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Hyundai Kona a bit tamer, but keeps the toughness
It's still stout and efficient, too
Published Thursday, November 21, 2019 3:35 pm
by Winfred Cross | For The Charlotte Post

Hyundai’s naturally aspirated Kona gives up horsepower, but keeps the efficiency and good looks.

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On my second go ‘round with Hyundai’s Kona I’m finding I’m still in love with the cute sport Ute.

This me I got one of the naturally aspirated vehicles. You give up 30 horsepower – which is a lot – but the car’s goodness will make you forget. Well, almost.

My test car had the 2.0-liter, 145 horsepower engine that makes 131 pounds feet of torque. That fits in with the competition, but it’s no match for the 1.6-liter in the upper models.

That’s not a deal breaker. This engine is stout enough to move the Kona with authority. The six-speed transmission lets the car use its power efficiently and without drama. It shifts crisply and doesn’t hunt for the proper gear. There is enough passing power, so you don’t get the wrong kind of white-knuckle driving.

The SEL doesn’t get the multi-link suspension, so it’s not as agile as the Ultimate. That’s not to say this doesn’t drive well – it does. It just doesn’t have that snap of the turbo. To its credit, this Kona will hold its on with all the competition.

I still like the Kona’s looks. It is an aggressive looking vehicle with Hyundai’s corporate wide-mouth grille and blackened fenders. The separated headlamps add to the mean look. The rest of the body looks much like other crossovers in its class.

I’m not crazy about orange, but the sun fire paint job fits the character of the sorts Ute. Young folk will like it and that’s who this car is targeting. That means older buyers will like it as well but the car is also affordable.

You can take the Kona for some offloading as long as you remember this is more of a crossover than an SUV. This model was a front wheel drive.
The ride quality is good over most surfaces but degrades if you hit some very rough patches. The noise levels are noticeable but not intolerable. It’s mostly from the road with just a bit of wind noise around the roof.

That’s one of the Kona’s few faults. The interior isn’t a fault, but the company could have used better materials. It’s not that the stuff used is bad, it’s that the rest of the vehicle feels more upscale.

The SEL version has a great deal of standard equipment.  Rear cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist, blind spot detection, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, heated seats and a good sound system are all part of the deal. Oh, yeah, there is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The SEL starts at $22,995. There were no options.

You can’t beat the value of this Hyundai. This company knows what the public wants and delivers every time.


• Great value

• Well designed

• Ahead of competition


• Missed the turbo

Email Winfred Cross at: Cross@alldaytech.


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