It’s difficult to get hooked up on the common anti-crossover mentality when an SUV provides as sharp a driving experience as the 2022 Hyundai Kona. For its combination of car-like on-road behavior with dramatic aesthetics, a healthy dose of utility, and an elevated driving position, the subcompact Kona is a superb package; we like it so much that we gave it an Editors’ Choice award.
There are two different four-cylinder engines to choose from: a 2.0-liter four, which is admittedly somewhat underpowered, and a more desirable turbocharged 1.6-liter four, which is quite a bit more potent. Hyundai’s Kona follows suit with its emphasis on value by providing a vast list of standard equipment that rises as you progress up through the trim levels, with the top few being downright luxurious.
The Hyundai Kona is one of the more compact offerings in the subcompact SUV class, so it has less space for cargo and passengers than some of its larger competitors. However, we believe that the trade-off for the Hyundai’s compact package and fun-to-drive nature more than makes up for those shortcomings.
What is Coming in 2022?
Many times over, in fact. For 2022, Hyundai updated the Kona’s design and interior, including a new front-end treatment that is even more eye-catching than that of the 2021 model. There are a number of new visual cues, including a wide-mouth grille, revised external lighting, redesigned wheels, and fake skid plates at both the front and back.
The Kona’s interior has been updated with a new dashboard design and a few new optional features, such as a digital gauge display, wireless smartphone charging, and heated rear seats. There is now an optional 10.3-inch display in addition to the base 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. In addition to these updates, the selection now includes a sporty N Line grade with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine producing 195 horsepower; no word yet on the performance-oriented N model.
2023 Hyundai Kona Pricing
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the base 2023 Hyundai Kona is $21,990. For the entry-level SE model with front-wheel drive, this is the price.
All-wheel drive costs an additional $1,500 and is available on all trim levels from SE to Limited. That’s pretty much all you can get on the most expensive Limited model, which costs $30,300.
The base price of the sporty and specialist Kona N is $34,700.
The Hyundai Kona is competitively priced when pitted against other compact crossovers like the Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, and Subaru Crosstrek that all start in the low to mid $20,000s. Both the Crosstrek and the CX-30 have standard all-wheel drive.
To see what other people in your region paid for a brand new Hyundai Kona subcompact SUV, you may search for it on KBB.com and view its Fair Purchase Price. Despite the presence of resale-value powerhouses like Subaru and Honda in this segment, the Kona should still do quite well.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The SE and SEL trim levels of the Kona are equipped with a 147-horsepower four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automated transmission. A boost in caffeine might help this arrangement, as it took our all-wheel-drive SEL test vehicle 9.2 seconds to reach 60 mph. The Limited and N-Line trims get a 195-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
While the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic shifts smoothly and rapidly once you’re moving, it struggles to get out of first gear at low speeds in parking lots and heavy traffic until the driver gives it a little more gas. With its quick steering and enjoyable ride, the Kona exceeds expectations. This does not equate to a harsh ride on uneven pavement, as the suspension does a great job of smoothing out bumps and isolating the cabin from road noise. One of the Kona’s main dynamic flaws is its uncommunicative steering, which, although feeling weighted, necessitates regular adjustments at highway speeds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Kona has outstanding EPA ratings for a vehicle of its size and class, but they are only around par with the competition. Despite this, the Kona outperformed several of its rivals in our real-world tests. The front-wheel-drive base model gets 30 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the interstate, making it the most fuel-efficient option.
The turbocharged variant can achieve up to 29 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive, but with all-wheel drive, fuel economy drops to 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. In our testing, we were able to achieve 32 mpg with the turbo all-wheel-drive model and 33 mpg with the regular four-cylinder in our 75 mph highway fuel economy test.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Hyundai Kona’s interior design team accomplished the difficult goal of retaining the vehicle’s exterior’s visual appeal without sacrificing the utility or comfort of the interior. The Kona’s funkadelic exterior is at odds with the grown-up sophistication conveyed by its quality materials, outstanding ergonomics, and comfortable chairs. A leather steering wheel with contrast stitching and buttons for the radio and cruise control is standard.
The Kona’s cargo room is fine for those moving up from a tiny hatchback or sedan, but those trading in a large SUV may find it lacking. We compared the Kona to the much smaller Mazda CX-3 to determine which could hold more luggage. The Kona was able to accommodate 14 of our carry-on bags, which was two more than the CX-3 but eight less than the Honda HR-V.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Kona’s dashboard is topped by a touch-screen infotainment system with basic shortcut buttons for quick access to frequently used functions. It was easy to figure out how to use the system, although it took a while to react to our inputs. There is a normal touchscreen display size of 8.0 inches, with a bigger 10.3 inch display available as an option.
The optional head-up display, which is housed in a hinged panel on the dashboard, projects driving directions onto the windshield at the same time as displaying speed and other data. Ability to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is included, with wireless connectivity for both being offered as extras.
2022 Hyundai Kona N Line AWD
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $28,425/$31,080
Options: Tech package, $2500; floor mats, $155
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 98 in3, 1598 cm3
Power: 195 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 195 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 12.0-in vented disc/11.2-in disc
Tires: Goodyear Eagle Touring
235/45R-18 98V M+S
Wheelbase: 102.4 in
Length: 166.0 in
Width: 70.9 in
Height: 61.4 in
Passenger Volume: 93 ft3
Cargo Volume: 19 ft3
Curb Weight: 3287 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 7.3 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.7 sec @ 90 mph
100 mph: 19.7 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.4 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 7.6 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.1 sec
Top Speed (C/D est): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 174 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.87 g
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 29/27/32 mpg