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2018 Hyundai Kona

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Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

Select a Trim
Select a Trim
2018 SE 4dr Front-Wheel Drive
most popular
Price:   -  From $19,500
2018 SE 4dr All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $20,800
2018 SEL 4dr Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $21,150
2018 SEL 4dr All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $22,450
2018 Limited 4dr Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $24,700
2018 Limited 4dr All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $26,000
2018 Ultimate 4dr Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $27,400
2018 Ultimate 4dr All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $28,700


The new 2018 Hyundai Kona offers seating for up to five people, is available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and with four trim levels. Starting at $20,385 (which includes an $885 destination charge), the Kona returns solid fuel economy and is a good buy for those looking for an entry-level subcompact crossover to combat the urban jungle.

What's New for 2018

This is the Hyundai Kona's first year on sale.

Hyundai Kona

Choosing Your Hyundai Kona

The 2018 Hyundai Kona falls below the Tucson in Hyundai’s line-up of crossovers. The Kona comes standard with front-wheel drive but can be upgraded with all-wheel drive in each trim for an additional $1,300.

There are two engine options for the Kona. The SE and SEL are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Limited and Ultimate trims receive a peppy 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that belts out 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, working alongside a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 2.0-liter engine is 27 miles per gallon city and 33 mpg highway in front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive reduces fuel economy to 25 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The upgraded 1.6-liter turbocharged engine returns 28/32 mpg in front-wheel drive, and 26/29 with all-wheel drive.

Hyundai Kona


The 2018 Hyundai Kona range starts with the SE, which begins at $20,385. Consumers can choose from front- or all-wheel drive, although there's no choice on the 2.0-liter engine.

The SE rides on 16-inch wheels and comes rather well-equipped for an entry-level subcompact crossover. Some of the key components include a rearview camera, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, LED headlights, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, keyless entry, and a six-speaker stereo system. A center console storage compartment, 12-volt power outlets, and a 3.5-inch instrument-cluster display are also standard on the SE.

As is typical with Hyundai, there are no option packages for the SE trim.

Hyundai Kona


The SEL is the second trim for the Hyundai Kona and has a starting price of $22,035. The SEL is upgraded to 17-inch alloy wheels, has heated front seats, a proximity key with push-button start, heated exterior side mirrors with turn-signal indicators, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The 2018 Hyundai Kona SEL is also available in six exterior colors. Weirdly, this is also the only Kona trim available with a contrasting roof – grab the SEL in Silver, Red, or Blue, and there's an option to add a black roof for an extra $150.

Additional safety systems include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, although you'll need to jump to a higher trim level if you want more advanced active safety gear. Or you could just grab the $1,500 Technology Package. In addition to its power sunroof, eight-way power driver's seat, and fog lights, it adds forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and driver attention warning.

Hyundai Kona


The Limited trim starts at $25,585 and features the 1.6-liter, turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with seven-speed automatic transmission.

The Kona Limited rolls on 18-inch wheels, includes LED taillights and headlights, front fog lights, a chrome grill, dark gray body cladding, leather seating surfaces, an automatic temperature control system, and the eight-way power driver seat.

The Limited has seven color options, including a bright lime color, which is paired with black interior with subtle lime accents. There are no packages available with the Limited.

Hyundai Kona


The final trim for the 2018 Hyundai Kona is the Ultimate which starts at $28,285. It adds a heads-up display, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, a park distance warning system, rain-sensing wipers, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, a 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster, a wireless device charging system, plus the safety options available with the SEL Technology Package. In fact, this is the only trim aside from the optioned-up SEL to get active safety gear.

The Ultimate also features the Blue Link connectivity service from Hyundai with a three-year subscription.

Once again, there are no optional extras.

CarsDirect Tip

When it comes to the best buy, consumers should lean towards the SEL. Between the available contrast roofs – they improve the look of the funky and fun Kona immeasurably – and the affordable access to the active safety gear, this affordable entry will suit most consumers.

Get your price on a Hyundai Kona »

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Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

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Contributing Writer

The 2018 Hyundai Kona, all new this year, is the brand's first foray into the small crossover class. The Kona offers a strong value proposition, comfortable ride, and a durable and practical interior, but it suffers from a fussy exterior design and a wonky dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the availability of advanced safety features is a mixed bag.

Best Value

Pricing for the 2018 Hyundai Kona starts at $20,480 (including destination) for a front-wheel-drive SE and rises to $29,680 for an Ultimate model with all-wheel drive. SEL and Limited trims fill the gap between the two. A pair of engine/transmission combinations are offered: SE and SEL models receive a normally-aspirated, 147-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, while Limited and Ultimate versions are equipped with a 175-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Front-wheel-drive models feature a torsion beam rear suspension, which is swapped out for a multi-link setup in all-wheel-drive versions.

Hyundai's value proposition shows up on even the lowest trim and includes the usual power features plus 16-inch alloy wheels, LED projector headlights and daytime running lights, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a cargo cover.

We'd choose a model similar to our SEL tester. Picking this trim over the base model adds larger 17-inch wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, a proximity key with push button start, satellite radio, heated outside mirrors with turn signals, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. At the same time, we'd opt for all-wheel drive ($1,300), as it comes with a smoother and more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension, and add the $1,500 Tech Package with great features like a sunroof (eliminating the claustrophobic feeling we experienced due to the lack thereof on our tester) and a sprinkling of active safety items. Here's how we'd build it:

  • Model: 2018 Hyundai Kona SEL
  • Engine: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder
  • Output: 147 hp / 132 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG:25 City / 30 Hwy
  • Options: Tech Package ($1,500, sunroof, eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar, fog lights, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, driver attention warning)
  • Base Price:$23,430 (including a $980 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$24,930


Hyundai Kona

The 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found on models – like the Limited tester we were able to drive for a couple of hours – features quick off-the-line performance, with maximum torque available at a low and useful 1,500 rpm. Most of our time, however, was spent in an all-wheel-drive SEL equipped with Hyundai's naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine. It managed to do an adequate, though far from thrilling, job of moving the Kona's 3,250 pounds.

Although hardly a back roads corner-carver, the Kona's suspension – calibrated for ride quality over handling – does a nice job of absorbing both major and minor road imperfections, while cornering induces body lean that's typical for a vehicle of this height and class. The steering is nicely weighted, the brakes are easy to modulate, and there's a nice initial bite to the brake pads.

Fuel economy is also decent for both engines, with an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway, and 30 combined for the 2.0-liter engine with front-wheel drive, and 25/30/27 mpg (city/highway/combined) for all-wheel-drive models. We observed a vehicle-measured 28.8 miles per gallon in our SEL tester in a mix of city and highway driving. The 1.6-liter turbo scores an EPA-estimated 28/32/30 mpg with FWD and 26/29/27 mpg with AWD.

At the same time, like most small crossovers, a paltry 6.7 inches of ground clearance won't inspire off-roaders – not that the AWD system is up to the task. The gas mileage in the more fuel efficient turbo also isn't markedly better than the base engine. In addition, peak torque in the normally-aspirated 2.0-liter engine isn't realized until 4,500 rpm, which can make it feel sluggish off the line and passing at freeway speeds, while road noise – a hallmark of many vehicles in this class – is readily apparent, especially over rough and uneven road surfaces. Finally, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission gets a bit wonky when shifting at low speeds and during acceleration, spoiling what should otherwise be the engine of choice.


The Kona looks best when finished in either black or gray, as both colors tend to hide the overzealous application of body cladding. Up front, the designers have borrowed styling cues from the latest Jeep Cherokee pre face-lift, which isn't necessarily a good thing. Here, the narrow band of LED daytime running lights rest atop the fenders, while the headlights sit below, set deeply into – and surrounded by – cladding. Both sets of lights bracket an innocuous trapezoidal-shaped grille.

The black plastic cladding continues along the sides, bulking up around the wheel arches and tricking your eyes into thinking the Kona rides higher than it actually does. It all ends in a flourish, in pods that surround the backup lights and rear reflectors just behind the rear wheel wells in the design's most egregious affront.

Fortunately, it's wrapped around a more conventional interior with high-quality materials, plastics with a slick-looking matte finish, various amounts of sound deadening (depending on trim level), and a logical layout of buttons and knobs. The cloth seats that appoint most trims are comfortable, and the 19.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats (expanding to 45.8 cubic feet when they're folded) is average for the class and helped by a low loading floor and wide rear hatch opening.

At the same time, the interior doesn't punch above its weight class even in top trims, while lower trims – sans a sunroof – feel dark and downright cave-like. Further, while the Kona can accommodate five adults, we wouldn't recommend it for long drives. Rear head room is sufficient, but leg room can be tight for those above average height.

The Best and Worst Things

A comfortable ride and a pleasing interior with plenty of standard features are a big draw, but that goodness is hampered by a mishmash of styling cues and a wonky seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Right For? Wrong For?

Hyundai Kona

The Kona's combination of ride comfort, versatility, and feature content could be a big draw for value-conscious singles and families.

Despite great crash test scores, the lack of advanced safety features available across the lineup could prove to be a turn off for safety-focused buyers.

The Bottom Line

A fussy design and wonky seven-speed dual-clutch transmission aside, the 2018 Hyundai Kona meets the requirements of an entry-level crossover nicely. It's well priced, offers good fuel economy, a smooth ride, and enough features to stay competitive, and – most importantly for today's shoppers – it's taller than a car. At the end of the day, the Kona is a middle-of-the-pack offering that hopes to garner a piece of the action with offbeat styling.

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Specs & Features

Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Available
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.0L I-4 / 147 HP / 132 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
27 / 33 / 30 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
2.0L I-4 / 147 HP / 132 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
27 / 33 / 30 Mpg
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Semi-independent Torsion Beam Beam
Spare Tire And Wheel
Compact Steel
Fuel Tank
13.2 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Regular Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
45.8 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
94 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
164.0 "
Exterior Width
70.9 "
Exterior Height
61.0 "
Front Headroom
39.6 "
Rear Headroom
37.8 "
Front Legroom
41.5 "
Rear Legroom
34.6 "
Front Shoulder Room
55.5 "
Rear Shoulder Room
54.5 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
2,890 Lbs.
Wheel Base
102 "
Turning Radius
17.4 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
16.0 " Silver Aluminum
Clearcoat Monotone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote, Convex Spotter Driver
Front Body-colored
Grille Moldings
Black W/chrome Surround
Rear Spoiler
Stainless Steel
Interior Features
Passenger Capacity
Seat Trim
Front Seat Type
Heated Front Seats
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
Front Armrests
Rear Armrests
Rear Seats
60-40 Bench
Radio & Infotainment
Am/fm, Clock, Seek-scan / Clock
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt
Climate Control
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
Day-night / Auto-dimming Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Tinted Windows
Vanity Mirrors
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Not Yet Available
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Blind Spot Sensor
Lane Departure Warning
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Driver Attention Alert
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Security System
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
60 Months / 60,000 Miles
Major Components Months
120 Months / 100,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
Roadside Assistance Months
60 Months / Unlimited Miles
Corrosion Perforation
84 Months / Unlimited Miles
Accessories Months
60 Months / 60,000 Miles

Used 2018 Hyundai Kona for Sale

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