4 things to know about the 2018 Hyundai Kona

2019 Hyundai Kona 16.jpg
2018 Hyundai Kona (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

If trends persist, the Small CUV segment is set to grow 16 percent from 2016 through 2024. So, it’s no surprise that automakers are clamoring to get a piece of the action.

Hyundai’s 2018 Kona is one of the newest entries into this segment, and in addition to having quirky good looks, it has an attractive starting price of $20,450. What’s more, if you opt for the top-tier trim -- which comes with goodies such as lane keep assist, forward collision avoidance, navigation, head-up display and leather seats -- you still won’t spend more than $30K.

Available AWD across all trims

Hyundai lists its competitors as the Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-3, Chevrolet Trax, Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, Renegade Sport, Ford Ecosport and Nissan Kicks. And while most of these utility vehicles offer all-wheel drive as an option, Kicks and C-HR do not.

Though AWD isn’t necessarily a make-it-or-break-it feature, Hyundai thinks the breakdown between FWD and AWD will be 50-50, with more people in the South opting for FWD and those in the North selecting AWD.

Even better, if you want AWD, you can get it starting at $21,750. For reference, Crosstrek with standard AWD starts at $22,710.

One size fits most

I loved the driving position of the Kona. From the height adjustment to the seat bottom, it almost felt like Hyundai designed this vehicle for me.

And I’m petite.

So, I was curious about how it would fit someone heavier and taller (a lot taller!) than me. When I surveyed a couple other drivers at the event, they said they liked the driving position as well.

One of the drivers I queried weighed 200 pounds more than I, and the other was almost 2-feet taller. Both had to duck to get into the vehicle, but once settled, they assured me they, too, had a good driving position that would be comfortable for several hours at a time.

One USB Port

I understand that the Kona is a small utility vehicle. And it’s more suited to a single person or young couple rather than a family, but #Its2018. And as mobile devices become more and more prolific, I’m surprised when a manufacturer introduces an all-new vehicle with only a single USB port.

Hyundai did provide us with a two-port USB adaptor, and that’s a good punt. But still.

On the plus side, the top-tier Ultimate trim does offer Qi wireless charging. So, if you have that capability on your phone, you can charge two phones at the same time – one wired-in and one wirelessly.

Kona had a name before a body

Usually a new vehicle being introduced starts with a shape, and then the automaker will form a team to come up with a name that fits the styling. However, in the case of Kona, the name, came first.

According to Mike O’Brien, vice president of product, corporate and digital planning at Hyundai, the idea was to create a vehicle that spoke of spontaneity and urban adventure.

The name affixed to this concept was Kona, and then Hyundai built the product around the name.

The result, the name fit the vehicle from the outset.

The Bottom Line

Hyundai does a great job of balancing value proposition with an aggressive design with this vehicle.

There’s a lot to like about the all-new Kona from the ride and handling to the vibrant color options, and for a more complete look at this small CUV, be sure to check out our first-look review.

Kona is on sale now.