The Hyundai Kona is playful and inexpensive, making it one of the more appealing subcompact SUVs on the market.

The styling helps it stand out from some of its more ho-hum-looking rivals. Its responsive handling and sharp reflexes make it much more enjoyable to drive than either the Chevrolet Trax or Honda HR-V, two of the Kona’s main competitors.

Its ride, on the other hand, is stiff and uncomfortable. And the cabin is loud, on a par with other tiny SUVs. When the Kona is pushed hard to accelerate, which is pretty often, the engine noise becomes intrusive.


Our tested Kona’s 2.0-liter engine and six-speed automatic transmission delivered adequate power in most situations. But it took a long 11 seconds to go from 0-60 mph. We measured 26 mpg overall in our fuel-economy tests, which is good for an AWD SUV but not a standout in this class.

The front seats were comfortable. An affordable options package adds a power driver’s seat with two-way adjustable lumbar support, a rare perk for this class.

We like the easy-to-use controls and infotainment system, with its large screen and well-labeled buttons. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are standard.

Forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking aren’t offered on the SE and Limited trims. These features are optional on the SEL trim, and they are standard on the top-shelf Ultimate.

See the complete Hyundai Kona road test.

2018 Hyundai Kona Review

HIGHS: Agility, braking, controls
LOWS: Ride, noise, acceleration
POWERTRAIN: 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine; 6-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 26 mpg on regular fuel

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the September 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.