All you need to know about Hyundai Kona 2022
When an SUV delivers as crisp a driving experience as the 2022 Hyundai Kona, it’s hard to get hung up on the usual anti-crossover sentiment. This subcompact crossover is a great package that blends carlike on-road behavior with bold styling, a dose of practicality, and an elevated driving position; we like it so much that we gave it an Editors’ Choice award. Two four-cylinder engines are offered: a 2.0-liter four with pretty poor power output, but plenty of torque on tap, and a more desirable turbocharged 1.6-liter four that delivers more punch in city driving.
The Hyundai Kona comes with a long list of standard features, which only grows as you move through the more expensive trims. The top few of which get downright posh, despite being sized in keeping with the subcompact SUV segment. The Kona is one of the smaller offerings in the subcompact SUV segment, so it gives up cargo and passenger space to some of its larger rivals, but we think the trade-off for Hyundai’s compact package and fun-to-drive nature more than makes up for those shortcomings.
What’s new in 2022?
Hyundai has given the Kona a refreshed exterior and interior for 2022, complete with a new front-end treatment that’s even more dramatic than the 2021 model. New wheel designs, updated exterior lighting elements, a new wide-mouth grille, and faux front and rear skid plates are all new styling features. Inside, the Kona receives a redesigned dashboard and a few new optional goodies, including a new digital gauge display, wireless smartphone charging, and heated rear seats.
The standard 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen has grown to an 8.0-inch diameter for better visibility and greater functionality; furthermore, two versions of the 10.3-inch unit are now available as upgrades: one with navigation and another with navigation plus Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. On top of all these changes, a sporty N Line trim has been added to the lineup with a 195-hp version of the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine; nonetheless, no word yet on the performance-oriented N model is expected soon.
Which one to buy?
If we were to get our hands on some hard-earned cash, we would spring for the nearly loaded Limited model because it offers nearly all of the most sought-after equipment without being too expensive. Standard equipment includes a sunroof, automatic climate control, fog lamps, and leather upholstery. The spunky turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s shared with the N-Line trim is also included with the Limited.
Performance, Engine, and Transmission
The Kona comes with two powertrains: the SE and SEL models come with a 147-hp four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic transmission. This setup could use more caffeine; in our testing, an all-wheel-drive SEL model required 9.2 seconds to reach 60 mph. Limited and N-Line models are powered by the considerably peppier 195-hp turbocharged four-cylinder paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic shifts quickly and smoothly once you’re rolling, but it stumbles at low speed in parking lots, engaging and disengaging first gear hesitantly until you offer more throttle input.
The Kona delivers agile handling and a surprising amount of fun. Its suspension offers quite the opposite, damping out bumps and providing occupants with a cabin that is well isolated from pavement imperfections. The steering is perhaps the Kona’s biggest dynamic downfall: It’s an uncommunicative helm that requires frequent corrections when cruising the highway.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Kona’s EPA ratings are good but only average among its rivals. Despite this, the Kona impressed us during our real-world testing, besting much of its competition. The most efficient version is the base model with front-wheel drive, which is rated for 30 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. The turbocharged model is rated for up to 29 mpg city and 35 mpg highway with front-wheel drive; add all-wheel drive and those numbers are reduced to 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. In our testing, the turbo all-wheel-drive model did deliver 32 mpg in our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test; we also managed 33 mpg with the base four-cylinder.
Interior, Comfort and Cargo
Hyundai’s designers have managed to bring the Kona’s exterior design to its cabin while maintaining comfort and convenience. Quality materials, good ergonomics, and comfortable seats feel grown up and refined but not out of step with the Kona’s funkadelic outward appearance. The steering wheel is wrapped with nicely grained leather with contrast stitching and offers integrated controls for cruise control and audio settings. Those upgrading from a compact hatchback or sedan will find the Kona’s cargo space perfectly suitable; however, buyers downsizing from a larger SUV will most likely feel the pinch. In our testing, Hyundai beat out pipsqueak Mazda CX-3 in terms of how many carry-on suitcases could fit—14 were held by both vehicles.
Maintenance Coverage and Warranty
Hyundai’s 10-year powertrain warranty is one of the most generous policies available, and the Kona receives the same coverage as the rest of the lineup. Hyundai also now offers complimentary scheduled maintenance that bests mainstream rivals such as Toyota.
- The limited warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance covers 3 years or 36,000 miles