2023 Hyundai Kona Performance

Hyundai Kona Performance Rating

2023 Kona Performance

The Hyundai Kona gives you a choice between two powertrains and they greatly impact the characteristics of the car. The base engine in the Hyundai Kona SE and SEL trims is a 147-hp naturally aspirated 2.0-liter. Mated to a CVT automatic, it makes for a lethargic combination, although it works well enough around town, where the transmission is unobtrusive enough and the power sufficient to get by without too much complaint. Up the speed and it labors on the highway, requiring lots of forethought and a heavy foot on the accelerator to merge, pass, and climb hills. In this guise, the Hyundai Kona's 0-60-mph sprint takes more than nine seconds and its lack of power is the main reason we don't recommend the base trims.

The N Line and Limited come with the 1.6-liter turbocharged 195-hp engine and has more than enough power to ensure brisk overtaking to get out of the way of that 18-wheeler bearing down on you in the oncoming lane. There's plenty of snap in everyday driving and the dual-clutch transmission slips between ratios swiftly and smoothly when tasked to perform, enabling the car to get from 0-60 mph in around seven seconds. It can be a bit jumpy in slow-moving traffic though, where the clutch engagement is sometimes too abrupt - and the transmission often a little hesitant - hindering smooth progress. There is no listed trailering capacity for the Hyundai Kona, as the automaker says it's not recommended that you tow with it. No top speed is listed for any of the Konas, but the turbocharged models will probably be limited to 130 mph, given the all-season tires fitted.

2023 Kona Performance Photos

2023 Hyundai Kona Driving Front Angle Hyundai
2023 Hyundai Kona Driving Front Angle 1 Hyundai
2023 Hyundai Kona Engine Hyundai

Engine and Transmission

The base engine is a naturally aspirated 2.0L four-cylinder that develops 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. It sends its power to either a front- or all-wheel-drive system via a continuously variable automatic transmission. These outputs are low and the engine is only really suitable for about-town driving. Unfortunately, it's the only powertrain choice for the SE, SEL, and SEL Convenience trims, so if you want more power, you must move up to at least the N Line trim. Both the N Line and Limited come with a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder engine with 195 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque and they're also available with either FWD or AWD. It is mated to a far sportier seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to enhance its performance feel, although the dual-clutch is not as smooth as the CVT around town. The AWD system is designed to enhance grip on good roads and given the sub-7-inch ground clearance, the Kona is not meant for going off-road, even in AWD guise.

2023 Hyundai Kona Performance Specs:

Hyundai Kona TrimsHyundai Kona EnginesHyundai Kona HorsepowerHyundai Kona TransmissionsHyundai Kona DrivetrainsHyundai Kona MPG/MPGE
SE2.0L Inline-4 Gas147 hp @ 6200 rpmContinuously Variable Automatic (CVT)AWD
30 MPG
32 MPG
SEL2.0L Inline-4 Gas147 hp @ 6200 rpmContinuously Variable Automatic (CVT)AWD
30 MPG
32 MPG
N Line1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas195 hp @ 6000 rpm7-Speed AutomaticAWD
29 MPG
32 MPG
Limited1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas195 hp @ 6000 rpm7-Speed AutomaticAWD
29 MPG
32 MPG

2023 Kona Gas Mileage

Despite its lack of power and its economy-minded CVT, the base engine hardly beats the turbocharged 1.6-liter in everyday driving conditions and this is also what the EPA has found in its testing. The naturally aspirated 2.0-liter achieves EPA estimates of 30/35/32 mpg in FWD guise for the city/highway/combined cycles and 28/33/30 mpg with AWD. The FWD 1.6-liter turbocharged engine runs it extremely close with figures of 29/35/32 mpg for the FWD and 27/32/29 mpg for the AWD model. All Konas have a fuel capacity of 13.2 gallons, providing a range of between 383 miles (AWD turbo) and 422 miles (all FWD models) on a full tank. Both engines are rated to run on regular gas.

2023 Hyundai Kona Fuel Capacity

Hyundai Kona TrimsSESELN LineLimited
Hyundai Kona Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)28/3328/3327/3227/32


Which Hyundai Kona trim is the most efficient?

In terms of the highway and combined EPA consumption figures, both the FWD 2.0 naturally aspirated and 1.6 turbocharged Konas achieve the same 35 and 32 mpg, respectively. However, the 2.0 is slightly lighter on fuel in town, its 30 mpg beating the 1.6 turbo by 1 mpg.

Does the Hyundai Kona require premium gas?

Both Kona engines are rated to run on regular gas.

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