2022 Hyundai Kona

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2022
The Car Connection
2022
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Brian Wong Brian Wong West Coast Editor
May 22, 2022

Buying tip

The Kona’s lower trims emphasize value, while the Limited and N offer features and fun at a much higher price.

features & specs

Limited DCT AWD
Limited DCT FWD
N Line DCT AWD
MPG
27 city / 32 hwy
MPG
29 city / 35 hwy
MPG
27 city / 32 hwy
MSRP
$30,100
MSRP
$28,600
MSRP
$27,350

The addition of the sporty N-Line and N models make the Kona more fun, but the SEL still offers the best value.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Hyundai Kona? What does it compare to?

The Hyundai Kona is a small crossover that offers a wide range of models, from the high-performance Kona N to the value-minded Kona. It competes against other small crossovers like the Kia Seltos, Honda HR-V, and Subaru Crosstrek.

Is the 2022 Hyundai Kona a good SUV?

Review continues below

The Kona earns a TCC Rating of 6.5 out of 10 on the strength of its standard features and technology, value, and safety ratings. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Hyundai Kona?

The Kona got big changes for 2022, with a redesign to the existing variants and the addition of two performance-oriented models, the Kona N-Line and Kona N. There’s also an electric version of the Kona that we review separately

The Kona retains its upright look in the redesign, but the details have changed. The black cladding that runs around the bottom of the SUV has been beefed up and the grille now pinches in just above the front bumper. The sportier N-Line ditches the cladding for body colored panels, and the Kona N adds a double-wing roof spoiler, 19-inch alloy wheels, and larger intakes to feed its hungry turbocharger.

Inside, the look is mostly the same, save for a new housing for the standard 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. There’s a lot of black plastic to be found around the interior, par for the course in this price range.

There are three different gas engines to be found in the Kona. The SE and SEL trims feature a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 147 hp, while the N-Line and Limited share a 1.6-liter turbo-4 that makes 195 hp. Most of the excitement is reserved for the Kona N and its 2.0-liter turbo-4 shares with the Veloster N and Elantra N. It makes 276-hp and 289 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, with all-wheel drive optional on all trims except for the Kona N. Fuel economy tops out at 32 mpg combined with both the 2.0-liter and the 1.6-liter turbo.

Though the Kona’s footprint is small, its shape gives it more head room than expected so taller passengers will find some comfort in both the front and rear seats. The seats in the Kona N are the most supportive, with larger bolsters to keep the driver centered during cornering.

Automatic emergency braking and active lane control come standard. Blind-spot monitors and a safe exit warning system are available. Adaptive cruise control is strangely only standard on Limited models, while the N-Line offers it as part of a package.

How much does the 2022 Hyundai Kona cost?

The Kona’s five trim levels cover a wide band of prices, starting with the SE trim at $22,545 (including a $1,245 destination charge). Next up is the SEL at $24,345, followed by the sporty N-Line at $27,095. The most luxurious Limited model replaces the Ultimate from last year and starts at $29,845, but the line is topped by the high-performance Kona N and its $35,445 price tag. All-wheel drive can be added to every model except the Kona N for an additional $1,500.

Where is the 2022 Hyundai Kona made?

In South Korea.

5

2022 Hyundai Kona

Styling

The Kona’s busy styling and prominent body cladding don’t do it any favors.

Is the Hyundai Kona a good-looking SUV?

In a word, no. The changes to the Kona that come along with its redesign tweak its look, but it’s still too busy on the outside for our tastes and the inside is rather basic in its execution. It sits right at a 5.

Someone needs to let automakers know that adding more plastic to the bottom of a crossover doesn’t make it look more rugged, it just looks awkward. The Kona N-Line and Kona N are much more palatable with their body-colored cladding (as is the Kona Electric). Up front, the grille has been widened and both the front and rear bumpers have faux skid-plate designs on them (but don’t confuse them for the real thing).

Inside, the interior’s look remains mostly the same. The biggest change is found on top where there’s a new housing for the larger infotainment screens (8.0 or 10.3 inches) and more stylish air vents. Apart from that, expect a lot of black plastic.

Review continues below
5

2022 Hyundai Kona

Performance

The Kona’s turbocharged engines provide most of the fun.

The Kona’s powertrains get a shuffle in the redesign with a new transmission tied to the base engine. A pair of turbocharged engines are also available, with both providing a serious and needed influx of power. Handling remains the Kona’s strength, but it’s not good enough to move the Kona up a point. It’s a 5 here once more.

Is the Hyundai Kona 4WD?

FWD is standard across the board, with AWD offered on all trims except for the Kona N.

How fast is the Hyundai Kona?

That entirely depends on which model we’re talking about. The SE and SEL keep the same base engine as last year, a 147-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 that now comes with a continuous variable automatic transmission (CVT) instead of a 6-speed automatic. This powertrain is lackadaisical, and what little power that does get pumped out feels constricted by the CVT. Off-the-line acceleration especially seems to suffer.

The N-Line and Limited feature a 1.6-liter turbo-4 that gets a power bump from 175-hp to 195-hp for 2022. It still mates to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic that feels a bit busy at lower speeds, grabbing at gears like it’s pulling toilet paper off the shelf in a shortage.

For a shorter wheelbase crossover, the Kona rides decently and handles better than you’d expect with added steering heft coming along with the Kona’s Sport mode. AWD models offer a multi-link rear suspension that make the Kona feel more planted.

All of the other models pale in comparison to the Kona N, Hyundai’s third N model alongside the Veloster N and Elantra N. Its 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 276-hp and 289 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an 8-speed wet dual-clutch automatic that fires off rapid shifts. The Kona N also features an electronic limited slip differential and adjustable dampers with three stiffness settings. All of them are too stiff for day-to-day use, but do make the Kona N fun on a backroad or on an autocross course.

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6

2022 Hyundai Kona

Comfort & Quality

The Kona’s upright body shape gives it surprisingly good headroom for front and rear passengers.

The Kona’s interior accommodations aren’t anything special, but its 19.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseat earn it a point to a 6.

The front seat is the better place to be with good bolstering and a nice range of height adjustments. Fitting three adults across the backseat is a challenge due to the narrowness of the Kona, but its shape gives it surprisingly good headroom and sightlines for all passengers except the poor soul in the middle.

With the backseat folded down, cargo room expands to 45.8 cubic feet. Its tall body also features a surprisingly low load floor that makes it easier to get cargo in through the wide hatch.

Interior colors are limited to two choices: gray or black. We prefer the gray to  the drab black interior.

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8

2022 Hyundai Kona

Safety

The Kona’s crash test scores are impressive.

How safe is the Hyundai Kona?

The Kona gets a full five-star rating from the NHTSA and a “Good” score on all of its crash tests from the IIHS. But while last year’s model earned a Top Safety Pick award designation, the 2022 model has not yet as it awaits further testing of its headlights. We give it an 8 for safety.

All Konas come with automatic emergency braking and active lane control. The SEL and above add blind-spot monitors, while adaptive cruise control that works down to a stop is optional on the N-Line and standard on the Limited, which also adds rear parking sensors.

Forward and rear visibility are good, but thick B-pillars make it tricky to see into the blind spots from the driver’s seat.

Review continues below
9

2022 Hyundai Kona

Features

Value is a strength of the Kona, especially in SEL form.

Like most Hyundais, the Kona packs in the features for a good value to go along with complimentary maintenance for 3-years/36,000 miles and a robust 5-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Add in a base 8.0-inch touchscreen and the Kona earns a 9 in this category.

The base SE trim starts at $22,545 and comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, two front USB ports, cloth upholstery, 16-inch wheels, and cruise control. 

Which Hyundai Kona should I buy?

Most buyers should look to the SEL with convenience package. The SEL starts at $24,345 (just under $2,000 more than the SE) and adds some features, but not enough to justify that price increase. The convenience package costs $1,700 more, but it includes heated front seats, automatic climate control, a wireless charging pad, and a hidden storage compartment in the cargo area.

The downside of the SEL is that it comes with the frustrating 4-cylinder and CVT combination, so those who want more performance should look to the Kona N-Line ($27,095) and its more powerful turbo-4. The N-Line features sportier styling, as well as a 10.3-inch gauge cluster display and a power driver’s seat. It’s also the cheapest Kona to offer the larger 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. Buyers should know that upgrading to the larger infotainment screen costs you wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. Yes, it makes no sense. No, Hyundai hasn’t announced if they will add it in the future. Yes, we’re frustrated about it too.

How much is a fully loaded Hyundai Kona?

The Limited model ($29,845) has the most upscale interior with leather upholstery, a power sunroof, and adaptive cruise control standard. But the most expensive model is the $35,445 high-performance Kona N, which has mostly the same equipment as the Limited (sans leather) and is the most fun model by a wide, wide margin.

Review continues below
6

2022 Hyundai Kona

Fuel Economy

FWD Kona models offer the most efficiency.

Is the Hyundai Kona good on gas?

The Kona’s fuel economy ratings earn it a 6 in this category and it is competitive with the rest of this class. 

The SE and SEL with the base engine get the best fuel economy by EPA standards, but not by much. It’s rated at 30 mpg city, 35 highway, 32 combined, dropping to 28/33/30 mpg with AWD. With the turbo-4, those ratings only drop by a hair to 29/35/32 mpg (FWD) and 27/32/29 mpg (AWD). Predictably, the Kona N brings up the rear by a large margin at 20/27/23 mpg.

But for the most efficient Kona, turn to the Kona Electric and its 258 miles of range.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$21,300
MSRP based on SE Automatic FWD
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6.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety 8
Features 9
Fuel Economy 6
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2022 Hyundai Kona Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Kona arriving with limited availability
  • Lease: From $199 per month for 36 months
  • Rebate: No rebate available
  • Finance: From 2.25% APR for 60 months
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