In a crowded subcompact crossover segment, the 2019 Hyundai Kona stands out. Its exterior design is perhaps polarizing, but it’s guaranteed to get more attention than its more egg-shaped competitors. It offers two engines, one of which is average, but the other is a turbocharged unit that makes the Kona significantly quicker than the slow norm for this class. Both engines can be had with all-wheel drive, and every Kona is surprisingly fun to drive. Add in a user-friendly, albeit small interior, and the Kona is one of the best subcompact crossover choices.
What’s new for 2019?
Since 2019 is only the Kona’s second model year, there haven’t been many changes. The most significant are more safety features included as standard equipment: automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and a driver inattention monitor. The Ultimate trim level’s automatic emergency braking is also now enhanced with pedestrian detection. There are also some detail changes including two USB ports in the front, which replace a 12-volt outlet.
What’s the Kona’s interior and in-car technology like?
Most interior plastics are unremarkable, even for this segment. Most Kona interiors are also a bit on the drab side, but there are at least some varying textures that help break up the monotony. So too can the standard houndstooth upholstery (turbo models get plain black leather) and the lime green trim and seat piping offered on upper trim levels.
How big is Kona?
The Hyundai Kona is on the small side of the subcompact crossover class, which ranges from fairly tight vehicles such as the Kona and the Mazda CX-3 to particularly spacious vehicles such as the Subaru Crosstrek and Honda HR-V. It’s one of the shortest in overall length, and that’s reflected in particularly tight rear legroom. Your backseat passengers should at least be happier than they’d be in the even more cramped CX-3 or the claustrophobic Toyota C-HR.
What are Kona’s safety features and crash-test ratings?
Safety is a highlight for the Kona. The IIHS gives it its highest award of Top Safety Pick+ as a result of earning the highest rating of “Good” in all crash tests, the highest forward collision prevention rating of “Superior” and having optional headlights rated “Good.” The only weak points in IIHS evaluation include “Poor” rated headlights on base models and child seat LATCH anchors with “Marginal” accessibility.