2020 Hyundai Kona review: An outstanding vehicle with standout styling

The Kona’s front end is busier than downtown Seoul at rush hour.  Craig Cole/Roadshow Like

2020 Hyundai Kona

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

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Like pineapple as a pizza topping, you are going to both adore the Hyundai Kona’s appears to be like or not, and you can determine for oneself if it can be one thing you want to make every month payments on. If, nonetheless, you happen to be firmly in the naysayer camp since of the structure, which is a disgrace since there is so significantly to like here.


  • Strong real-entire world gasoline financial system
  • Helpful and practical tech
  • Properly intended inside
  • Spunky performance

Really don’t Like

  • Low-velocity transmission judders
  • Engine seems like loss of life
  • Backseat is a little tight

I get it. This crossover’s styling is not for everybody. The Kona is a smaller auto with a good deal of grille. That slitlike applique over the principal opening appears to be like like a complete afterthought. Those superangular lamp assemblies that household the daytime managing lights are positively alien. And then there’s the darkish-grey system cladding, which is generally of questionable tastefulness. Individually, I you should not brain the Kona’s structure and value that Hyundai was willing to choose a gamble here since some of this crossover’s rivals are really unexciting, like, waiting on keep with your world wide web service provider unexciting. Very seriously, have you witnessed a Ford EcoSport?

To appeal to a wide selection of drivers, the Hyundai Kona is provided in 5 trim ranges, from entry-degree SE to highfalutin’ Supreme. My prime-shelf all-wheel-generate tester rolls on elegant 18-inch alloy wheels, is fitted with normal LED headlights and capabilities plenty of driver-aid tech.

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

Curiously, the C-HR’s additional length isn’t going to translate into added inside place. At 19.2 cubic ft, the Kona has .1 cubic foot far more cargo capacity than the Toyota. Fall its backrest and that gain grows noticeably, with capacity topping out at 45.eight cubes in contrast with the C-HR’s 37 cubic ft. The HR-V, Kicks and Trax all provide far more cargo place than the Kona, even though Kia’s Soul is the hauling winner here, with 62.1 cubic ft of optimum place.

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

This vehicle’s backseat is comfortable, but a little far more legroom would be appreciated.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Kona’s backseat is also on the tighter side, with a claimed 34.six inches of legroom. That is enough place, even though I do wish my knees experienced just a contact far more breathing room. Noggin place, on the other hand, is great for my six-foot body.

Quantities aside, the remainder of this Hyundai’s cabin is superbly crafted. The dashboard’s structure is simple, additionally there are plenty of nice products. Rigid polymers are attractively grained and there’s a nice swath of gentle plastic managing across the dashboard. A equivalent material on the doorway uppers would be nice and significantly far more elbow-pleasant, but this is a price range-price auto, so you can not anticipate it all. Inside storage place is respectable for a more compact crossover. There’s a cubby ahead of the shifter that conveniently accommodates a cellphone, wallet and other smaller items. The bin beneath the centre armrest is decently sized, even though a number of far more nooks and crannies for storing junk may possibly be nice.

My Kona Supreme tester’s normal leather seating surfaces look great but come to feel far more like vinyl than something that was shucked off a dwelling, breathing creature. Brightening up an if not inky-black inside are lively-inexperienced accents all over the air vents, starter button, shifter foundation and even on the seats in the form of the two piping and contrast stitching. These thrives echo the exterior paint shade my Kona is dressed in, a luminous hue referred to as lime twist. This cornea-accosting paint is undoubtedly not for everybody, but I feel it definitely can make the Kona pop and is entirely in retaining with its youthful demeanor. If you can not manage inexperienced like this, a palette of other colors is provided, which involves 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 perfectly-intended and properly constructed inside.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Supreme designs have an eight-inch tablet-model touchscreen which is mounted high on the dashboard in which it can be simple to reach. This screen is household to a mainly likable infotainment program, one particular which is fairly simple to use and fairly responsive. It can be undoubtedly one particular of the improved choices on the marketplace nowadays, primarily given that it has embedded navigation and involves an eight-speaker Infinity audio program. Better-end variations of the Kona also function a 4.2-inch reconfigurable monitor in the meter cluster, which is in which you can preserve monitor of gasoline financial system and remain abreast of the lane-retaining program, among other items. 

No make a difference the model, Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are normal. The exact is real of lane-retaining help, forward collision warning and a driver focus check. That lane-centering program is particularly great, practically as very good as what Honda or Nissan provide. (Amid mass-marketplace producers, their adaptive cruise-handle and lane-centering devices are some of the greatest.) Stepping up the ladder, rear cross-site visitors alert and blind-place monitoring are provided on all but the most primary Kona model. Finally, the Supreme trim degree is the only one particular that arrives with automated high beams, adaptive cruise handle and a handy head-up screen, which jobs practical info like auto velocity onto a independent combiner panel that pops up from the dashboard. If you you should not care to use this function, that part folds out of the way at the press of a button.

Two powertrains are provided in the Kona. Lessen-end designs come with a 2.-liter four-cylinder motor which is very good for 147 horsepower and 132 pound-ft of torque, figures that compare very favorably with what is actually provided in rival designs. It can be paired with a regular six-velocity automated transmission. Restricted and Supreme variants, nonetheless, function a 1.six-liter turbo-four which is appreciably far more strong, churning out one hundred seventy five hp and 195 lb-ft of twist. Front- or all-wheel generate is provided with both powertrain, a nice solution to have. Rivals such as the Kicks, C-HR and Soul do not provide this traction-boosting function.

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

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

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Those motor output figures may possibly not look all that amazing, but the Kona’s drive-fed four-cylinder provides plenty of torque during its operating selection, which assists this crossover speed up with unexpected relieve, even though there is a trade-off: This is not the most pleasurable powerplant at any time constructed. It seems sickly when pushed really hard, like a connecting rod may possibly liberate alone at any second by punching a window in the cylinder block. This motor is also a little bit on the buzzy side, at situations impersonating a random-orbital sander by sending little tingles through the Kona’s structure.

The seven-velocity twin-clutch transmission is normally speedy to change gears and it can be mainly clean although likely about its organization. Total, it can be a very good device, if not fairly a great one particular. Multigear downshifts can choose a 2nd or so to manifest when you floor the accelerator, but thanks to that meaty torque band this is rarely vital. The greater trouble with this transmission is that it judders at any time so a bit when getting 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 practically in no way come to feel as clean or responsive at very low speeds as transmissions fitted with conventional torque converters. 

Underway, the Kona is impressively refined. This crossover’s inside is perfectly-defended from wind and street noise, the journey is perfectly-isolated and its brake pedal is firm and simple to modulate. As for steering, it can be solely pleasurable, with a speedy ratio that can make the auto come to feel light and maneuverable. The Kona is possibly far more enjoyable to generate than any of its main rivals, probably with the exception of Mazda’s CX-3. It must be considerably quicker than an HR-V or Trax, and its steering is orders of magnitude improved than the Nissan’s, which is far more standoffish than a moody teenager.   

With turbocharged ability less than its hood and an all-wheel-generate program spinning every tire, my prime-shelf Kona Supreme is rated at 26 miles for each gallon city and 29 mpg on the freeway. Put together, it must return 27 mpg, a figure which is woefully inaccurate. In real-entire world use I obliterated that figure, averaging a whisker significantly less than 35 mpg in blended driving, which is certainly stellar. 

2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

The Kona is an great smaller crossover. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

How significantly does this South Korean excellence price? Eschew all solutions and you must be ready to generate household in an entry-degree Kona SE for all over $21,440, a price that involves $1,140 in freight rates. This figure is very comparable to the foundation prices of a lot of main rivals, even though curiously, the most-primary Soul undercuts it by approximately a few grand. 

The Kona I’m analyzing here checks out for all over $31,000 such as spot expenses. All-wheel generate adds $1,four hundred to the foundation price, that fancy inexperienced paint expenses an added $three hundred and carpeted floor mats further inflate the sticker by $155. 

With turbocharged torque, an upscale inside and great driver-aid tech, the 2020 Hyundai Kona is one particular of the greatest smaller crossovers you can buy nowadays. Positive, it may possibly be a little tighter inside than some of its rivals and the transmission could be improved dialed in, but the relaxation of this auto is so persuasive it can be simple to dismiss these slight faults. If you can not stay with the Kona’s styling, perfectly, I guess which is your reduction.