The 2018 Hyundai Kona is a small compact utility vehicle, closer to a hatchback than a full on SUV. All-new for 2018, the Kona is a stylish CUV that is affordable, with a lot of standard features and it’s still fun to drive.
The Kona joins the completely refreshed 2019 Veloster, adding to Hyundai’s affordable lineup that comes packed with tech and value.
2018 Hyundai Kona Price
The 2018 Hyundai Kona price starts at $19,500 for the SE trim level that comes with an automatic transmission and 7-inch screen with support for Apple CarPlay & Android Auto standard. The Kona is available with front wheel or all wheel drive.
There are four trim levels with the following pricing;
- Kona SE – $19,500
- Kona SEL – $21,150
- Kona Limited – $24,700
- Kona Ultimate – $27,400
The SEL include an optional SEL Tech package, but the other trim levels don’t offer add-ons, simplifying the models available.
Hyundai currently offers $500 off or 1.9% financing for up to 60 months or $199 a month for 36 months with $2,399 due at lease signing.
2018 Hyundai Kona Tech & Safety
On all 2018 Kona models you’ll find an abundance of technology and safety features. Some of the safety and driver convenience features are only available on the higher trim levels.
On all Kona models you get Apple CarPlay & Android Auto support. This means you can plug your phone in and get access to phone calls, messages, music, maps and other apps by voice or touch control. It’s a great option and it’s standard on the $19,000 Kona, but an optional feature on a new BMW.
Wireless charging is standard on the Kona Ultimate and Infinity premium audio, as is a small Heads Up Display and Blue Link.
With Blue Link you can remote start the Kona, lock and unlock the Kona, remote control the horn and lights as well as set parental controls including speed alerts, curfew alerts and geo fence boundaries. This is free for three years, and then $9.90 a month.
On the SEL and higher trim levels Blind Spot Collision Warning, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard. With the SEL tech package or the Kona Ultimate you get Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with pedestrian detection, Lane Keeping Assist and Driver Attention Warning.
Driving the 2018 Hyundai Kona
The 2018 Kona is available with two engine options. I spent the day testing the Kona Ultimate with the 1.6L turbocharged engine and the 7 speed EcoShift Dual Clutch Transmission. This is definitely the engine to get if you want a little more pep.
This combination isn’t super sporty, but there’s enough power to pass and enough pep to zip into traffic. It’s not going head to keep up with the Mazda CX-3 when it comes to fun driving characteristics, but for most CUV buyers this isn’t going to be a dealbreaker.
Switching the Kona into Sport mode isn’t as pronounced as the change on the Veloster, but it does tighten up the steering a little bit and change the throttle response.
Ultimately it’s a good driving experience for a compact utility vehicle, and it won’t put you to sleep, but those in search of spirited driving will want to opt for the CX-3 for zoom over cargo space and a sensibly laid out interior.
2019 Hyundai Kona Design
The 2018 Kona is a slick-looking little SUV that looks better in person than in photos. It definitely looks best in Surf Blue or Lime Twist, but the Thunder Gray is a nice touch if you don’t want to stand out as much. An optional Black with Lime interior adds a splash of color and personality to the Kona.
The interior is well laid out with easy access to the cup holders, storage nooks and shifter while driving, and no armrest that gets in the way like on the CX-3.
I like the placement of buttons and the QI wireless charging system that lets you charge your phone without a cable. You can’t use CarPlay or Android Auto while wirelessly charging, but it’s handy for passengers or for quick trips.
The front seats are spacious with room for two adults to comfortably sit. The back seat of the Kona is adequate, but is a little cramped for adults.
Cargo room is good for the size, and there’s a handy storage tray hidden back there to hold items that would normally take up valuable space day-to-day.