IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The Kona matches most of its competitors in terms of driving manners and all-around practicality, and bests most of them with its peppy available turbo engine and rare-for-the-class comfort and convenience features.

BUT…

In lower trim levels, the interior materials aren’t as nice as some rivals’.

WORTH NOTING:

A pure-electric variant named Kona Electric is available in select states; it has a 201-hp electric motor and an estimated driving range of 258 miles. New for 2022 is a high-performance Kona N version with a sport-tuned chassis and a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 276 horsepower.

WHAT IS IT?

The Kona is the larger and pricier of Hyundai’s two entries in the subcompact crossover SUV segment (the other is the Hyundai Venue). Unlike most of its class rivals, the Kona offers a choice of two engines: SE and SEL models have a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, while the sport-appearance N Line (a new trim level for 2022) and Limited models get a gutsy-for-the-class turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that makes 195 hp—an increase of 30 hp over last year. All are available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Available safety features include forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, driver attention warning, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and automatic high-beam headlights.

An 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity (newly wireless for 2022) are standard. Available comfort and convenience features include a navigation system, wireless charging, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and ambient interior lighting. Also available is Hyundai’s Blue Link connectivity system, which includes smartphone-app remote-access functions such as Car Finder, Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery.

WHAT’S NEW?

The Kona undergoes a significant freshening that includes sleeker, more aggressive styling, retuned suspension, updated infotainment systems, and other enhancements. Newly available features include a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, rear automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability. The N Line trim level brings sportier looks at a more accessible price point than the high-performance N model.

FUEL ECONOMY

The base 2.0-liter engine is EPA-rated at 30 mpg city/35 mpg highway with front-wheel drive and 28/33 with all-wheel drive. The turbo 1.6 is rated at 29 mpg city/35 mpg highway with FWD and 27/32 with AWD.

VALUE IN CLASS

In addition to its spunky styling and likable driving demeanor, the Hyundai Kona has a lot going for it. Prices are highly competitive, the features-per-dollar ratio is excellent, the available equipment list is impressive, and the step-up turbo engine offers zippy acceleration with little penalty to fuel-economy numbers. The numerous improvements for 2022 make the Kona an even more compelling choice.

BASE PRICE RANGE $21,150 – $29,950
BODY STYLES 4-Door Wagon
AVAILABLE ENGINES 147-HP, 2.0-Liter 4-Cyl.; 195-HP, Turbocharged 1.6-Liter 4-Cyl.
DRIVE WHEELS Front or All-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN South Korea
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 27-35 MPG

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