2018 Hyundai Kona Review and Comparison in Albuquerque, NM

The All-New 2018 Hyundai Kona Might be Right for You

Sometimes when we say "all-new" we are talking about a new model year or an update, but for the 2018 Hyundai Kona, we really mean all-new, as in the first ever year in production.

The Kona sits comfortably in the Subcompact SUV category, which fits a very niche market of those looking for a vehicle that has more space than a car like a hatchback but isn't much bigger than it. While this might sound paradoxical, models like the Jeep Renegade, Subaru Crosstrek, Kia Niro, Toyota C-HR, and now the Hyundai Kona prove it is possible.

Subcompact SUVs are perfect for those of you looking for a family vehicle that is affordable and capable without breaking the bank. There are four trim levels of the Kona to choose from to get you these features - SE, SEL, Limited, Ultimate - starting a $19,000.

Embracing an Aggressive Design

Most vehicles of this class go for an aggressive stance and styling, and the Kona doesn't look to change that. It takes some cues from the Santa Fe by separating the headlights based on type, having the daytime running lights at the top, the main headlights square in the middle, and the fog lights sitting underneath. This isn't a usual look, but it suits the Kona because it isn't your usual vehicle.

The bold look of the Kona includes some smart touches like some angled plastic above the wheel wells, helping it earn its place on the KBB 10 Coolest New Cars Under $20,000.

You can help the Kona reflect your style by choosing between a variety of colors: Chalk White, Sonic Silver, Thunder Gray, Surf Blue, Lime Twist, Pulse Red, and Ultra Black.

An Interior That Actually Fits Adults

Many Subcompact SUVs struggle fitting adults into them because they try to stay as compact as possible, but the Kona offers enough room to comfortably hold five passengers, no matter if they are adults or kids. This is done with 94.1 cubic feet of passenger space, allowing the rest of the interior volume to be used for cargo.

When every seat is being used, you have up to 19.2 cubic feet of space, but you can fold the rear row down thanks to the 60/40 split-folding design for up to 45.8 cubic feet of cargo space. There are vehicles in the class with more cargo space, but there are also some with less, leaving the Kona in the middle.

Interior Features

The Kona pushes its way out of the middle thanks to the variety of impressive standard features. With steering-wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a standard 7-inch touchscreen that has knobs for audio and tuning, you will be able to quickly and easily control all the settings that you want.

Once you start to upgrade trim levels you'll be getting an eight-inch touchscreen, an eight-speaker Infinity premium sound system, Qi wireless device charging compatibility, and an available Heads-up Display. Other manufacturers might only offer some basic upgrades between trim levels, but the Kona wants to give you an incentive to look at some of the more advanced trims.

Moving to the Kona SEL will offer standard heated front seats, leather wrapping on the steering wheel and shift knob, and one-touch windows among other features; upgrading to the Limited or Ultimate trims will provide you with Multi-Zone Climate Control, premium leather upholstery, and the most advanced driver assistance features.

Interior colors can include black or gray cloth or leather.

Performance Options Are Yours

Your performance features depend on the trim level that you choose. The Kona SE and SEL offer a 2.0-Liter four-cylinder engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission for 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. While this might not be so exciting, it is practical and helps to keep the starting price so low.

If you are looking for a little more power, you can opt for the Limited or Ultimate trims that come with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that is paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that makes 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Sometimes a more powerful engine can hurt efficiency, but the turbocharged Kona offers up to 30 MPG combined, making sure you can drive around the city and on the highway without needing to stop too often.

If you are looking for even more fuel efficiency, the all-electric Kona EV will arrive in the fall of 2018 as a part of the 2019 model year. As of now, the expected all-electric range is 250 miles because of the 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and a 150-kilowatt motor.

All non-electric models have all-wheel drive available, but the EV will not offer it.

Instilling Confidence

While it includes all of the most common safety features as standard - including the Rear-View Monitor with Parking Guidance - there aren't too many advanced features until you upgrade to the Hyundai Tech Package for the SEL. The Tech Package includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Driver Attention Warning, Blind-Spot Collision Warning with Rear Cross-traffic Collision Warning, and Lane Keeping Assist. Bundling these features into a package for the SEL trim allows the Kona to keep the low starting point that some drivers might enjoy.

Another point of confidence is offering America's Best Warranty. The Hyundai Kona is not ashamed to offer a 5-Year/60,000-Mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty, a 10-Year/100,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, and 5-Year/Unlimited Miles 24-hour Roadside Assistance, all longer than competitors would offer.

Exemplifying a Whole Class of Vehicle

The all-new Kona is showing everyone what a Subcompact SUV can be capable of. It offers a base model that is at a remarkable starting point and allows you to add the features that you think you will get the most use out of. If you are one of the many drivers who have a hatchback but need even the littlest bit of more space, this is the next model you test drive.

Compare the Hyundai Kona vs the Competition