2019 Hyundai Kona

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2019 Hyundai Kona Review

No longer is the Hyundai Tucson the smallest crossover offering from the South Korean brand, with the mantle being taken over by the subcompact Kona - which has taken the market by storm since its 2018 launch. Base models are powered by a 147 horsepower 2.0-liter motor mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, while a 1.6-liter turbocharged motor produces 175 hp in more expensive iterations, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. All models make use of front-wheel drive by default, but all-wheel drive is optionally available, as with other rivals like the Fiat 500X and Buick Encore. Priced between $19,990 and $28,900, there are four available trims and an Iron Man special edition to help you fulfill your superhero crossover fantasies.

Read in this review:

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2019 Hyundai Kona Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2018 Kona?

For its second year on the market, Hyundai has revised the Kona with minor updates, reshuffling a couple of features, making a few things standard where they weren't before, and adding some new features. The contrast roof option on the SEL drops Silver as a color option, while a new shark-fin antenna is standard from the SEL Tech Package up. The sunroof remains standard on the SEL Tech but is now optional on the Ultimate as a standalone item. Inside, a second front USB port has been added in place of the 12-volt socket of last year's models, while the Infinity premium audio system is available on more models, as is Blue Link Connected Car services. The big news for the 2019 Kona is the widespread addition of crucial safety features to all models in the range, with forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning now standard regardless of the Kona you buy. Lastly, Hyundai has added Sunset Orange to the available color palette.

Pros and Cons

  • Potent turbocharged engine offers great performance
  • Agile handling more hatch-like
  • Classy, premium cabin feel
  • Lot's of features and tech for the price
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Tepid performance from the base engine
  • Dual-clutch automatic gearbox is clunky and unrefined
  • Some interior trim pieces below standard
  • Compact rear seat space
  • Less cargo volume than most rivals

What's the Price of the 2019 Hyundai Kona?

With four trims, an optional Tech package midway through the ranks, and the ability to equip all Kona models with all wheel drive, the Kona range has numerous price points that are bound to meet everyone's budget, while undercutting numerous rivals. The Kona SE kicks off the range at $19,990, and while it might only be $10 below the $20,000 mark, it's a mental barrier of affordability and one that will leave buyers of even the base model pleasantly surprised with the level of specification and quality. That price does, however, not include a $1,045 destination charge. From there, the SEL carries a sticker price of $21,800, the Limited carries a sticker price of $25,550 while the Ultimate starts at $27,500. The range-topping Iron Man Edition starts at a base MSRP of $30,550. Upgrading to an independent rear suspension and all-wheel drive on any trim level will cost buyers an additional $1,400.

Best Deals on 2019 Hyundai Kona

2019 Hyundai Kona Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
Iron Manual
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2019 Hyundai Kona Trims and Specs

2019 Kona Exterior

2019 Hyundai Kona Front View Hyundai
2019 Hyundai Kona Rear View Hyundai
2019 Hyundai Kona Three-Quarter Front Left View Hyundai
See All 2019 Hyundai Kona Exterior Photos


  • Length 164.0 in
  • Wheelbase 102.4 in
  • Height 61.0 in
  • Max Width 70.9 in
  • Front Width 62.0 in
  • Rear Width 62.4 in
  • Curb Weight 2,890.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Sonic Silver w/Black Roof +$350
  • Pulse Red w/Black Roof +$350
  • Surf Blue w/Dark Gray Roof +$350
  • Thunder Gray
  • Chalk White
  • Ultra Black Pearl
  • Sonic Silver
  • Pulse Red
  • Surf Blue
  • Sunset Orange
  • Lime Twist
  • Matte Grey w/Iron Man Red Roof

2019 Kona Performance

2019 Hyundai Kona Three-Quarter Front Left View In Motion Hyundai
2019 Hyundai Kona Rear View In Motion Hyundai
2019 Hyundai Kona Engine Hyundai

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0L Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Kona's overall party piece is wonderful driving dynamics that send it straight to the top of the subcompact CUV segment. Those dynamics are led first and foremost by the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and the Kona's light weight, which propels it rapidly from both standstill and whilst on the move, in spite of the dual-clutch gearbox retarding performance. But once you're bored of the acceleration, there's some genuine depth and breadth of ability as far as the Kona is concerned.

Upon initial inspection, the steering is dull and lifeless, and the resistance on the wheel is artificial and rubbery. The weighting is also false, but keep it in sport mode and as you push on there's some genuine load and feedback that starts to work its way through the system. Lean on the steering through corners and you'll find an abundance of grip and composure that begs the Kona to be driven in much the same way you would the Mazda CX-3, like a hot hatch. The suspension offers loads of support and just a touch of body roll through hard corners. But it keeps things glued to the surface and leaves you feeling one with the driving experience. If it had to be criticized, it'd be for the slight bounciness over mid-corner bumps, driven largely by the fact that the Kona weighs just 3,000 pounds on average. This is improved a little in all-wheel drive models that carry a little extra weight and also offer independent rear suspension.

The ride quality when relaxed is just as exemplary, and it's not just the fancy suspension in the all-wheel drive model, but the standard setup too that really impresses with levels of comfort over large and small bumps alike, and the Kona shines brightest in this regard.

Where it could be improved is in the braking department, where the Kona just doesn't quite have the same efficacy as many rivals. The pedal feels good and is easy to modulate, and the Kona is composed under hard braking, but 60-0 mph brake tests have yielded substandard results compared to rivals.

2019 Kona Interior

2019 Hyundai Kona Dashboard Hyundai
2019 Hyundai Kona Infotainment System Hyundai
2019 Hyundai Kona Driver Seat Hyundai
See All 2019 Hyundai Kona Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 41.5 in
  • Front Head Room 39.6 in
  • Rear Leg Room 34.6 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.8 in

2019 Kona Trunk and Cargo Space

2019 Hyundai Kona Trunk Space with Seat Folded Hyundai
2019 Hyundai Kona Trunk Floor Storage Hyundai
2019 Hyundai Kona Floor Storage Opened Hyundai

2019 Kona Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: Is the 2019 Hyundai Kona A Good SUV?

Subcompact crossover SUVs aren't renowned for spacious interiors, and the Kona offers one of the smaller interiors around in the segment. But it caters to demand for high quality on a budget, and Hyundai has equipped the Kona not only with high levels of specification but an abundance of safety and driver assistance features as well. While those aspects may lure buyers interested in the superficial, there's genuine substance beneath the striking looks, with a capable chassis, an endearing drive, high levels of ride comfort, and of course that potent turbocharged engine giving the Kona best in class performance. While it's still early on in its lifespan, and reliability remains to be determined, there's little not to love about this funky crossover from Korea.

What Hyundai Kona Model Should I Buy?

The Kona SEL with tech Package may sound enticing, but it misses out on the turbocharged engine. For that reason, we recommend the Limited trim, as it equips that 175 hp turbocharged 1.6-liter motor, as well as LED exterior lighting, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Additionally, the Limited unlocks the Lime Twist exterior and interior color scheme, and packs all of the features of the SEL Tech package, including a power sunroof, eight-way power driver's seat adjustment, an Infiniti premium sound system, and the Blue Link connected car system. At a shade over $25,000 the Kona Limited is huge value for money.

Check out other Hyundai Kona Styles

2019 Hyundai Kona Comparisons

Honda HR-V Honda
Hyundai Tucson Hyundai
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Hyundai Kona147 hp30/35 mpg$22,140
Honda HR-V 158 hp26/32 mpg$23,800
Hyundai Tucson 187 hp26/33 mpg$26,900

2019 Hyundai Kona vs Honda HR-V

Honda is notorious for packaging high quality, commodious cabins in affordable packages annd the HR-V is no exception. As their smallest crossover, it still packs more storage space than the Kona with a high-quality interior, but that's where it ends, as the Kona manages to best the HR-V in most aspects. The Kona boasts a more intuitive infotainment system, higher levels of specification, and a more engaging drive. With the turbocharged engine equipped, the Kona also provides far better performance than the HR-V, and is only marginally less economical than the Honda. For practicality and space, the Honda is great, but as a complete package, the Kona is hard to beat.

See Honda HR-V Review

2019 Hyundai Kona vs Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson is the Kona's larger brother, and as such it comes with more rear passenger space, a larger trunk, and higher ground clearance. But the Kona, at least in its higher trims, offers comparable spec levels, while the lighter weight of the smaller body ensures the Kona gets better gas mileage. The turbocharged engine also performs far better in the Kona, giving the Kona quicker performance, while it manages to handle better as well. Between the two, it comes down to needs. If you require space and practicality, the more comfortable Tucson is better, but if you don't need the same storage and passenger space but would prefer performance, enjoyment, and high levels of specification for a lower price, the Kona is a great alternative.

See Hyundai Tucson Review
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