2018 Hyundai Kona Drivers’ Notes Review

The 2018 Hyundai Kona is the Korean automaker’s smallest crossover, slotting below both the Tucson and Santa Fe. We’ve driven the Kona a few times now, both in turbocharged and naturally-aspirated forms. You can check out the video review below with Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski. We may come off mixed on the styling, but, from the engine to the infotainment system, everyone on staff seems to have found something they like.

Our test car this week is a top-shelf Kona Ultimate with all-wheel drive. The car we drove was a 2018 model, though things have changed slightly for 2019. The Ultimate comes with LED lighting, keyless entry with push-button start, heated front seats, a heads-up display, wireless charging, an upgraded stereo and more.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder — I found the Kona in the parking lot, hopped in, synced my phone, and headed out in a bit of a daze. I immediately started to relax driving the Kona, though. It was easy to drive and easy to use, if a bit more of an appliance than a thing of fancy. The lane-keep assist worked surprisingly well, and did so without being intrusive.

It wasn’t until I got home and my large son (an absolute unit, that lad) pulled me outside to show him the Kona. He was taken by it, and, eventually, so was I. It looks great in this sort of electric blue, and the exterior accents make it look somewhat sporty (even if Sport mode does little to actually make it feel that way). The rear view is better than the face, though, I’ll admit.

I’m glad I didn’t have to give the little man a ride, though. That rear seat is tiny, and my boy’s big car seat and long legs wouldn’t have been a great fit.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale — I’m quite a fan of the Hyundai Kona. I love its funky aggressive styling, even after it’s been on the market for a while. And I quite like the way it drives, with either engine. A big part of this is that it’s a sprightly little handler. The steering is quick, well-weighted and precise, and the car turns in quickly and confidently.

The Kona is an easy car to use, too. It has Hyundai and Kia’s sensible infotainment system augmented with plenty of handy physical buttons. There are even nice tech upgrades such as a crisp heads-up display. Visibility is excellent, as well. The only downside is that the Kona is a little tight inside, especially compared with Crosstrek and Eclipse Cross. It’s also a somewhat drab interior with just dark gray plastic. Non-turbo models get houndstooth upholstery that adds some flair, and the top model in green gets neat green accents that help brighten things up. Overall, though, the Kona is a stylish fun crossover that’s a great choice in a big segment.