The 2018 Kona marks Hyundai’s first foray into the subcompact SUV segment. An affordable entry price, good gas mileage, and agile performance make it a strong competitor in the increasingly competitive market for these crossovers.
Fleets considering a shift from smaller sedans into something with a little more utility and an enjoyable ride, but at a price point similar to a sedan may want to strongly consider the Kona.
The Kona comes in four trims: SE; SEL; Limited; and Ultimate. The SE and SEL trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 147 hp and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the Limited and Ultimate trims come with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 175 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. An all-wheel-drive powertrain can also be added to any trim for an additional $1,300.
Inside, the Kona offers 94.1 cubic feet of passenger volume. In terms of cargo volume, the Kona offers 19.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 45.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
The base-model SE starts at $20,480 with freight included and caps at $29,680 for the Ultimate AWD package after freight.
While acquisition cost isn’t everything when it comes to fleets determining total cost of ownership, but at $20,480, the Kona holds one of the lowest entry price points of any compact crossover currently available in the U.S. market, before incentives.
Stepping into the Kona, the first thing that stood out was the great visibility of the road that the vehicle offered. The trim that we received for the purposes of this review was the Ultimate AWD package, so there were plenty of amenities such as a wireless charging station, a heads up display, and automatic temperature control.
One small gripe with the heads up display, however, was its positioning. Getting a clear view of the information on the HUD required lowering and tilting the seat back a fair amount.
Performance-wise, the Kona offered a very fun ride. Launch off the line was quick and it never felt like it took much effort for to overtake someone on the road.
Gas mileage is an ever-important factor when it comes to vehicle selection. Gas prices have been on the rise this year, and should they continue to rise, gas mileage will be that much more of a determining factor in vehicle selection.
The EPA rates the 2018 Ultimate AWD Kona at 26 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 27 combined. This puts the Kona somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of fuel efficiency, compared to other current-year subcompact SUVs.
In our testing, on the often-congested roads of Southern California, we were able to nearly replicate the EPA fuel efficiency estimates.
In shorter city drives that spanned around 5 miles, the Kona averaged 25.5 mpg. During heavily congested city drives, fuel efficiency went down to around 20 mpg. For the most part, however, most city drives hovered around EPA’s estimate of 26 mpg.
On two separate 20-mile combined city and highway drives, the Kona averaged 30 mpg, slightly besting the EPA estimate.
Related Photos: 2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD