Hyundai Kona

Hyundai's designers managed the tough 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 grown up and refined but not out of step with the Kona's funkadelic outward appearance.

The top two trims employ a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Output is 195 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Again, front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard and all-wheel drive (AWD) is on the options list.

The lower three trims have a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The basic setup is that drive goes to the front wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. All-wheel drive is optional.

The 2022 Hyundai Kona comes in SE, SEL, N Line and Limited trim levels. All-wheel drive is available at every trim level. All of these trim levels have the following details:

SE is well equipped with 16-in alloy wheels, hill-start assist, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, driver attention warning, six airbags, power windows/door locks/side mirrors, LED daytime running lights, air conditioning, 60/40 split/fold rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, an 8-in infotainment touchscreen, audio system with 6 speakers, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, dual-level cargo floor and a cargo cover. SEL trim level adds 17-in alloy wheels, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry/ignition, rear privacy glass, heated outboard mirrors with turn signal indicators, and illuminated vanity mirrors. Limited trim level has leather seating surfaces, 18-in alloy wheels, LED headlights, automatic climate control, a power sunroof a 10.25-inch touchscreen, wireless device charging and heated front seats The N Line is the newest trim on the Kona with sport pedals, a 10.25 configurable instrument gauge cluster, and a leather steering wheel.

Editors' Review

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The most fun-to-drive car on sale isn't a droptop sports car or mid-engine supercar. If maniacal laughter and absolute thrills are what you're after, you need a front-wheel-drive crossover with an automatic transmission. Specifically, you need the Hyundai Kona N.

I'm serious. This weird little SUV is one of the best vehicles I've ever driven, taking everything good about the Veloster N and applying it to an overall nicer package. It shares its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine with Hyundai's other N cars, putting out 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. That's an increase of 29 lb-ft, and the Kona's peak torque comes on a little later. Hyundai's eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is the only option for the Kona N, which is fine by me as the Veloster N's standard six-speed manual kinda sucks. The DCT is smooth in operation but fires off quick, satisfying shifts.

Around town, the Kona N is an absolute blast. The noise from its giant dual exhaust tips is a little quieter than the Veloster's, producing fewer pops and bangs on overrun, but the Kona N is antisocial in its sportiest drive modes. You can hear the turbocharger better than in the Veloster, too. Despite technically being an SUV the Kona N isn't offered with all-wheel drive, and honestly that would make the car heavier and worse. With launch control engaged Hyundai says the Kona N will hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, which is completely absurd: That's as quick as a base Porsche Taycan. Even with launch control engaged the Kona N hilariously scrambles for traction, but an electronic limited-slip differential helps distribute torque between the front wheels to maximize grip.

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The Good ~ Fantastic powertrain ~ Exceptionally fun handling ~ Great value and packaging

The Bad ~ No adaptive cruise control ~ Stiff ride ~ Meh fuel economy

The Bottom Line The Hyundai Kona N is one of the most fun cars on sale right now.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 10
  • Features 8
  • Design 8.5
  • Media 9

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