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    2018 Hyundai Kona review: A smart buy with a wacky face

    There aren’t many automakers on the market prepared to embrace the really bizarre. Nissan did it with the Juke, however now that cute ute is heading off into the sundown. It is time for another person to step in and assume that weird-but-lovable function. Enter the Hyundai Kona.

    The Hyundai Kona appears to be like odd, however that weirdness is barely pores and skin deep. Beneath, it has nice options at a terrific worth, and it is fairly nice to drive, too. Hyundai’s common bag of methods helps vault this automobile to the highest of its section in brief order.

    Magnificence is subjective

    The Kona’s exterior is a scorching mess, however one with a objective. The Kona is simply uncommon sufficient to show a head and have a random individual quip, “What is that factor?” Generally, that is all it takes to start out an individual down a path to possession.

    Hyundai’s newcomer packs some fairly aggressive angles, however my eyes maintain touchdown at sure spots. Cut up headlights are nothing new — the Jeep Cherokee involves thoughts — however Hyundai wraps the decrease lights in grey cladding that makes the fascia seem like it is attempting to spawn one other automobile. It is busy, however I prefer it. The again is messier, with a lot of the practical lights hanging out properly beneath the beltline. There’s additionally a kind of “floating” D-pillars that seemingly each automaker is outwardly decided so as to add to no less than one automobile of their lineup.

    However when you open a door, the weirdness disappears. The inside is fairly conventional, with sensibly positioned (and straightforward to function) vents, snug seats and loads of bodily switchgear. I like that my Final-trim tester comes with simply the correct amount of lime-green trim and stitching, bringing a few of that exterior eccentricity inward. The entrance seats are a lot spacious, however the rear surprises me with sufficient house for a 6-foot-tall passenger to sit down behind a 6-foot-tall driver with out rubbing knees towards seatbacks or heads towards headliner.

    The most important downside with the Kona is its cargo house. Merely put, 19 cubic toes is missing — in its section, solely the Mazda CX-3 has much less cargo house, and that automobile is in regards to the dimension of my shoe. It does not get any higher if you fold the rear seats flat, both.

    You would possibly dig the way in which this Kona Final appears to be like, however lesser trims aren’t almost as fascinating to behold.


    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    Scoot-scoot riot

    The Kona’s backside two trims make do with a 2.Zero-liter, naturally aspirated I4 placing out an ample-enough 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. However my tester sports activities the elective 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 175 hp and 195 pound-feet. At the side of its elective all-wheel drive, this factor scoots. It is far more enjoyable to drive round city or on the freeway than nearly the rest on this section.

    My solely dealing with grievance is that it takes a shocking quantity of effort to maintain the Kona centered in its lane. That stated, I discover the steering on the pleasantly heavy aspect, and each throttle and brake are properly weighted and straightforward to modulate.

    Cheaper automobiles are inclined to have points dealing with dangerous roads, however the Kona’s suspension does a commendable job throughout Michigan’s Martian panorama, conveying little or no jostling into the cabin. However what it lacks in harshness, it greater than makes up for in noise. Wind noise simply sneaks into the cabin, as does extra clamor from its 235/45R18 all-season tires. Turning up the stereo helps, nevertheless it does not remove the issue.

    Fortunately, the Kona as soon as once more redeems itself with gas financial system. The EPA says the 1.6-liter, AWD Kona will obtain 26 mpg metropolis and 29 mpg freeway. I am proper about on par with metropolis financial system, however as soon as I hit the freeway, I see numbers in extra of 30 mpg with little aware effort.

    10 kilos of options in a 5-pound sack

    Hyundai is actually good at loading its automobiles with all method of options not normally present in cheaper segments, and the Kona is not any exception. This egalitarian nature is very evident in my tester’s range-topping Final trim, which regardless of being totally loaded nonetheless lands beneath the $30,000 mark.

    On the security entrance, consumers can decide up computerized braking, ahead collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane-keep help and rear parking sensors. It is a disgrace that adaptive cruise management is nowhere to be discovered, and that an important security methods are hidden behind costly trims. The driving force-assist methods work properly for essentially the most half, aside from the lane-keep help, which is means too heavy-handed for my liking.

    Different notable options embody a Qi wi-fi cellphone charger, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, leather-based seats and a helpful four.2-inch display nestled between the gauges, providing up loads of pertinent info. There’s additionally a head-up show that impresses with simply how a lot stuff it may cram in there (pace limits, driver-aid standing, blind-spot monitoring and so forth), nevertheless it’s positioned simply above the dashboard on a retractable piece of glass that provides little profit for tall drivers.

    With regards to infotainment, Hyundai’s system is likely one of the best and most accessible, with quick response instances and an easy-to-navigate format. Decrease Kona trims get a 7-inch touchscreen, however my tester rocks an Eight-incher with embedded navigation; each embody Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It might need slightly little bit of a cartoony look to it, however its ease of use makes up for absolutely anything else.

    How I would spec it

    Truthfully, I would spec it precisely like my tester. Even with its $29,775 as-tested worth, it is nonetheless a strong $6,000 beneath the common transaction worth for a brand new automobile, nevertheless it’s geared up with the superior engine, all-wheel drive and each single characteristic Hyundai affords — there are not any elective packages on the Kona Final. If you do not need all-wheel drive, you’ll be able to slice $1,300 off that window sticker. I’d swap out the retina-searing neon inexperienced paint job in favor of one thing slightly extra demure, like purple or metallic blue, although.

    All the way down to brass tacks

    The Hyundai has a good quantity of competitors in a section that the Juke used to personal. The Honda HR-V is enjoyable to drive and affords extra cargo house, plus, for the 2019 mannequin yr, its driver-assist methods can be found on decrease trims. The CX-3 is an effective driver, nevertheless it’s one way or the other even smaller than the Kona. The Ford EcoSport is… nice.

    The Kona shines in its section. Its trip high quality is among the many greatest, its options are onerous to prime and it is spacious from a passenger standpoint. Certain, it’d seem like one of many aliens from Space: Above and Beyond, and its cargo capability will not accommodate whole-family cross-country street journeys, however its inexpensive price ticket and approachable tech make it completely price your consideration.

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