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2018 Hyundai Kona Quick Drive | Consumer Reports

2018 Hyundai Kona Quick Drive | Consumer Reports

The Kona is Hyundai’s
better-late-than-never attempt to stand out in the red
hot subcompact SUV market. Standing out in
this class shouldn’t be too hard for Hyundai. While the market is getting
flooded with these tiny SUVs, the fact is, most of them really
aren’t all that nice to drive. Hyundai is trying to
rectify that problem. One way they’re doing that
is by offering two engine choices for the Kona. While the base
engine is a 2-liter, 4-cylinder made into
a six-speed automatic, there’s an available 1.6-liter
turbo 4-cylinder with 175 horsepower combined with
a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Compared to most
of its competitors, that makes the Kona a
relative powerhouse. Front wheel drive is
standard, but all wheel drive is available. Another way Hyundai
hopes to attract buyers is with the Kona’s
aggressive styling. With lots of creases,
an oversized grill, and sharp, narrow
headlights, the Kona will certainly be one of
the more unique cars parked in the compact spot. And one of the tiniest. At 164 inches long,
the Kona is shrimpy, even for the already small
subcompact SUV segment, coming in five inches
shorter than the Honda HRV and four inches shorter
than the Mazda CX-3. Even with its
diminutive size, it’s easy to get into the
Kona’s front seats, which are as comfortable as
you’d expect for the class. Getting into the rear seat
requires considerably more ducking, and even
average-sized adults will find a lack of
head and knee room. Plastics are the dominant
material up front, but a minimalist design keeps it
all looking simple and modern. A seven-inch touch screen
comes standard in the Kona, while an eight-inch
with navigation is optional on higher trims. As with most Hyundai’s, the
infotainment menus and controls are straightforward
and easy to use. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
compatibility comes standard. A power-operated driver’s
seat, heated steering wheel, and a head-up display are
available on the Kona, all of which are
rare for the segment. And while we’re
glad advanced safety features, like forward
collision warning and automatic emergency
braking are available, we think they
should be standard. Other optional equipment
includes blind spot warning, lane keep and assist, and
rear cross-traffic warning. We’ll have a lot more
to say about the Kona once we buy our own
to test at our track. For more on subcompact SUVs,
check out

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100 thoughts on “2018 Hyundai Kona Quick Drive | Consumer Reports

  1. Because the Jeep Cherokee has thin headlights you think they look the same? Did you guys look at the rest of the vehicle? At all?

    The only thing it does resemble really is the CH-R. And it destroys the Toyota feature for feature.

    Personally, I'm interested in cross-shopping the Kona vs the Crosstrek. I'd include the Renegade too but reliability becomes an issue with it. I'm interested in feature sets that include Android Auto, a full suite of safety features, a reasonably powerful engine and not too large a chassis. And they throw in a Mazda like HUD.

  2. These sub-compact SUVs are such a gimmick. Just get a hatchback and save yourself thousands of dollars while gaining more space in the rear. The increased ride height and perceived higher value is useless for the majority of people who buy these so-called SUVs.

  3. This replaces the Accent Hatchback, but it doesn't carry over the Accent's "optional" 6-speed manual gearbox. So I can get either an Accent sedan (not practical compared to hatch) with a manual, or a Kona (with its hatch, so practical in comparison), but only with an auto. Very annoying. I understand why manuals are on their way out. They no longer serve as a way to improve fuel economy, and they get in the way of self-driving tech. But for some of us, a car can be both fun and practical. I don't want an auto so I can shave a second off my zero-60 time. I just want a clutch. It's fun! My next car will probably be a Golf Wagon, and you can bet it'll be a manual. Why? So I can heel-toe while transporting five people and their luggage. Can't do that with an STI, or a ST/RS.

  4. Hyundai always do this trick, they add the cheap tech for its all model trims just to attract young drivers, but keep safety equips optional to save money .

  5. The rlialebility of this car is better than jeep for sure… This will be one of the best subcompact cars in the market and Hyundai become better and better.

  6. Shorter then CX-3? But CX-3 is already needlessly short. Clean up the front fascia people. Look at Germans. Copy the best at least. Simple, clean lines……………………………….

  7. I don’t mean to nitpick, but those are not the headlights. The headlights are down lower (like the Jeep Cherokee)
    I love the “eyes with attitude” looks of the upper lights a lot, but if they made them just a little bigger they coulda done away with the clunky “add on” headlights down below. Jeep learned, now it’s Hyundai’s turn.
    As for the rest of the styling, it has some really good lines (love the upper taillights, but the lower ones look so bad lol) but seems like they did what a lot of automakers are doing and over styling it. The weird looks of the black plastic trim in the front and back look like tacky stick on parts that were bought at Pep Boys. Maybe on the midcycle refresh Hyundai will rectify this (hopefully!) because it looks like a really well thought out and smartly styled little SUV under there!
    And the interior looks pretty well styled as well. Still not a fan of everyone making the door sills so high (remember the days when you could comfortably use the top of the door as an armrest when the windows were down? Lol) but I think that has to do with rollover protection standards.
    Overall I think Hyundai might have a hit on their hands. Just get rid of the cheap looking and tacky black plastic parts and I may even think about getting one! (Well, depends on how big, or rather little, it is in person lol)

  8. "Aggressive styling"… is it just me or it is basically illegal:) these days to produce anything less than "aggressive styling". I see nothing but differently glued plastics/visual deception.

  9. Head up display, and standard Android Auto/CarPlay?

    Hyundai ain’t messin around. I might consider this if it’s as fuel efficient as it claims to be.

  10. This is gonna be Hyundai’s new styling direction for their crossovers. The 2019 Santa Fe is gonna adopt this same “Cherokee” look too

  11. If u guys think this looks alike Jeep Cherokee, look up Citroen Cactus. Kona, Cherokee, Cactus look pretty much same.

  12. Hi, I live in Korea and I am a person who is riding a Hyundai car.I like Hyundai very much. I only rode Starex, Sonata and Tucson.But why not buy Hyundai car again? I got stabbed in the back.We found a lot of rust and a hole in the car parts down there.We found out that cars that went out on the market in the same year have rust and holes in the same area.But Hyundai Motor says it's not a car problem, so it won't be recalled. He's just fixing a few cars for now and he's saying it's his fault.I don't know how you rate Hyundai, but you don't know about this. You could die in an accident. I will never buy a Hyundai car for my loving family and my precious life again.And have you heard about a car accident? Look out for it. It happens every once in a while in Hyundai car. Hyundai says that there is no problem with a car.I am writing to help you a little bit when you buy a Hyundai car.bye

  13. Well the consensus seems to be you either really like or hate the look of them. The MPG on these things however is supposed to be atrocious as they average 21 MPG – even though they say 27. I'm considering one of these simply for the AWD but the Kia Niro is top of my list and they can get upward of 65 MPG. They just lack the AWD. Sigh, decisions, decisions. All I want is an AWD hybrid.

  14. Other than the grill, bumpers, and front end, the silhouette, windows, body panels and roof line, the rear styling, the pillars, and trim, it does look like a Cherokee.

  15. they would be better off putting the 1.4L turbo and the DCT into the Accent and Rio. Unlike europe, hyundai usa has clueless management.

  16. Beautiful looking vehicle inside and out in that color. Looks like a silver blue. The one they showed at the auto show I saw had a horrible color that ruined the presentation. This one is a home run.

  17. How do you make a car with no air vents in the back if you want to sell these vehicles to family with kids… I really don't understand these auto manufacturers who make these cars for young family but forgets one of the most important features which is air vents in the back.
    I want to ask Hyundai executives if they will purchase this kona and put their kids in the back seat during scorching Korean summer heat… If they say no, fire them all…..

  18. Impressed when wife test drove a mid range Kona (me passenger in 'sweaty' rear seat ). Ended up getting i30 ie. Elantra GT Turbo DCT 'with the lot' & 201hp. As in USA, this engine in Kona while downtuned, in top available with AWD, known as Kona "Highlander" here. Hyundai sells well but not 'sexy' in Australia, but as Kia's 'Stinger' proves, the Koreans are on the 'march'.

  19. Well it has a decent engine (the 1.6 turbo) and has AWD (unlike the C-HR) with a feature list to match. The styling is polarizing, to the point the facelifted Cherokee went away to a more conservative design.

  20. That little slot above the grille is just begging for a Knight Rider scanning red light to be installed!

  21. Over priced and lacking the modern technology that you get in more luxury mid SUV models from other manufactures

  22. You truly have to see and experience this vehicle in person. I wasn’t sold on the look either until it was in front of me and I can honestly tell you it is a sharp looking car ! And it grabs attention from every angle. And it also drives just as nice if not better than its big brother the Tucson !

  23. This guy blew it, the tiny strip LIGHTS above are drls, the HEADLIGHTS ARE DOWN BELOW! if he can't get that right, he's not the person to review cars.

  24. only reason i'm going with this is because AWD, pretty good looks and the fact that I won't shed tears once my dog gets in the back seat and freaks out with happiness like she always does. my other 1st choice is the elantra gt sport fully loaded but I can't even find one in cali so I guess it's meant to be.

  25. The funky look is a novelty now, in a couple of years nobody will notice, good or bad. Looks better than the Juke at least.

  26. The smaller size and turbo engine make this car the best balanced driving experience in the segment, bar none.

  27. I've had one for 6 months. What do you want to know ? The collision avoidance system was put to the test by a guy who overshot his turn & slammed on the brakes at 100kph. Before I could react the car braked itself.

  28. I can't stand the styling of the Toyota CHR and Nissan Juke. Like they tried too hard to be modern-looking and edgy. The Kona on the other hand looks stylish without trying too hard. I'd pick this without hesitancy if I were buying in this category.

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