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A Foot in Both Worlds: The 2024 Hyundai Kona


2024 Hyundai Kona Limited front 3/4 view

Automotive design goes through phases, influenced by a great many things. The first cars were heavily influenced by what came before---horse-drawn carriages.


The second-generation Hyundai Kona's design is influenced by what automakers hope is coming next---the mass-market EV. Drawn with an obvious family resemblance to the Hyundai IONIQ 5, the Kona will do double duty, as did the first-gen. Most of the units sold will be gasoline-powered, putting the Kona up against the smallest crossovers from the competition---the Nissan Kicks, Mazda CX-30 and Buick Encore GX.


2024 Huyndai Kona rear 3/4 view

But there is also a Kona Electric, which looks just like this but is powered by an electric motor.


Dimensionally, the Kona is one inch longer, two inches wider and two inches less tall than the Chevrolet Bolt EUV---the car GM killed along with its even smaller sibling the Bolt EV---and then hastily announced it would resurrect on its Ultium EV platform as a 2025 model. It's this size and price class that's likely to speed adoption of EVs on a mass scale. Six-figure pickup trucks and $75,000 crossovers won't be where the heart of the market is. That puts the new Kona in a position where it has to deliver no matter which powerplant is under the hood.



2024 Hyundai Kona hood up


2024 Hyundai Kona engine

Internal combustion Konas are powered by inline four-cylinder engines. The SE and SEL model get a 2.0-liter with 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The Limited (our tester) and N-Line models get a 1.6-liter turbo four with 190 horsepower (up 15 from the previous generation) and 195 lb-ft of torque.


SE and SEL get a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Limited and N-Line have an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters and a shift-by-wire gear selector.


With the base engine, 0-60 runs will require patience---a bit above nine seconds. The turbo cuts that to 7.3. EPA fuel economy estimates for the two cars are a combined 31 city/highway for the SE and SEL FWD and 27 for AWD models. In the Limited and N-Line, those numbers are 28 and 26, respectively.



2024 Hyundai Kona Limited rear liftgate open


2024 Hyundai Kona Limited rear seat


2024 Hyundai Kona Limited front seats


2024 Hyundai Kona Limited front seat detail


2024 Hyundai Kona Limited instrument panel

A clear indicator that Hyundai was thinking electric as much as ICE in designing the new Kona is the instrument panel---inspired by the one in the IONIQ 5.


The base price of the Hyundai Kona Limited AWD is $34,485 including destination. Big price tag for a little car, but it is the top of the line. A front-wheel-drive SE starts almost nine grand lower---at $25,585.


And as is typical with Hyundai, your money gets you a lot in terms of feature content, including a comprehensive active safety suite, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights, automatic headlights with high-beam assist, a power sunroof, roof side rails, a surround view monitor, remote parking assist, dual automatic temperature control with rear air vents, LED interior lighting, proximity key with pushbutton star, a power driver's seat with lumbar support, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, ambient lighting, hands-free smart liftgate, front and rear USB ports, a 12.3-inch center touchcscreen with navigation, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Hyundai's "Sounds of Nature", and a 90-day subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio, all playing through a Bose premium audio system. There's also wireless phone charging and a wi-fi hotspot.



2024 Hyundai Kona Limited steering wheel and instrument display


2024 Hyundai Kona Limited center console


2024 Hyundai Kona Limited center stack

The only extra-cost option on our test car was carpeted floormats ($210), so the bottom line on the window sticker reads $34,965.



2024 Hyundai Kona Limited front view


2024 Hyundai Kona Limited side view


2024 Huyndai Kona Limited rear view

Thirty-five dollars in change back from your $35,000 bill might seem like a lot, but it's right in the ballpark with the as-tested prices of the Buick Encore GX and Mazda CX-30---and it's hard to deny that there's value and style wrapped up in the Kona package.

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