2018 Hyundai Kona: Big Island Test of Hyundai’s Small Crossover [Video]

Hyundai smallest crossover gets its first big change to make an impression in Hawaii

The 2018 Hyundai Kona is a quirky little car, to be sure. We first previewed it at the LA Auto Show back in December, but now is our first chance to actually get it on the road. It’s a subcompact offering that slots below the larger Tucson and Santa Fe in Hyundai’s lineup. The 2018 Hyundai Kona faces some stiff competition, in cars like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, and Subaru Crosstrek. So, besides its Lime Twist paint, what else does the car have to appeal to prospective buyers? Check out the video above to find out!

Our first trip in the 2018 Hyundai Kona starts, appropriately enough, in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. From there, Roman drives Hyundai’s smallest crossover yet up to Mauna Kea, to get a sense of what all this car has to offer.

On the powertrain front, the Kona packs two engine choices. You can either have a 2.0-liter, naturally-aspirated I-4 making 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. That comes paired to a six-speed automatic. Or, if you want a bit more grunt, there’s a 1.6-liter turbocharged option. In that guise, the 2018 Hyundai Kona makes 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

How does the turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive perform in the drive up to Mauna Kea, nearly 14,000 feet above sea level? Watch the video above to find out!

2018 Hyundai Kona
[Photo: Hyundai]

Pricing and features

The 2018 Hyundai Kona starts out at just under $20,000, at least without destination charges. A base SE goes from $19,500. If you head toward the other end of the trim levels – hitting SEL and Limited along the way – you’ll get to the Ultimate trim level. That one, with a wide range of features, starts from $27,400. As tested, our Hyundai Kona came out to $29,775.

So what do you get for your money? The all-wheel drive Ultimate model kicks off with a locking center differential and multilink rear suspension. It is worth noting, however, the multilink suspension setup is only available on all-wheel drive models. You also get an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. There’s also blind spot monitoring, autonomous braking, lane keep assist and a heads-up display.

In front-wheel drive form, the 2018 Hyundai Kona SE and SEL get an EPA-rated 27/33/30 City/Highway/Combined MPG. Limited and Ultimate front-wheel drive models get a 28/32/30 MPG rating. Step up to all-wheel drive, and fuel economy goes down to 25/30/27 City/Highway/Combined MPG, while Limited and Ultimate see returns at 26/29/27 MPG. In real-world testing on an all-wheel drive Ultimate, we saw an average of 24.3 MPG.

At 164 inches long, 61 inches tall and 70.9 inches wide, the 2018 Hyundai Kona is 2.7 inches shorter than a Tucson. That said, as with most subcompacts, it’s not enormously spacious for larger passengers. However, it does have 19.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in place, beating out the Mazda CX-3.

To see just what else the 2018 Hyundai Kona has to offer, check out the video above. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more news, views, and real-world, beach-to-volcano reviews!

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $19,500
Price as Tested: $29,775
Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected I-4
Drivetrain (Layout): Transversely mounted front engine, all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 175 hp @ 5,500 RPM
Torque: 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 – 4,500 RPM
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut w/ coil springs, gas-pressurized shock absorbers

Rear: Multi-link w/ gas pressurized shock absorbers (AWD models)

Brakes: Front: 12.0-inch ventilated front discs

Rear: 11.2-inch solid rear discs

Tires: Goodyear Eagle Touring P235/45 R18 98V
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 26 City/29 Highway/27 Combined MPG


Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
Length:  164.0 inches
Width: 70.9 inches
Height:  61.0 inches (w/o roof rails)
Cargo Capacity: Seats up: 19.2 cubic feet

Seats folded: 45.8 cubic feet

Passenger volume: TBD
Turning Circle: 34.8 feet
Curb Weight: 3,344 pounds (all options equipped)