2023 Hyundai Kona Limited 109 1667588097

2023 Hyundai Kona Review, Pricing, and Specs

Overview

Whether you call it a low-riding SUV or a long hatchback, the small 2023 Hyundai Kona is a practical and fun-to-drive vehicle, making it one of our favorites. The entry-level engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes just 147 horsepower, but the optional turbocharged mill dials in some spiciness that better matches the Kona’s nimble handling. Like other Hyundai models, the Kona comes packed with a generous list of standard features—including driver assistance and infotainment technology—at a reasonable price. More than reasonable, actually. Considering rivals like the Kia Seltos and the Volkswagen Taos cost thousands more to start, you might find it easy to justify splurging on a higher-trimmed Kona model, even if you’ve got ‘ a budget The Kona may not have as much passenger or cargo space as some of its larger rivals, but when it comes to driving pleasure, it’s a bundle of flashy, funky fun—whether you think it’s a car or an SUV not.

What’s new for 2023?

The Kona gets more standard driver assistance features for 2023, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and Hyundai’s safe exit warning system, which looks for approaching cars or bikes to alert the driver and passengers when they exit the vehicle. The N-Line model’s optional Tech Package has been eliminated and its contents have either been made standard or are no longer available on that trim. For example, the N-Line now gets a sunroof and the larger 10.3-inch infotainment system as standard, but the Harman/Kardon stereo and adaptive cruise control are now exclusive to the top-spec Limited trim.

Prices and which one to buy

If it were our money, we’d jump for the nearly loaded Limited model, as it offers almost all the most desirable equipment without being too expensive. Standard equipment includes a sunroof, automatic climate control, fog lights, leather upholstery and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Going with the Limited also gives us the great turbocharged four-cylinder engine shared with the N-line trim.

Engine, transmission and performance

Two powertrains are available with the Kona: SE and SEL models come with a 147-hp four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic transmission. This setup could use a big cup of caffeine; in our test, an all-wheel-drive SEL model needed 9.2 seconds to reach 60 mph. Limited and N-line models are powered by the significantly beefier 195-hp turbocharged four-cylinder paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that did the 60-mph hit in 7.3 seconds in our testing. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic shifts quickly and smoothly once you’re rolling, but it stumbles at low speeds in parking lots and bumper-to-bumper traffic, hesitantly engaging and disengaging first gear until the driver offers more throttle input. The Kona delivers nimble handling and a surprising amount of fun. This doesn’t translate to a rough ride over bumpy roads; In fact, the suspension does quite the opposite, dampening bumps and providing occupants with a cabin well insulated from pavement imperfections. The steering is perhaps the Kona’s biggest dynamic downfall: It’s an uncommunicative steering that, despite its weighted feel, requires frequent corrections when cruising on the highway.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

In this class of fuel-guzzling mini-SUVs, the Kona’s EPA ratings are good, but only average among its competitors. Despite this, the Kona impressed us during our real-world testing, besting much of its competition. The most efficient version is the base model with front-wheel drive, which is rated for 30 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. The turbocharged model is rated for up to 29 mpg city and 35 mpg highway with front-wheel drive; add all-wheel drive and those numbers drop to 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. In our testing, the turbo all-wheel-drive model did return 32 mpg in our 75-mph highway fuel economy test; we also managed 33 mpg with the base four-cylinder. For more information on the Kona’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

Interior, comfort and cargo

Hyundai’s designers managed the difficult 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 big and refined, but not out of step with the Kona’s funkadelic exterior. The steering wheel is wrapped in nicely carved leather with contrast stitching and offers integrated controls for cruise control and audio settings. Those upgrading from a compact hatchback or sedan will find the Kona’s cargo space perfectly adequate, but buyers downsizing from a larger SUV will most likely feel the pinch. The Kona barely beat the beep Mazda CX-3 in our test to see how many carrying cases can fit. The Kona managed to hold 14 of our carry-on bags—two more than the CX-3, but eight fewer than the Honda HR-V.

Infotainment and connectivity

Atop the Kona’s dashboard sits a touchscreen infotainment system with simple shortcut buttons that allow you to easily switch between common menus. We found the system to be intuitive in its operation, but quiet when responding to input. An 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard, but buyers who want a larger screen can upgrade to a 10.3-inch unit. Driving directions can be projected onto the optional head-up display that flips up from the dashboard and also shows the vehicle’s speed and other information. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are standard, with a wireless connection for such features available as an option.

Safety and Driver Assistance Features

Buyers looking for popular driver assistance features will find them on the Kona, which offers automatic emergency braking, lane assist and a driver attention monitor as standard equipment. Other more advanced features are still optional. For more information on the Kona’s crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automatic emergency brake
  • Standard lane departure warning
  • Adaptive cruise control available

Warranty and Maintenance Cover

By now, Hyundai’s 10-year powertrain warranty is known in the automotive industry as one of the most generous policies available, and the Kona receives the same coverage as the rest of the lineup. The company too now offers free scheduled maintenance which the best mainstream competitors like Toyota.

  • Limited warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance covers 3 years or 36,000 miles

Specifications

Specifications

2022 Hyundai Kona N Line AWD
Vehicle type: front engine, four-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE
Base/As Tested: $28,425/$31,080
Options: Tech Package, $2500; floor mats, $155

ENGINE
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 98 inches31598 cm3
Power: 195 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 195 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual clutch automatic

CHASSIS
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 12.0-inch ventilated disc/11.2-in disc
Tires: Goodyear Eagle Touring
235/45R-18 98V M+S

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
Length: 166.0 inches
Width: 70.9 inches
Height: 61.4 inches
Passenger volume: 93 feet3
Cargo volume: 19 feet3
Curb weight: 3287 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 7.3 sec
1/4-mile: 15.7 sec @ 90 mph
100 mph: 19.7 sec

Results above leave 1 foot deployment of 0.4 sec. away.
Acceleration, 5–60 mph: 7.6 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.1 sec
Fastest speed (C/D east): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 174 ft
Road holding capacity, 300-foot skid road: 0.87 g

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 29/27/32 mpg

C/D TEST EXPLAINED

More features and specifications

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