2019 Hyundai Kona Review
2019 Hyundai Kona Review
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Used Kona for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Senior Reviews EditorMark Takahashi has worked in the automotive industry since 2001. He has written thousands of car-related articles and tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career.
- Optional turbocharged engine provides quick acceleration
- Nimble handling makes it enjoyable to drive
- Lots of features for your money
- Weak base engine
- Gear shifts from the turbocharged engine's transmission are often unrefined
- Interior is trimmed with a lot of hard plastic panels
- Some previously optional advanced safety features are now standard
- A minor shuffling of standard and available features
- Part of the first Kona generation introduced for 2018
Based on its bodywork alone, the 2019 Hyundai Kona can be hard to love. While evaluating styling is subjective, it's fair to say that the Kona tends to draw more criticism than praise. But the old saying about not judging a book by its cover applies here — the Kona is one of the best subcompact crossover SUVs on the market.
When equipped with its optional turbocharged engine, it gets up to speed far quicker than anything else in the class. It's also fun to drive around turns thanks to its sporty handling. On top of that, you get a lot for your money. Even a base Kona comes with a decent set of features, including a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. For 2019, you get even more with the Kona. Many of the advanced safety features that were previously only available on the top trim levels are now standard on every Kona.
Overall, we think the Hyundai Kona is an excellent pick in a class that includes the versatile Honda HR-V, the sporty Mazda CX-3 and the affordably priced Nissan Kicks. Factor in Hyundai's lengthy warranty coverage and the value proposition is undeniable. No matter what you may think of its styling, the Kona deserves a second look.
Notably, we picked the 2019 Kona as one of Edmunds' Best Small SUVs for this year.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.9 / 10
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Hyundai Kona Ultimate (turbo 1.6L inline-4 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2018, the current Kona has received some revisions, including a second USB port and some standard advanced safety features for all trims. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Kona, however.
|Overall||7.9 / 10|
Overall, the Kona is a sporty subcompact SUV with above-average acceleration and handling. However, the turbocharged engine's transmission exhibits some bad behavior at low speed, and braking performance is subpar.
The turbocharged 1.6-liter engine delivers strong acceleration and provides plenty of thrust at city speeds or in freeway passing maneuvers. From a stop, the engine's power is somewhat muted by the dual-clutch automatic transmission's sluggish responses. Still, the Kona zipped from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds in our testing, which absolutely crushes the competition.
The brake pedal is smooth and easy to modulate in typical driving. The Kona is well-behaved under hard braking, too. Unfortunately, our as-tested 60-0 mph braking run was 129 feet, which puts the Kona well behind its competitors.
The steering feels a bit rubbery, with heavy, artificial resistance. But there is some feedback from the tires, and resistance builds in a linear fashion (feeling more natural in Sport mode), which helps the steering feel accurate. It is surprising how heavy the steering is both in Normal and Sport.
Other than a propensity for bounciness when driving over midcorner bumps, the Kona is surprisingly composed through turns. It stays under control and doesn't exhibit excessive body roll. Tire grip is also impressive for the class. Overall, this is one of the Kona's strengths.
There's a distinct delay when accelerating from a stop. And at low speed, the transmission's shifts can be jerky and slow. Once the Kona gets going, upshifts are usually smooth, but downshifts are always a little rough. Sport mode improves the experience but saps fuel economy.
It's not the most comfortable vehicle in its class, but supportive seats, easy-to-use climate control, and above-average noise isolation make the Kona a decent place to spend time. The firm seat cushions and a stiff ride can make bumpy roads or long drives wearing.
The front seats are well-shaped and pretty supportive. There is plenty of adjustability but not a whole lot of lateral bolstering. The perforated leather is stiff, and the cushions are noticeably firm. In back, the seats are flat and broad, but not too upright.
Smaller imperfections are ironed out, and the suspension takes the edge off just about any bump. But the ride quality can feel a bit too rigid and busy at times. Very bumpy roads can make the vehicle feel excessively unsettled.
Noise & vibration6.5
When driving at freeway speeds, voices must be raised considerably due to intrusive road noise and noticeable wind noise around the doors. Overall, noise isn't worse than average for the class, with a cabin that's frequently quieter than those of competitors in city driving.
The climate control struggles a bit to cool the entire cabin when it's sweltering outside, but the rest of the time it's effective at keeping you comfortable. The controls are clearly marked and straightforward to use, making it an easy system to operate.
Though it has a lot of plasticky materials, the Kona's interior gets high marks. The controls are logically arranged, outward visibility is good, and there's a decent amount of room. Taller drivers and passengers will encounter a few issues.
Ease of use9.0
Buttons are grouped logically and clearly labeled, and Hyundai's infotainment interface is easy to use. Some of the touch buttons are small on the screen, but otherwise there's nothing to complain about.
Getting in/getting out8.0
The relatively short doors can be opened wide even in tighter parking spaces. The height of the seat cushions makes the seats easy to slide in and out of. Taller drivers will have to duck a bit when climbing in, and the tight rear kneeroom complicates backseat entry and exit. But that's pretty common for this class of vehicle.
The gauge cluster and the steering wheel are mounted low in the vehicle, making for a slightly awkward angle up toward the driver. The seat's good vertical adjustment means you can sit in an upright SUV position, but that makes the low armrests difficult to use.
There is a suitable amount of space for the driver and front passenger. Rear-seat headroom is decent for the class — more than enough for average adults — but legroom is tight, especially behind a tall driver. Fortunately, there is generous space under the front seats for the rear passengers' feet.
The relatively narrow roof pillars up front make for good forward and side visibility. The rear roof pillars are wide, but adjacent small windows help you see what's over your shoulder. The rearview camera provides a broad and clear picture.
Everything feels robustly built, but only the primary touchpoints such as the steering wheel and shifter have been treated with soft-touch materials. Otherwise, the cabin looks and feels very plasticky. The alternating textures break things up visually a bit, but there's no hiding the dreary hard plastic.
The Kona really only falters in terms of utility when compared directly to class leaders. The trunk is a usable space, and there are a decent number of small-item storage options. But in every metric, there are competitors that offer superior ways to store your stuff.
All four doors get pockets that can hold a water bottle, and the anti-tip cupholders can handle anything short of a large cup. The center console box and glovebox are relatively small. Overall, the Kona is OK with small-item storage but doesn't offer the variety or space of some competitors.
The trunk is easy to use thanks to a wide, flat load floor. But with 19.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats, the Kona is a little less accommodating than some rivals. The seats fold flat to open up 45.8 cubic feet.
Child safety seat accommodation7.0
LATCH points are clearly marked and close to the surface, but they're tucked between firm cushions.
The Kona is a feature-rich vehicle, with lots of standard tech that works well. It also offers a nearly full suite of user-friendly safety features, not to mention a solid optional sound system.
Audio & navigation9.0
The optional Infinity stereo system is excellent for this class, with plenty of bass response and good sound quality. The navigation system is simple to use and gets the job done. It has an easy-to-read display and useful turn-by-turn prompts.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as are two front USB ports. There are two 12-volt outlets for the front seat, and higher trims get a wireless charging pad.
Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are fitted on all but the base trim, and a more extensive suite of features is available. That said, adaptive cruise control is missing, even as an option. The Kona's systems are consistently accurate, avoiding false alarms in our time with the vehicle.
The Kona's built-in voice controls have limited functionality but work well for what they do, responding slowly but accurately. Step-by-step prompts appear on the screen, but the Kona will allow you to skip steps if you know what you want to do.
Which Kona does Edmunds recommend?
We approve of the 2019 Hyundai Kona Limited, namely for its 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. You also get leather upholstery and a few extra features. We also suggest adding all-wheel drive since it comes with an upgraded rear suspension that improves the car's handling and ride quality.
2019 Hyundai Kona models
The 2019 Hyundai Kona is a five-passenger subcompact crossover SUV that is available in four trim levels: SE, SEL, Limited and Ultimate. The SE and SEL models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (147 horsepower, 132 pound-feet of torque) that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Limited and Ultimate trims get a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder (175 hp, 195 lb-ft) that's mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is available as an option for all Konas and comes bundled with a more sophisticated rear suspension design and a lockable center differential. The latter enhances traction at low speed in off-road or snowy conditions.
Hyundai Kona SE
Standard features for the SE trim include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver's seat, and 60/40-split folding rear seats. Tech features include a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a six-speaker audio system. New for 2019, the base Kona also gets forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist and a driver attention monitor.
Hyundai Kona SEL
The SEL trim adds 17-inch wheels, roof rails, heated side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, a split-level cargo area, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, voice recognition, and satellite and HD radio.
An optional SEL Tech package bundles foglights, a sunroof, a power-adjustable driver's seat, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, and Hyundai's Blue Link communications system.
Hyundai Kona Limited
Stepping up to the Limited trim gets you all of the above plus the turbocharged engine, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, upgraded exterior trim, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage door opener.
Hyundai Kona Ultimate
The range-topping Ultimate trim comes loaded up with rear parking sensors, pedestrian detection for the forward collision mitigation system, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, a head-up display, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, and a wireless charging pad.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
KONA AWD SEL Snow VEHICLE
SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Recently purchased a SEL KONA with Base 2.0 L engine and regular automatic transmission and love the Car for getting to work no matter what the road conditions are. I drove this vehicle in deep snow and severe winter ice conditions and felt confident and assured I would arrive on time and have fun doing it.
5 out of 5 stars
Traded in a Santa Fe
SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Down sized from a Santa Fe sport 2.0T, smaller and not as powerful engine but did pick up an extra 10 mpg so far. Was told to expect 30 mpg but 35 mpg so far using eco mode. The sport mode almost feels over powering but fun!
5 out of 5 stars
2019 Hyundai Kona is awesome
SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I traded in a sedan and got this mini SUV. I was looking for a small crossover and this car caught my eye. It feels so big sitting inside and is very comfortable. It has no problem with get up and go. Add in the 10-year powertrain warranty and 5 yr/60,000 bumper-to-bumper and this car is all I need.
4 out of 5 stars
a nice sleeper
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
ive had it for a year awd 1.6 turbo quick small suv I traded in a crostrex for the kona the crostrek is a slug compared to the kona
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Kona models:
- Forward Collision Avoidance
- Warns if a front collision is imminent and applies the brakes if the driver doesn't react in time.
- Driver Attention Warning
- Uses sensors to determine if the driver is becoming fatigued, then triggers an alert with a suggestion to stop for a rest.
- Blind-Spot Collision Warning
- Alerts the driver if another vehicle is lurking in or approaching the blind spot. If the turn signal is activated in that direction, a warning is triggered.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover14.1%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2019 Hyundai Kona
Used 2019 Hyundai Kona Overview
The Used 2019 Hyundai Kona is offered in the following submodels: Kona SUV. Available styles include SEL 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A), SEL 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A), SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), Limited 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Ultimate 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), Ultimate 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), Iron Man 4dr SUV AWD (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), and Iron Man 4dr SUV (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM). Pre-owned Hyundai Kona models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 147 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2019 Hyundai Kona comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2019 Hyundai Kona comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2019 Hyundai Kona?
Price comparisons for Used 2019 Hyundai Kona trim styles:
- The Used 2019 Hyundai Kona SE is priced between $17,291 and$24,999 with odometer readings between 9421 and111905 miles.
- The Used 2019 Hyundai Kona SEL is priced between $22,998 and$25,990 with odometer readings between 2309 and44539 miles.
- The Used 2019 Hyundai Kona Ultimate is priced between $23,590 and$29,998 with odometer readings between 6263 and100946 miles.
- The Used 2019 Hyundai Kona Limited is priced between $24,990 and$29,998 with odometer readings between 11776 and61345 miles.
- The Used 2019 Hyundai Kona Iron Man is priced between $30,499 and$30,499 with odometer readings between 6630 and6630 miles.
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Which used 2019 Hyundai Konas are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2019 Hyundai Kona for sale near. There are currently 81 used and CPO 2019 Konas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $17,291 and mileage as low as 2309 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2019 Hyundai Kona.
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Should I lease or buy a 2019 Hyundai Kona?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.