Tuesday, October 23, 2018

2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD: The Korean Brand’s Newest Compact Crossover

Highlight: The Kona is outfitted with the same base engine that is found in the Veloster.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $29,850 (Base model: $20,840)

Seating Capacity: 4 (super tight fit in the back seat)

Standard Safety Features:  ABS; airbags; a tire pressure monitoring system; automatic headlights; a blind spot driver’s mirror; a downhill brake control; a hillstart assist control; a backup camera; a remote keyless entry system; stability control system; a traction control system; and a compact spare tire

Standard Equipment (Base SE Model): 16-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; cloth manually operated front seats; 60/40 rear split seats; rear seat heater ducts; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a rear center armrest with cupholders; and rear coat hangers

Standard Equipment (Ultimate Model): 18-inch tires; 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, 175-horsepower engine; a 7-speed automatic transmission; LED headlights with low beam assist; foglights; heated mirrors; a blind spot collision warning system; side mirrors with turn signal indicators; premium dark gray body cladding; rear privacy glass; power sunroof; black roof rack; high beam assist lights; a rain sensing windshield wipers; leather seats; a power driver’s seat; heated front seats; cargo area, under floor storage tray; sliding sunvisors; a leather-wrapped shift knob; an automatic temperature control system; a leather wrapped steering wheel; an 8-inch infotainment screen; an 8-speaker AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM; a heads up display system; a wireless device charging system; one-touch auto up/down power mirrors; a push button ignition starter system; a lane change assist system; a rear cross traffic warning system; a reverse parking distance warning system; and a forward collision avoidance system with pedestrian protection

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: carpeted floormats

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

Android Auto & AppleCarPlay: Standard

USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/147-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular Unleaded

Standard Fuel Mileage:


What’s New: The Hawaiian named Kona is an all-new entry into the popular compact segment.

Why: The all-new Kona appeals to a new, fresh buyer for the Hyundai brand. The newest entry is available in both a front wheel drive and an all wheel drive configuration.

The gender neutral stylish crossover, which is easy to maneuver, is available in a variety of trims, at a starting price point under $21,000. Unlike many of today’s crossovers that seem more fitting for women than men, the Kona offers a subtle athletic exterior design, with creases in all of the right places, complementing the sporty wheels on the upgrade trims.

Our compact Kona, with its stylish grille and cat-like headlights, was outfitted with many of the safety features one could expect to find in more premium models. Those features ranged from an electronic blind spot system to a forward collision braking system with pedestrian protection. The Kona was available with many safety avoidance features typically reserved for larger vehicles.

Also the layout of the instrument panel made all of the gauges and features incorporated into the standalone infotainment center easy-to-use. We were equally impressed by the attention to detail the interior design team added to the Kona, with lime trimming outlining the leather seats.

But: Unlike in the second generation Hyundai Veloster we recently reviewed, the transmission in the Kona did not seem as smooth and refined, as the hatchback, especially when we altered between normal and sport modes.

Moreover, the rear seating area is super tight. Kona needs to take a page from the all-new Nissan Kicks, which has one of the roomiest rear seating areas in terms of legroom. 

Lastly, the upscale premium model trimmed in the bright lime color we reviewed was surrounded by too much hard plastic. At a price point nearing $30,000, the design team could have used a better grade of material to compliment the highlighted colorful trim.

Verdict: The all-new stylish Kona, which will appeal to both females and males, is available with a host of high end features and safety aids. With this new attractive design, it should attract a new base of first time buyers to the brand.

Competition:  Chevy Trax, Ford EcoSport, Jeep Renegade, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-3, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR

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