Thursday, April 25, 2024
Should-you-buyShould You Buy a 2024 Hyundai Kona?

Should You Buy a 2024 Hyundai Kona?


  • The 2024 Hyundai Kona starts at $25,625 in the United States and at $27,924 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included.

  • Great user-friendliness, lots of cargo space, good list of standard and available features.

  • Slightly worse fuel economy than before, irritating lane keep assist, serious price hike (yet still affordable).


As utility vehicles are getting pricier year after year, many shoppers might consider downsizing from a compact crossover to a subcompact model—more so if the kids have moved away or now have their own cars. Luckily for these consumers, the redesigned 2024 Hyundai Kona is more spacious and more practical than before.

2024 Hyundai Kona N Line

The new Kona’s wheelbase increased from 102.4 to 104.7 inches (2,600 to 2,600 millimetres) while overall length and width have increased, resulting in more interior volume. Compared to the outgoing generation, there are notable gains in rear-seat legroom and hip room, although shoulder room decreases a little. Cargo space is also up from 19.2 to 25.5 cubic feet (544 to 723 litres) with the rear seats in place, and from 45.8 to 63.7 cubic feet (1,296 to 1,803 litres) with the seatbacks folded. That’s a significant increase on paper, not so much in reality, but still, the redesigned Kona is now fit to haul a small family and its gear, which was arguably not the case before.

Things are quite familiar under the hood. The 2024 Hyundai Kona is equipped as standard with a naturally aspirated 2.0L inline-four that develops 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, managed by a continuously variable automatic transmission and the choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drivetrains. The sporty N Line variant gets a turbocharged 1.6L four, good for 190 horsepower as well as 195 pound-feet between 1,700 and 4,500 rpm. So five fewer ponies, while the old seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is replaced with a conventional eight-speed auto—with a manual mode and wheel-mounted paddle shifters, of course. The high-performance, 286-horsepower Kona N is gone.

There’s also the 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric, which we covered in a separate review.

Curiously, only the base SE trim in the U.S. and the Essential trim in Canada get automatic stop/start. Here’s a breakdown of the fuel economy ratings:

City/Highway/CombinedSE / EssentialSEL, SEL Convenience / Preferred, Preferred TrendN Line, Limited / N Line, N Line Ultimate
2.0L I4 FWD (MPG)29/34/3128/35/31
2.0L I4 FWD (L/100 km)8.1/6.8/7.58.4/6.7/7.6
2.0L I4 AWD (MPG)27/29/2826/29/27
2.0L I4 AWD (L/100 km)8.8/8.1/8.59.0/8.1/8.6
Turbo 1.6L I4 FWD (MPG)26/32/28
Turbo 1.6L I4 AWD (MPG)24/29/26
Turbo 1.6L I4 AWD (L/100 km)9.7/8.3/9.1

 

The Kona’s interior was heavily revised as well, boasting a sophisticated new design in line with the brand’s other recently introduced products such as the Hyundai IONIQ 5 crossover and the Hyundai IONIQ 6 sedan. The center console shift lever has been replaced by a steering column-mounted stalk, which is much less intuitive to use, but at least this clears up space on the console for pretty big storage bins. Uplevel trims get a dual panel setup with a 12.3-inch digital driving instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment system touchscreen, while hard buttons are still found on the centre stack for easy operation of the climate control system.

In the United States, 2024 Hyundai Kona pricing starts at $25,625, freight and delivery charges included, while the N Line retails from $32,175 and the range-topping Limited runs $34,695. In Canada, the Kona starts at $27,924 and reaches $40,424 in the case of the N Line variant with the Ultimate Package.

Competition includes the Buick Encore GX, the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the Dodge Hornet, the Ford Bronco Sport, the Honda HR-V, the Kia Seltos, the Mazda CX-30, the Mitsubishi RVR, the Subaru Crosstrek, the Toyota Corolla Cross and the Volkswagen Taos. We could also consider urban crossovers such as the Buick Envista, Chevrolet Trax, Kia Soul and Nissan Kicks, but this quartet isn’t available with all-wheel drive.


Why You Should Buy a 2024 Hyundai Kona

  • As mentioned above, the Kona is much more accommodating than before, catching up and even surpassing many rivals regarding rear-seat space and cargo volume.
  • For those who can afford it, the Kona N Line and its turbo engine offers good performance and decent handling without sacrificing ride comfort. The new eight-speed transmission seems better suited to exploit the 1.6L engine’s power band than the seven-speed DCT it replaces. Overall, the Kona isn’t as engaging as the Mazda CX-30, but doesn’t lack character like the Honda HR-V, for example.

  • The Kona’s infotainment system is very easy to use, with clear on-screen menus, although its processing speed could be quicker. There are also a few redundant buttons on the center stack to rapidly access the system’s main features. And as we mentioned before, physical climate controls are always better than on-screen button zones while driving.
  • As with the previous generation, the 2024 Hyundai Kona is easy to drive, with good all-around visibility and a narrow turning radius, perfect for slithering through the shopping mall parking lot. We can also mention appreciable little details such as three-position reclining rear seatbacks, and hood struts instead of a flimsy prop rod.


Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2024 Hyundai Kona

  • Despite being more aerodynamic than before with its new alien-like bodywork, and with a marginal curb weight increase, the 2024 Kona’s fuel economy ratings are worse than the 2023 model’s. It trails the Corolla Cross, the Crosstrek, the CX-30 and the Seltos in combined city/highway driving. During our winter test of the N Line variant, we managed an average of 26 mpg or 9.1 L/100 km, exactly as promised.
  • Heated front seats are only available from the SEL with Convenience Package in the U.S. market, which is a shame for those living in the Northern part of the country, while the Canadian market gets the bun warmers as standard. In the flipside, only the top-shelf N Line with the Ultimate Package can be equipped with a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a feature the U.S. market gets as standard on the SEL and up. Too bad.

  • While still affordable, the Kona isn’t the bargain it used to be. Its base price increased by more than $2,000 in the U.S. and by more than $3,000 in Canada. Yet it remains on the low end of the subcompact crossover price spectrum, so at least there’s that.
  • As always, Hyundai’s lane keep assist system is too sensitive, constantly stepping in the correct our trajectory even through we’re driving within the lines. At some point, it gets so intrusive that we end up deactivating it, which defeats its intended purpose in the first place.


Final Word

It was already a strong product despite its age, but the new-generation 2024 Hyundai Kona boasts improvements in very important areas, such as interior space. It still drives well, isn’t too bad on fuel and remains attainable even after a notable price increase. We like the Canadian Preferred with Trend Package and U.S. SEL with Convenience Package variants for their overall value, while the N Line is a sporty take on the small crossover that we could definitely live with as a great daily driver.

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