Subcompact SUVs are surging in popularity now. They provide many of the features and practicality of an SUV in a smaller package that’s easy to drive and gets better fuel economy. The 2022 Hyundai Kona is one of the best in the class and should be on your list if you’re considering one of these hot hatchbacks.
Base Price: $30,100
As Tested: N/A at press time
Mileage: 27 mpg city/32 mpg highway/29 mpg combined
Hyundai introduced the Kona for the 2018 model year, billing it as a crossover for “urban adventurers.” The all-electric Kona EV joined the line-up for 2019. Some trims were shuffled and more features added for 2020 and 2021. And for 2022, the Kona gets fully redesigned, including the addition of two performance-oriented trims and more standard features including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The five-passenger Kona comes in five trims: SE, SEL, N-Line, Limited, and N. Starting prices range from $21,150 to $29,950. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available.
The all-electric Kona EV comes in three trims: SEL, Limited and Ultimate. Starting prices range from $37,190 to $45,400. Front-wheel-drive is standard; all-wheel-drive is not available on the Kona EV. Its range is 258 miles.
The SE and SEL trims get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The N Line and Limited trims get a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that generates 195 horses and 195 pound-feet, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The N gets a beefier 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 276 hp and 289 pound-feet, mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
My Limited tester has spirited handling, making it an enjoyable and fun ride which isn’t always the case in this type of vehicle. The Kona has zippy acceleration and stays planted when cornering. Its small size makes it easy to drive in congested traffic conditions and it’s a snap to slide into tight parking spaces. The suspension does a good job of soaking up bumps and rough surfaces.
Fuel economy is excellent for the class, except in the performance-oriented N trim. EPA ratings for my Limited AWD tester are 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with a combined rating of 29 mpg. I got 28 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The SE and SEL trims with front-wheel-drive do better with 30 mpg city/35 mpg highway/32 mpg combined. Fuel efficiency drops with the FWD N trim which gets 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway/23 mpg combined.
The cabin is attractive with a modern design and quality materials including soft-touch materials on many surfaces. Seats are comfortable. Adults have decent leg- and headroom in the front row. The second row is tight for adults but ok for kids as is usually the case in a vehicle of this size.
Standard features include remote keyless entry, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, and rear occupant alert.
Available features include proximity keyless entry, push-button start, leather and suede upholstery, leather-trimmed seats, sport seats, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, infotainment system with 10.25-inch touchscreen, eight-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system, navigation, an additional USB port, and high-beam assist.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane following assist, pedestrian detection, and driver drowsiness monitoring.
Available driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, highway driving assist, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and safe exit warning, a radar system that detects approaching vehicles and locks the vehicle’s doors to prevent passengers from exiting.
The standard infotainment system gets a new eight-inch touchscreen, an upgrade from the seven-inch touchscreen in the 2021 model. The system is user-friendly with logically-arranged menus.
The Kona has less cargo space than many rivals. There are 19.2 cubes with both rows of seating in place and 45.8 cubes with the second row folded. The hatch has a wide opening with a low floor which makes it a breeze to load large and/or bulky items.
Three engine choices plus an all-electric model
Fun to drive
Excellent fuel economy
Many standard and available features and tech
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Tight second row
Less cargo space than rivals
Detailed info was not available at press time. The Limited with AWD starts at $30,100.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona is a well-rounded entry in the hot subcompact SUV category. It’s available with gas- and all-electric power trains, has zippy handling, an attractive interior and user-friendly infotainment system, and comes well equipped with lots of standard and available features and tech. While it doesn’t have as much cargo and passenger space as some rivals, the redesigned 2022 Kona is definitely worth checking out.