2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD in Sonic Silver
2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD in Sonic Silver

2015 Audi Q52020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

Class: Subcompact Crossover

Miles driven: 413

Fuel used: 16.2 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishB
Fuel EconomyB
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB+
Tall GuyB+
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Engine Specs175-hp 1.6-liter
Engine TypeTurbo 4-cyl
Transmission 7-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Real-world fuel economy: 25.5 mpg

Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 26/29/27 (city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $29,150 (not including $1095 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Carpeted floor mats ($135)

Price as tested: $30,380


Quick Hits

The great: Acceleration from turbocharged engine; generous list of comfort and safety features

The good: Respectable passenger and cargo room within tidy exterior dimensions

The not so good: Some drivers dislike the behavior of the dual-clutch automatic transmission

More Kona price and availability information


John Biel:

Now you get adaptive cruise control.

That’s how Hyundai has elected to improve the Ultimate model of its Kona subcompact crossover for 2020. Adding an extra bit of standard driver-assistance tech to an already well-equipped, roomy, and surprisingly powerful little vehicle is a good way to help it keep its place as a Consumer Guide “Best Buy” selection.

Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD
Despite a little late-season road salt from our Chicago-area streets blemishing its lower body, our Kona Ultimate test vehicle cut a sharp profile with its satin-black-finish body trim and Sonic Silver paint job.

As we’ve seen in prior Kona test drives—including a 2019 Ultimate very much like our ’20 tester—it doesn’t let being one of the smallest subcompact SUVs around keep it from delivering generous passenger and cargo space. (It used to be the smallest Hyundai crossover, but it finds itself undercut by the 2020 debut of the Venue.) Plus, the 175-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine used in Limited and Ultimate models is near the top in the Kona’s class for power output.

The Smart Cruise Control (SCC) operates up to a driver-set speed and uses radars to maintain distance from vehicles ahead. It has its limits, though. SCC switches off once the Kona slows to six mph. It is designed for highway use only and, Hyundai advises, “should not be used in poor weather, heavy or varying traffic, or on winding or slippery roads.” It won’t stop the vehicle to avoid a collision.

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Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD
The Kona’s dashboard layout is straightforward and user-friendly. Ultimate models come standard with a head-up display, color driver information display, and an upgraded infotainment system with navigation and traffic info.

Starting price of the Kona Ultimate is $30,245 as an all-wheel-drive version, a $1400 premium over the rear-driver. In addition to the turbo mill and the adaptive cruise control, that buys seats, steering wheel, and shifter knob wrapped in leather; pedestrian detection; parking-distance warning; navigation; 8-inch color touchscreen; 4.2-inch color vehicle-information display; wireless device charging; head-up display; enhanced Blue Link telematics; 18-inch alloy wheels; automatic high-beam headlights; LED headlights and taillights; fog lights; side roof rails; heated exterior mirrors; power sunroof; rain-sensing windshield wipers; automatic climate control; tilt/telescoping steering wheel; keyless entry; push-button starting; 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat; auto-dimming rearview mirror; 8-speaker Infinity premium audio system with HD and satellite radio; Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity; forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking; driver-attention warning; lane-keep assist; lane-departure warning; blind-spot monitor; and rear cross-traffic alert. Indeed, the only extra added to the test truck was a set of carpeted floor mats.

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2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate
Leather upholstery and heated front seats are standard. Though the rear-seat leg room doesn’t appear very generous in this photo, the tallish body build and chair-height seats help provide decent rear-seat comfort for average-size adults.

The turbo engine counts on its full 195 lb-ft of torque from 1500 to 4500 rpm. It feels eager off the line (CG tests in 2019 had the Kona Ultimate at 7.6 seconds for 0-60-mph acceleration). “Normal” or “Sport” driving modes can be selected from a console button, with Sport triggering allowing more revs to build between gear changes. One editor who tromped our latest tester from rest in Sport mode reported that the Kona surged quickly until the first upshift from the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which made for a momentary—but clear—break in the action before power ramped up again. Sport shines in delivering extra go for expressway merging or passing. A Kona like the one CG drove is rated by the EPA at 26 mpg in city driving, 29 mpg on the highway, and 27 combined. Our experience in mixed driving is around 26 mpg.

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2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate
The Kona offers a respectable 19.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and 45.8 with the seat backs folded.

The Kona is a pleasant driver with good maneuverability and a better ride from the front-strut/rear-multilink suspension than something this small likely would be expected to deliver.

In addition to the Ultimate’s many amenities, passengers enjoy surprising roominess, with legitimate space for four adults and good driver vision, even to the rear corners—something rare in small sport-utes. Gauges and the central information display show up well. The touchscreen is flanked by buttons for various infotainment choices, but managing them on the screen is easy. The climate system mixes handy dials to set temperature and fan speed with a short row of function buttons.

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2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate
Kona Limited and Ultimate models comes standard with a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that makes 175 hp, making them among the peppiest subcompact SUVs. Eighteen-inch wheels are exclusive to Limiteds and Ultimates.

Utility starts with the cabin, where there’s a generous glove box, small console box, net pouches on the backs of the front seats, map pockets in all four doors, and cup holders in the console and the pull-down rear armrest. With the rear seats up, there’s room for 19.2 cubic feet of cargo—and 45.8 cubic feet with the 60/40-split second-row seats down. There’s additional small-item storage to be found in a pair of foam organizers under the load floor.

Settling on the Hyundai Kona as a CG Best Buy was easy. Passing it up as a shopper should be hard.

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2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate
Though it’s one of the pricier vehicles in its class when decked out in top-line Ultimate trim, the Hyundai Kona offers pleasant road manners, a long list of standard features, and peppy acceleration from its turbocharged engine.

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2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate Gallery

2020 Hyundai Kona

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