2019 Hyundai Kona

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in Suvs
2019 MODEL
$19,990 - $31,950

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2019 Hyundai Kona Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide


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John Bedrow Automotive Journalist Updated on: October 11, 2019


The Hyundai Kona which was released last year was quite a polarizing compact SUV. It looked striking and promised a whole new zing in this very competitive compact crossover segment. The compact crossover segment is populated with cars from every manufacturer and it's going to quite some job for the Kona to make a mark for itself.

The Kona is powered by a 2.0L, inline-4 cylinder engine or a 1.6l, turbocharged, 4 cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox driving either the front wheels or all four wheels. There is also a 7-speed dual clutch transmission as an option. The Kona costs $19,900 with the base engine and $25,550 for the turbo charged engine.

See detailed review »

Pros

Funky looks

Lots of standard features available

Turbocharged engine in higher trim provides good acceleration

Cons

Functional interior with hard plastics

Base engine is not punchy enough

Suspension is a bit jittery

What's New?

Some previously optional features have been made standard

Some shuffling of features across the trims


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$19990

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

torque

132 lbs.-ft @ 4500 rpm

transmission

6-speed shiftable automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

front independent suspension

suspension rear

Semi-independent rear torsion beam suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

62/62.4

dimensions

wheelbase

102.4 in.

length

164 in.

width

70.9 in.

height

61 in.

curb weight

2890 lbs.

ground clearance

6.7 in.

capacity

passenger volume

39.2 cu ft.

cargo volume

45.8 cu ft.

payload capacity

1089 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

9 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

27/30/33 mpg

highway range

435.6 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr. / 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

10 yr. / 100000 mi.

powertrain warranty

120 months. / 100000

corrosion warranty

7 yr. / unlimited

roadside assistance

5 yr. / Unlimited


Pictures & Videos


Styles

 2019 Hyundai Kona in Chalk White color  2019 Hyundai Kona in Lime Twist color  2019 Hyundai Kona in pulse red color  2019 Hyundai Kona in Sonic Silver Metallic color  2019 Hyundai Kona in Sunset Orange Metallic color  2019 Hyundai Kona in Surf Blue color
Chalk White

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.5

Engine And Performance

8.1

Interior

8.0

8.0

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2019 Hyundai Kona SE

SE

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
30 combined

$19,990 - $21,390


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $19,990 MSRP (27/30/33) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $21,390 MSRP (25/27/30) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

 2019 Hyundai Kona SEL

SEL

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
30 combined

$21,800 - $23,200


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SEL 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $21,800 MSRP (27/30/33) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
SEL 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $23,200 MSRP (25/27/30) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed shiftable automatic all wheel drive 5

 2019 Hyundai Kona Limited

Limited

power
175 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
30 combined

$25,550 - $26,950


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Limited 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $25,550 MSRP (28/30/32) 175 hp @ 5500 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
7-speed automated manual front wheel drive 5
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $26,950 MSRP (26/27/29) 175 hp @ 5500 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
7-speed automated manual all wheel drive 5

 2019 Hyundai Kona Ultimate

Ultimate

power
175 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
30 combined

$27,500 - $28,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Ultimate 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $27,500 MSRP (28/30/32) 175 hp @ 5500 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
7-speed automated manual front wheel drive 5
Ultimate 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $28,900 MSRP (26/27/29) 175 hp @ 5500 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
7-speed automated manual all wheel drive 5

 2019 Hyundai Kona Iron Man

Iron Man

power
175 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
30 combined

$30,550 - $31,950


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Iron Man 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $30,550 MSRP (28/30/32) 175 hp @ 5500 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
7-speed automated manual front wheel drive 5
Iron Man 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $31,950 MSRP (26/27/29) 175 hp @ 5500 rpm, 1.6 L, I-4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
7-speed automated manual all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

8.0

Overall Rating


If you need the size and room of a small-crossover SUV, but want something as sporty and well-equipped as it is fun to drive, the 2019 Hyundai Kona covers all the bases. It’s apparently the most outrageously styled Hyundai the world has ever seen.With numerous options for competition in this segment, we have brought the competition to a final three from the many - the Buick Encore, the Mazda CX-3 and the Subaru Crosstrek. Let's see how the competition rolls for the Hyundai Kona.

2019 Hyundai kona
2019 Hyundai kona
2019 Hyundai kona
2019 Hyundai kona

8.5/10
Features

 

8.1/10
Engine and Performance

 
 

8.0/10
Interior

 
 
 
 
 

2019 Hyundai Kona Features

8.5/10

The Kona comes in four trim levels – SE, SEL, Limited and Ultimate. The SE and the SEL trims are powered by a 2.0L, inline-4 cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. The Limited and the Ultimate trims are powered by a more powerful 1.6L, Turbocharged 4-cylinder motor mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. All trims can be had in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive format.

Trim

SE

SEL

Limited

Ultimate

MSRP

$19,990

$21,800

$25,550

$27,500

Key Features

16-inch alloy wheels

17-inch wheels

18-inch wheels

Navigation system

 

Automatic headlights

Roof rails

Turbocharged engine

Wireless charging pad

 

Remote keyless entry

Keyless entry and ignition

Upgraded exterior trim

Head-up display

 

Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel

Leather-wrapped steering wheel

LED headlights and taillights

Automatic high beams

 

Rearview camera

Heated front seats

Automatic climate control

Pedestrian detection

 

7-inch infotainment touchscreen

Blind-spot monitoring rear

Leather upholstery

8-inch touchscreen

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Cross-traffic alert

Auto-dimming rearview mirror

Forward collision mitigation system

 

Six-speaker audio system

Voice recognition

 

Rear parking sensors

 

Forward collision warning

     
 

Lane keeping assist

     
 

Driver attention monitor

     

 

We’d Recommend

The SEL trim with the 2.0L engine is the trim which gives the most value for its money. It is decently well loaded with equipment and should suffice for most buyers. However, if the price is not a barrier then the Limited trim with the more powerful engine and some more technology is always welcome. Also, having the all-wheel-drive system is advisable for some extra traction.

2019 Hyundai Kona Engine and Performance

8.1/10

“The Kona delivers agile handling and a surprising amount of fun. This doesn't translate to a rough ride over choppy roads; in fact, the suspension offers quite the opposite, damping out bumps and providing occupants with a cabin that is well isolated from pavement imperfections.” – Car and Driver

The 2.0L, inline-4 cylinder engine produces 147 hp at 6,200 rpm and 132 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The engine is good enough for city driving and is refined for most of the times. However, it really feels out of breath out on a highway when you need to do a quick overtaking maneuver. Peak torque is produced quite high in the range and the engine feels strained even when you push it moderately.While the 2.0L engine packs decent amount of punch, the 1.6L, turbocharged 4-cylinder motor is the real deal in the Kona. Its powerful for the car, is brisk and lively and does not feel strained like the former does. The 1.6L engine really brings out the character in the car and it starts to feel nimble and up on its feet.

2019 Hyundai kona engine

The 2.0L motor comes paired to a six-speed automatic transmission which is decent at best. At high speeds, the shifts are smooth but jerky at low speeds. Downshifts are always a little rough. Put the car in sport mode and the gearbox holds the rev for a little longer before shifting up. The 7-speed dual clutch transmission with the 1.6L engine is quite sluggish however.

Models

Hyundai Kona

Buick Encore

Mazda CX-3

Subaru Crosstrek

MSRP

$19,500

$23,200

$20,390

$21,859

Engine

2.0 Liter Inline-4

1.4 Turbocharged Inline-4

2.0 Liter Inline-4

2.0 Liter Boxer-4

Transmission

6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

6-speed automatic with Overdrive and auto-manual

2-speed CVT with Overdrive and Manual mode

Continuously variable-speed automatic

Horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

138 hp @ 4900 rpm

148 hp @ 6000 rpm

152 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque

132 lb. ft. @ 4500 rpm

148 lb. ft. @ 1850 rpm

146 lb. ft. @ 2800 rpm

145 lb. ft. @ 4000 rpm

Most cars in this segment here have quite a similar powertrain – 2.0L, 4-cylinder engines producing relatively the same power. The Buick Encore uses a smaller 1.4L, turbocharged motor to produce the same power. The gearboxes used in each car in quite varied from 6-speed automatics to CVTs and even a continuously variable-speed automatic.

Acceleration

The Kona is the slowest car here to 60 mph which it does in 10.0 seconds. That’s quite slow for the segment. The Buick Encore is the fastest to 60 mph at 8.4 seconds. The story remains pretty much the same at the quarter-mile mark where the Kona is still the slowest and the Encore is the fastest. The Kona is lighter than most cars here but still sluggish. It scores pretty well on the emissions test though at 5.9 tons of CO2 per year.

2019 Hyundai kona

Models

Hyundai Kona

Buick Encore

Mazda CX-3

Subaru Crosstrek

0-60 MPH (sec)

10.0

8.4

8.6

9.0

Quarter mile (sec)

17.3

16.2

16.3

16.9

Engine

2.0-L I-4

1.4-L I-4

2.0-L I-4

2.0-L H-4

Emission

(Tons/yr. of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

5.9

6.3

5.7

7.0

Ride and Handling

The Kona does not have the best ride quality either. Hyundai intended to make this a sporty SUV for which the suspension is a little on the stiffer side. What it does is it makes the ride quite jittery. It would soak up bumps and potholes relatively well but there seems to be quite some bounciness over the unsettling tarmac. The Kona handles itself well on, and surprisingly even off, the road. The available multilink suspension soaks up most road imperfections, though some of them can disrupt riders. 

The stiffer suspension does not reward with better handling either. There is a moderate amount of body roll but it remains fairly composed otherwise through the corners. The steering has some artificial heft to it even at slow speeds. It’s fairly precise otherwise and it will go where you point it to. There also is feedback from the tires about the grip levels.The overall feel is one of confidence, but the driving characteristics fall short of the standard set by the Mazda CX-3 and Toyota C-HR.

Braking

The pedals feel smooth and the braking is progressive, the car remains predictable. It holds its composure well under hard braking and it’s a light vehicle which really helps it. However, it takes 129 ft to come to stop from 60 miles an hour which is not so great in this class.

2019 Hyundai Kona wheel

Model

Hyundai Kona

Buick Encore

Mazda CX-3

Subaru Crosstrek

Brake Front (in.)

11.8

11.8

11

11.6

Brake Rear (in.)

9.0 (Drum)

10.6

11.1

10.8

Curb Weight (lbs.)

2890

3237

2809

3113

60-0 MPH (ft.)

129 ft

N/A

N/A

N/A

2019 Hyundai Kona Fuel Economy

The Kona has pretty good fuel economy figures though. It returns 30 miles to the gallon combined which though not the best, is second in the competition after the Mazda CX-3. It also gives good figures in city and highway driving. 

Model

Hyundai Kona

Buick Encore

Mazda CX-3

Subaru Crosstrek

MPG (city)

27

26

29

27

MPG (highway)

33

31

34

33

MPG (combined)

30

28

31

25

2019 Hyundai Kona Interior

8.0/10

“Hyundai's designers managed the tough task of bringing the charm of the Kona's exterior design to the cabin while maintaining comfort and convenience. Quality materials, good ergonomics, and comfortable seats feel grown up and refined but not out of step with the Kona's funkadelic outward appearance.” – Car and Driver

The interiors of the Kona in the first two trims are essentially functional. There are hard scratchy plastics all around and the interiors are all black. There is however a 7-inch floating touch screen on the dashboard with physical short cut buttons around it. The climate controls are manual. There are lots of storage spaces here and there which allows for some practicality. On the whole, the interiors in the base trims are quite basic but still gets all the job done. On the upper trims, the interiors get some zing, thankfully. The screen size increases to 8 inches, the climate controls are automatic and there are coloured accents around the AC vents and gear shifter. You can also get leather upholstery along with heated seats. There is also a heads-up display. The interiors in the upper trims feel well-appointed and premium.

2019 Hyundai kona front seat

Model

Hyundai Kona

Buick Encore

Mazda CX-3

Subaru Crosstrek

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Headroom

39.6

39.6

38.4

39.8

Shoulder room

55.5

54.2

53.5

56.7

Legroom

41.5

40.8

41.7

43.1

Headroom

37.8

38.8

37.2

38

Shoulder room

54.5

52.5

50.4

55.6

Legroom

34.6

35.8

35

36.5

The seats in the Kona are quite comfortable. They are leather-wrapped and heated. There is quite some space in the interiors. The rear bench is nice and wide and can seat three people in fair comfort. The rear legroom is not the best in class but there is sufficient space still. Long hours can be spent easily in this cabin as it’s a comfortable space to be in.

Interior Features

  • Remote keyless entry
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Rearview camera
  • 7-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Heated front seats
  • Blind-spot monitoring rear
  • Cross-traffic alert

Infotainment System

The infotainment system on the Kona is pretty good. The system is easy to use and fairly intuitive. There are physical short cuts buttons around the screen for easy access to important functions. There is also Android Auto and Apple Car Play for smartphone integration. Overall, the system is convenient and will get most things done for you quite easily. Some of the features include :

2019 Hyundai kona infotainment display

  • Six speaker stereo
  • HD Radio
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Voice recognition
  • Heads up display
  • Wireless charging
  • Heads-up display
2019 Hyundai kona dashboard
2019 Hyundai kona dashboard
2019 Hyundai kona
2019 Hyundai kona
2019 Hyundai kona infotainment
2019 Hyundai kona infotainment
2019 Hyundai kona steering
2019 Hyundai kona steering
2019 Hyundai kona
2019 Hyundai kona
2019 Hyundai kona instrumental cluster
2019 Hyundai kona instrumental cluster

2019 Hyundai Kona Exterior

“Hyundai puts some keen ideas to paper—and metal and glass—at the front of the 2019 Kona. The headlights split into thin bands atop thick bands atop big air intakes. The grille vaults up to a thin cross vent from the ground. The cladding stretches from the bumper into the fenders.” – The Car Connection

The styling of the Hyundai Kona has divided opinions. For some, it may be too busy trying too hard to be cool while some others will actually find it funky. It’s unique for sure and it will turn heads. What meets your eyes first are the multiple headlamps. There are LED DRLs on the top, then the main headlamp cluster within the bumper with black claddings and then the fog lamps in the lower lip. You’d be confused as to which are the main lamps.The spindle grille and black claddings all around give it a sporty and rugged look. From the busy front, when you move to the sides, it’s rather plain and simple except for a contrast panel on the C-pillar.

2019 Hyundai kona exterior

There is a pronounced kink on the rear fender. Also, the body claddings look good and the wheels are stylish.At the rear, the story is the same as the front. There are two lamp clusters which have not been designed very aesthetically. While the front still manages to look cool, the rear does not. The claddings dominate at the back as well. The rear spoiler protrudes quite some and with the sloping rear window looks sporty. It is still a smart and contemporary looking compact SUV.

Model

Hyundai Kona

Buick Encore

Mazda CX-3

Subaru Crosstrek

Curb weight (lbs.)

2890

3237

2809

3157

Length(in)

164.0

168.4

168.3

175.8

Width(in)

70.9

70.1

69.6

71

Height(in)

61

65.2

60.7

63.6

Ground clearance (in)

6.7

6.2

6.1

8.7

Wheelbase (in)

102.4

100.6

101.2

104.9

Track width (in) F/R

-

60.62/60.62

60/59.5

61/61.2

The Hyundai Kona is quite balanced when it comes to dimensions. It has compact proportions for a crossover and sits quite low as well. It has the least length but in spite of that, it has a longer wheelbase than the Buick and the Mazda. The compact proportions and less ground clearance really helps the handling of the car.

Exterior Features

  • LED headlamps and tail lamps
  • 16-18 inch wheels
  • Roof Rails
  • Body Claddings
  • Body-coloured Side mirrors with turn-signal indicators

 

2019 Hyundai kona front view
2019 Hyundai kona front view
2019 Hyundai kona front view
2019 Hyundai kona front view
2019 Hyundai kona
2019 Hyundai kona
2019 Hyundai kona rear view
2019 Hyundai kona rear view
2019 Hyundai kona side view
2019 Hyundai kona side view
2019 Hyundai kona cargo space
2019 Hyundai kona cargo space

2019 Hyundai Kona Safety

The 2019 Kona has not been tested by either NHTSA or IIHS and we cannot offer you their ratings yet. However, the Hyundai Kona is well loaded with quite a lot of safety features and that is quite reassuring. Even the base trim comes with standard features such as Forward collision warning, Lane keeping assist, and Driver attention monitor.

2019 Hyundai kona crash test

Standard safety features include:

  • Advanced dual front airbags (SRS) with Occupant Classification System (OCS)
  • Dual front seat-mounted side-impact airbags (SRS)
  • Front and rear roof-mounted side-curtain airbags (SRS) with rollover sensors
  • Adjustable front-seat shoulder belt anchors
  • Front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters
  • LATCH Lower Anchors and Upper Tether Anchors
  • Power window lock-out button
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with 4-wheel disc brakes
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control (TCS) and Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Management
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with individual tire indicator
  • Blind-Spot Collision Warning
  • Lane Change Assist
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning

 

2019 Hyundai Kona Competition

Hyundai Kona vs Mazda CX-3

The Mazda CX-3 is one of the best SUVs in the segment. It has very good handling and is actually a fun car to drive. While it does not look as polarizing as the Kona, it’s a smart looking urban SUV. It has good interiors but Android Auto and Apple CarPlay do not come as standard. Also, the rear seats are quite cramped in the CX-3. The CX-3 also packs some good performance and it’s only a little more expensive than the Kona. The CX-3 is quite easily the better car over the Kona

2019 Mazda cx-3

Hyundai Kona vs Buick Encore

The Buick Encore is a good urban SUV which handles well too. It’s very compact, does not look very striking but still manages to look smart. The interiors are well appointed with lots of standard features and is well designed too. It has the best performance in the segment from the least powerful engine which is quite surprising. On the downside, the ride is a little bouncy and there are some vibrations in the cabin. It’s also quite expensive than the Kona but considering all its perks like performance and the features, it seems pretty much worth it and is a better car than the Kona.

2019 Buick encore

Hyundai Kona vs Subaru Crosstrek

The Subaru Crosstrek is a much larger SUV than any of these compact SUVs. It has good off-road capabilities for a sub-compact SUV and it has good ride quality as well. It has very roomy interiors, something that is not so generous in this class. It looks very generic though and could easily blend in the crowd. The interiors feel special and is quite well loaded. On the down side, the acceleration isn’t very good and handling is not so good either. It is around $2,000 more expensive than the Kona but it seems worth it because of the extra practicality it comes with.

2019 Subaru crosstrek

2019 Hyundai Kona Final Verdict

The 2019 Hyundai Kona isn’t the best car that money could buy within the $20,000 bracket. The base engine feels underpowered, handling isn’t the best, ride is a little firm and the interiors are dull. However, move up the trim levels and the Kona becomes a whole different car. The 1.6L, turbocharged engine feels punchy and the Kona really comes into character then.

The interiors in the upper trim also feel much more upmarket and feature-rich. It’s still not the most perfect car even at the upper trims but it seems much more worth the money. Of course, it costs significantly more but that does not remain in the $20,000 bracket any more. If you have to buy the Kona, buy the upper trims or buy any of the other cars if you want to stick around the $20,000 bracket.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

How Much Does the 2019 Hyundai Kona Cost?

Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the Kona SE starts at $20,970, including the $980 destination charge; all-wheel drive adds $1,300 to the price of any Kona model. On the other end, the AWD Kona Ultimate will run you $29,880.

Does the Hyundai Kona have a manual transmission?

No. All Kona models have an automatic transmission. 

Where is the 2019 Hyundai Kona Built?

Hyundai builds the Kona in South Korea.