2024 Hyundai Kona Review: Bigger, better, more Electric options


Pros: Great tech; reasonably fun to drive; turbo engine upgrade and electric model; more space with new generation

Cons: No wireless smartphone connection with upgrade system; no federal tax credit for Electric; no more Kona N (for now)

The 2024 Hyundai Kona represents the collective evolution of the subcompact crossover segment. While it shrinks from three models to just two for 2024 (say goodbye to the Kona N), the baby commuter now packs more space, more tech and more diversity of electric powertrains.

While the Kona may be new, it hasn’t lost the key attributes that made us like the first generation so much. It’s still pleasant to drive, even fun if you spring for one of the punchier models. It’s still packed with usable, well-thought-out tech. And it’s still small — albeit a lot less so than previously. Its position at the lower end of Hyundai’s lineup also helps the value proposition stick. Put another way: It’s still a bargain.

The Kona Electric also returns, now with a choice between ultimate range and a smaller, cheaper battery. Unfortunately, the loss of federal tax credits means its price won’t be as competitive as it used to be. But with other cheap EV options taking a break (looking at you, Chevrolet Bolt EUV), the Kona is positioned to make a splash in its second performance.

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it’s like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What’s new for 2024?

The Kona was redesigned for 2024 and now boasts significantly more cargo space along with a roomier rear seat. While both of the standard gasoline engines carried over largely unchanged, the high-output N performance model is discontinued, but don’t count out a return at some point. The Kona Electric also returns late in calendar year 2023, this time with two BEV powertrains to choose from, but the tire-burning torque of the last-gen electric model has been dialed back.

The new Kona also gets an overhauled interior featuring a host of new tech to go with its new skin. The new 12.3-inch infotainment system supports over-the-air updates and comes with USB-C ports front and rear. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support is finally coming to navigation-equipped models, though it’ll come as an over-the-air update later in 2024.  

(Kona Limited interior (light gray); Kona N-Line interior (black with red accents); Kona Electric interior (gray with yellow accents)

What are the Kona interior and in-car technology like?

For the money — and for this humble segment — the Kona interior is quite decent. The 2024 redesign brightens things up a bit in the front cabin, especially on the Limited and N-Line. Those trims get a column-mounted gear selector, freeing up space between the seats. Hyundai also borrowed the Palisade’s multi-function center console with cupholders that collapse out of the way to make room for storing larger items. 

Kona has always been equipped with decent tech and infotainment; the new model is no exception. SE and SEL get a 12.3-inch center screen alongside a smaller 4.2-inch color cluster. This combo gets you wireless smartphone integration standard (Apple or Android). The Limited and N-Line get a navigation-equipped system with Bose audio and wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but as is the case with Hyundai’s other current offerings, the high-end infotainment lacks wireless capability. For now. Hyundai is on track to offer an over-the-air update (another new feature) to add it to navigation-equipped models by the end of 2024.

The Kona offers USB-C charging front and rear, and can be equipped with a wireless device charger for phones or (very) small tablets.

How big is the Kona?

The Kona is a subcompact SUV. Put another way: It’s small. If you’re planning on using the back seat and cargo area a lot, take note. That said, it got significantly bigger and more functional for 2024. The previous model trailed virtually every competitor in headroom, legroom and cargo space, but the overhaul’s three additional inches of front headroom and rear legroom brings the Kona in line with the Honda HR-V, Toyota Corolla Cross and Kia Seltos. It back seat is now solidly competitive with the heart of the subcompact class.

The same can now be said of cargo space. The Kona’s redesign also brought a significant 6.3 more cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear bench (our cargo test showed the previous version to be one of the smallest in the subcompact segment), for a total of 25.5 cubes with the seats up. That’s better than the HR-V (24.4), Crosstrek (20.8) and Buick Envista (20.9), but trails the Corolla Cross (26.5), Seltos (26.6) and Volkswagen Taos (24.9 or 27.9).  With that extra cargo space comes a taller, wider opening with a lower lift height.

What are the Kona fuel economy and electric range specs?

This Kona makes this usually brief section a bit complicated. Including the Electric model, it is offered in six different powertrain combinations, with everything from frugality to a bit of performance mixed in.

The base engine (SE, SEL models) is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a continuously variable transmission and can be had in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. The front-drive SE is rated at 28 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. With AWD, those drop to 26/29/27, respectively. The SEL is inconsequentially less efficient.

Meanwhile, the N Line and Limited trims get a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 190 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This motor is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and again can be had in both FWD and AWD layouts. FWD models are rated at 26 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined; AWD models return 24/26/29.

And then there’s the Kona Electric. Again, it’s offered with two drivelines, but neither can be had with AWD, simplifying the math a bit. The Electric SE has a 133-horsepower motor mated to a 48.6 kWh battery with 197 miles of range. The Electric SEL and Limited get a larger, 201-horsepower motor paired to a 64.8 kWh battery, which Hyundai says is good for 260 miles. The smaller battery needs roughly 5 hours to charge on a level II home setup, while the larger will take about 6:15. Both batteries can be charged from 10-80% on a DC fast charger in 43 minutes.

What’s the Kona like to drive?

Considering all those powertrain choices up there, the answer is “it really depends.” Front-wheel-drive models are fitted with a torsion beam suspension; AWD models get an independent multilink out back. If you want the better Kona to drive, you’ll want all-wheel drive. In general, though, every Kona impresses with a surprisingly fun driving experience highlighted by tidy body control and well-calibrated steering. It’s not quite as firmly sprung or as responsive as the first-gen Kona was, but considering its 200-pound weight gain and lack of corresponding power increase, we’re not surprised the Kona’s a little less playful than it used to be.

We’ve not yet been able to try out Hyundai’s continuously variable transmission (IVT in Hyundai parlance) on the standard 2.0-liter engine, but the new eight-speed (that replaced the old Kona’s DCT) paired to the turbo engine is more than adequate to the task. We’d like to see a bit less hesitation to downshift in around-town driving, as the Kona’s 1.6 can drone a bit with low load, but when you ask it for power (either via one of the paddle shifters or with a shove of your right foot), it’s there.

Hyundai’s mission to civilize the Kona clearly paid dividends. While it’s not whisper-quiet, the cabin is more serene than the outgoing model’s. This really shines through in the Kona Electric, which we’ve only briefly sampled so far. Without a gasoline engine to mask outside noise, it would be the most vulnerable to intrusive sound.

That brief sampling was also only the 201-horsepower version of the Kona Electric, and despite losing a whopping 103 pound-feet of torque to its new calibration, it still feels more than punchy enough to do the job. While the tire-roast torque of the last-gen Kona Electric may have been good for a grin, it didn’t add much else to the experience.

What other Hyundai Kona reviews can I read?

2024 Hyundai Kona First Drive Review

Our first and most complete review of what it’s like to drive the new Kona, plus details about its design, engineering and all that’s new. 

 

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric Preview Drive

We didn’t get as much time behind the wheel of the new Electric, but here you’ll find our initial impressions plus all of the details about its new electric motor and battery lineup. 

What is the 2024 Kona price?

Pricing for the 2024 Kona SE starts at $25,435. For that, you get front-wheel drive, the 147-horsepower 2.0-liter engine and the standard 12.3-inch infotainment unit with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The SEL ups the interior materials (leather on the shift knob and wheel, for example) and adds second-row climate controls. It can also be equipped with a $2,200 Convenience Package that also adds a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and wireless charging.

The N-Line and Limited come with the turbo 1.6-liter engine and the 12.3-inch digital cluster replaces the 4.2-inch unit from the SE and SEL. The N-Line gets you a sporty look, including flashy wheels and a gnarly spoiler, but no actual performance upgrades. The Limited model focuses more on creature comforts and a toned-down, more elegant looking exterior.

No matter what trim you choose, AWD works out to a $1,500 option. You can find a full rundown of added features for the other trims here on Autoblog

  • SE: $25,435
  • SEL: $26,785
  • N Line: $31,985 (pictured in red below)
  • Limited: $32,985 (pictured in green below)

For the most part, the Kona Electric should follow the standard Kona. Full equipment and pricing information are expected closer to its launch late in 2023.

What are the Kona safety ratings and driver assistance features?

Every Kona comes standard with forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and a driver inattention warning system. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability is standard on the Limited. These systems are some of the best-executed on the market.

The 2024 Kona is too new to have been crash tested by either the government or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The outgoing model was highly rated by IIHS, earning “Good” scores in all of its crash tests.

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