What is the Hyundai Kona?
A subcompact SUV with a reasonable price, the Kona is one of our favorite little runabouts. It offers a lot of features for the money, a city-friendly footprint, and quick acceleration from two optional powertrains. In 2022 the Kona was refreshed with new exterior styling, added power for the optional turbocharged engine, and a new sporty N model. The changes were a big step forward for the Kona, which is why we don't expect much in the way of updates for 2023. Last year's updates to the Kona's styling made it feel a bit sleeker thanks to slimmer headlights and a much-improved front grille. They also made it look a bit less cheap, with less exterior plastic on the wheel arches and the front bumper.
And more than just some updated looks, the Kona got a high-performance trim level called the Kona N. Like Hyundai's other N cars, it gets an upgraded engine, upgraded exhaust, bigger brakes and some aerodynamic bodywork. It's not just a flashy optional package either — it's a true performance upgrade. The Kona N is a joy to drive quickly and, for the price, offers impressive acceleration, steering and handling.
It's not all sunshine and rainbows with the Kona, though. In Edmunds' testing, we've found the base engine to be underpowered. We're not big fans of the interior materials either, especially on lower trim levels where there's a lot of hard plastic. These are small sins, though, and they're easily forgiven in the grand scheme. Though the Kona is one of the best extra-small SUVs around, you might also want to look at the Volkswagen Taos, Chevy Trailblazer, Mazda CX-30 and Buick Encore GX.