Hyundai has debuted numerous variants of their new subcompact 2018 Hyundai Kona crossover, a model that is geared toward millennials and empty nesters. Its primary competition, the Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR offer a lot that buyers find attractive. Here’s what you’ll love and hate about the Kona.
LOVE: The bright, bold of colors it comes in.
The 2018 Hyundai Kona comes in bright, bold colors with fun names like Thunder Gray, Surf Blue, Pulse Red, Lime Twist, and Chalk White. There’s also silver and gray, as well as two-tone variations with separate body and roof colors. Some colors are only available on certain grades.
The car looks the best in the flashier colors. Its aggressive front-end styling wasn’t meant to be hidden by a color blending in with the rest of the silver cars on the road.
LOVE: Its brisk acceleration.
If there’s one thing about driving the Hyundai Kona that surprised me the most, it was that when you put the pedal down in the available turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, it’s immediately apparent that the Kona isn’t just meant to be restricted to city streets. Put the crossover into Sport mode and the acceleration is quite brisk for its class, a marked upgrade in the Kona’s quickness.
LOVE: The seating is comfortable.
Getting the seats in a crossover right is a mix of combination of seat height, positioning, cushioning, and bolstering. I spent about 24 hours in the car over three days, driving all over Hawaii’s Big Island. Not once did I think that I wished I was in one of Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats. The Kona checks all the boxes ensuring that its driver and passengers don’t feel like they’re sitting in chairs.
LOVE: There’s plenty of room for four adults.
Average sized adults will find that the front and back seats offer plenty of head-, hip-, and legroom. The Kona has around three inches more legroom in the second row than the C-HR and about five inches more shoulder room. Hip- and headroom numbers are relatively similar.
LOVE: The Kona is easy to drive.
Whether you’re on the highway, maneuvering down a back street that should really be labeled a tight alley, or exploring in the city, the Kona hits the mark when it comes to drivability. Steering is pointed and the crossover is composed on the road. Simply put, it goes where you want it to go, when you want it to.
DON’T LOVE: Some of the interior materials look cheap.
There’s no doubt that the Kona is a budget-friendly buy. Hyundai predicts that they’ll sell the most models in the well-equipped midgrade SEL trim ($21,150). Hard plastics, if not wholly abundant, are acceptable at this price point. However, my tester was a top tier Kona and certain material choices on the dashboard and doors appear downright cheap, especially in the available two-tone black meets gray color scheme.
The housing for the information touch screen is made of a hard plastic that reminded me of a first-gen Sony Discman rather than the kinder-to-touch materials that make up the area around the screen in Hyundai’s sedans.
The 2018 Hyundai Kona is on sale now and starts at $19,500.