drive. EPA-estimated gas financial system is 30 mpg metropolis, 35 mpg freeway and 32 mpg mixed with FWD and 28/33/30 with AWD.

The N-Line (beneath left in blue) and Restricted get a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four that produces 195 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque – an quantity surpassed solely by the Kia Soul Turbo (barely) within the subcompact phase. It too supplies a selection of FWD or AWD, however comes customary with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated guide transmission. Regardless of its large energy benefit, gas financial system is mainly the identical as the bottom engine: 29/35/32 with FWD and 27/32/29 with AWD.

Subsequent comes the Kona N (above proper). It has a 2.0-liter turbo inline-4 that pumps out 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque – and right here we thought the 1.6-liter blew away the competitors. Nevermind subcompact SUVs, this considerably outdoes a VW GTI. The N will get an eight-speed DCT and customary front-wheel drive – all-wheel drive is just not accessible as it will’ve elevated value, complexity and weight, and moreover, sizzling hatches just like the GTI are front-wheel drive any method. Gasoline financial system takes a dive however remains to be respectable at 20/27/23.

And now, for one thing fully totally different, there’s the Kona Electrical (beneath). It too is front-wheel-drive solely and boasts a single electrical motor that produces 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque. Its EPA-estimated vary was 258 miles for 2022 (we didn’t have 2023 estimates on the time of this writing however doubt they’d be totally different), which is greater than many EVs together with significantly dearer ones. It carries a mixed effectivity score of 120 mpge, which makes it the fourth fourth most effective EV. All these forward of it are significantly dearer. Nonetheless, its recharging velocity isn’t as fast as many different EVs, particularly Hyundai’s personal Ioniq 5.

What is the Kona wish to drive?

Contemplating all these powertrain selections up there, the reply is “it actually relies upon.” On the whole, although, each Kona impresses with a surprisingly enjoyable driving expertise highlighted by tidy physique management and well-calibrated steering. The journey is on the agency aspect, particularly on the N-Line and N, however in a method according to sporty automobiles. There’s numerous highway noise, although nothing on this phase goes to be a serene cocoon.

Though energy within the base engine is modest, we’ve discovered it to be sprightly sufficient and is a pleasant praise to the Kona’s typically enjoyable demeanor. We now have not tried it with the new-for-2022 IVT transmission, although, so we’re undecided how that may have an effect on its energy supply – Hyundai might use a unique acronym, however it’s a CVT, and so they hardly ever enhance the driving expertise. The 1.6-liter turbo within the Restricted is simply as potent as earlier than, and though its DCT can sometimes be a bit of gradual to reply when ranging from a cease (and may even roll a bit on hills), it largely behaves like a standard computerized as soon as underway.

You may learn extra concerning the Kona N in our first drive overview, however briefly, it’s a bit of field of pleasure that makes enjoyable noises and packs laugh-inducing energy with, vitally, a chassis as much as the duty of controlling it. The Kona N could also be a subcompact SUV, however it has the guts and strikes of a sizzling hatch.

As for the Kona Electrical, it’s simply as a lot of a riot to drive as all gas-powered Konas other than the N. With Eco, Consolation and Sport drive modes, you possibly can drive it nevertheless you want, from an electron-sipping commuter to a tire-spinning go-kart. Paddles on the again of the steering wheel allow you to dial in varied ranges of regenerative braking drive. There’s not a setting for pure one-pedal driving, as it’s important to proceed to carry the left paddle to deliver the car to an entire cease with out utilizing the brake pedal. And naturally, your precise vary will differ primarily based on driving type and ambient temperature, however its 258-mile score provides you plenty of room to mess around earlier than having to go to a plug.

What different Hyundai Kona evaluations can I learn?

2022 Hyundai Kona N First Drive Evaluation | It has a hatch, and it is sizzling

The Kona N is surprisingly enjoyable and shockingly refined. If that is the way forward for sizzling hatches, no drawback. 


2019 Hyundai Kona Electrical Evaluation | Dwelling, loving the life electrical

Learn extra specifics concerning the electrical Kona primarily based on every week our varied editors spent with it. Although it has been up to date for 2022, our impressions and the specs stay broadly the identical.


2018 Hyundai Kona 1.6T Evaluation | The muscle has arrived

A extra in-depth overview of the Kona when outfitted with the 1.6-liter turbo engine. The trim stage mentioned is not accessible (it is successfully the Restricted now) and all the automobile has been up to date, however our impressions stay broadly the identical.


Hyundai Kona vs Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Kia Soul

Our complete full comparability take a look at of subcompact crossovers. The Kona scored nicely however didn’t come out on high. 

What’s the 2023 Kona value?

Pricing begins at $23,285 for the bottom SE with front-wheel drive. That features the $1,295 vacation spot cost as do all costs listed right here. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 choice on the core Kona trim ranges. It’s not accessible on the N or Electrical.

Customary gear is fairly beneficiant with 16-alloy wheels, a full complement of driver help options (see Security part beneath), computerized headlights, LED accent lights, a height-adjustable driver seat, material upholstery, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an 8-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker audio system. We’ve pushed such a base Kona SE earlier than and positively didn’t discover it to be a penalty field.

You’ll find a full rundown of added options for the opposite trims right here on Autoblog (plus these for the Kona N and Kona Electrical), however there are variations past elevated consolation and comfort gear to handle for the N-Line and N. The N-Line is a kind of a “efficiency lite” model – it will get the 1.6-liter turbo, 18-inch wheels, a twin-tip exhausts and particular sport seats. The N is the complete monty model with just about each key element upgraded – you possibly can learn extra about it in our particular Kona N overview.

SE: $23,285
SEL: $25,095
N Line: $28,995
Restricted: $30,095

Kona N: $35,995

Electrical SE: $34,845
Electrical SEL: $38,595
Electrical Restricted: $42,845

The Electrical trim ranges are principally even with the fuel model, though the ten.25-inch touchscreen is customary. Needless to say the Kona Electrical is not eligible for a federal tax credit score as a result of authorities’s new made-in-America requirement. The Kona Electrical is inbuilt South Korea.

What are the Kona security scores and driver help options?

Each Kona comes customary with ahead collision warning with pedestrian detection and computerized emergency braking, lane-keeping help, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and a driver inattention warning system. Adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go functionality is customary on the Restricted.

NHTSA crash scores are distinctive with an ideal 5 stars for total, frontal and aspect safety. The Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security gave the Kona the best-possible score of “Good” in all crash checks, plus accident-avoidance tech scores of “Superior” (vehicle-to-vehicle) and “Superior” (vehicle-to-pedestrian).

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