Jan
13
2022 Hyundai Kona Limited

2022 Hyundai Kona Limited (photographed in a light snowfall) in “Teal Isle” body paint

Car Stuff Podcast

Class: Subcompact Crossover

Miles driven: 444

Fuel used: 16.9 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishB
Fuel EconomyB-
ValueA-
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.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs195-hp 1.6-liter
Engine TypeTurbo 4-cyl
Transmission 7-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Real-world fuel economy: 26.3 mpg

Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 27/32/29 (city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $29,950 (not including $1225 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Carpeted floor mats ($155)

Price as tested: $31,330

 

Quick Hits

The great: Acceleration from turbocharged engine; generous list of comfort and safety features; lots of noteworthy improvements and new features for 2022

The good: Respectable passenger and cargo room within tidy exterior dimensions; decent ride/handling balance

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

More Kona price and availability information

 

John Biel:

Right on time: That’s what you can say about the things that have been done to the Hyundai Kona for 2022.

Heading into its fifth model year, the subcompact crossover SUV gets an appearance freshening that’s especially apparent in its broad grille, under-bumper fascia, and headlights. Instrument and infotainment displays are updated, too. There’s more power from one of its engines, a retuned suspension, and a revised lineup of available models that includes a new high-performance job. One thing that doesn’t change is that the Kona still is a Consumer Guide “Best Buy” in its class.

2022 Hyundai Kona Limited

The Hyundai Kona undergoes a fairly extensive refresh for 2022 that includes significantly updated exterior styling, new wheel designs, a redesigned dashboard, and new technology features.

CG editors tested a ’22 Limited, which is the new head of the “regular” Kona family at $31,175 (including delivery) with all-wheel drive—expect only the 276-horsepower N model to top it for price. SE, SEL, and sport-themed N Line make up the lower levels of the gas-engine Konas; the previous SEL Plus and premium Ultimate models have been dropped. (A pair of electric Konas are available in select U.S. states.)

Test Drive Gallery: 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE

2022 Hyundai Kona Limited

The Kona’s new dashboard features a digital gauge display similar to the one in the redesigned-for-2022 Tucson compact SUV. A new 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard on the top-line Limited model, as is a wireless smartphone charger that is housed in a cubby bin forward of the shifter.

Hyundai wrings an additional 20 horsepower from the 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine used by the N Line and Limited, hitting 195 ponies to match the maximum 195 lb-ft of torque on tap between 1500 and 4500 rpm. Configured this way, the powerplant is capable of lively stoplight getaways with plenty left over for able expressway cruising. However, it throbs a little—especially at idle—and emits a few grumbles when pushed. The turbo engine’s pairing with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission doesn’t always go smoothly. Unhurried launches are often accompanied by a rapid succession of distinct upshifts that seem to hit just as good torque is starting to come on in each gear. Activating “Sport” mode—with its delayed upshifts—from the Drive Mode Select menu (or tapping the shift lever into the manual track and taking matters in your own hand) can reduce these disruptions.

Test Drive: 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric Limited

2022 Hyundai Kona Limited

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.

This driver recorded 27.7 mpg from the 121 miles he covered in the Kona, a stint that included 49-percent city-type operation. EPA estimates for AWD Konas with the 1.6 engine are 27 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 29 combined. Opting for a front-wheel-drive N Line or Limited chips $1500 off the sticker and adds an estimated 2 city mpg and 3 highway and combined mpg.

For the money, the option provides not only on-demand AWD but an independent multilink rear suspension. The chassis does a good job of filtering out a lot of road-surface jolts. The Kona is a pleasant driver with good maneuverability, decent cornering control, and confident braking. Steering, which can feel a little vague, firms up a touch in Sport mode.

2022 American Auto Show Schedule

2022 Hyundai Kona Limited

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

Elements of the fresher look within are the instrument and infotainment displays, both measuring 10.3 inches. The digital instruments appear as round analog speedometer and tachometer dials with space for a sizable vehicle-information screen between them. (Pulling up Sport mode changes the predominant color of the graphics from pale blue to red.) The touchscreen at the top center of the dash is convenient to reach and use. Making inputs to the audio system is fairly intuitive and direct; the radio display is in the quirky postmodernist “vacuum-tube” theme that Hyundai has adopted. A bank of buttons and two control knobs are newly stationed beneath the screen. Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone interfacing is now wireless. The automatic climate system still uses handy dials for setting temperature and fan speed and a short row of function buttons.

Test Drive Gallery: 2021 Nissan Kicks SR

2022 Hyundai Kona Limited

Kona N-Line and Limited models are powered by a 195-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

There’s plenty more standard in the Kona Limited. The infotainment system is home to a navigation system. There’s an 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, wireless device charging, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality (new for ’22), Hyundai Digital Key access, dynamic voice recognition, and push-button starting. Seats and steering wheel are clad in leather and front seats are heated. There’s a sunroof and side rails overhead, heated power mirrors at the sides, and 18-inch alloy wheels below. Safety and driver-assistance technologies include forward-collision avoidance assist, lane-keeping and -following assists, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic collision warnings, and driver-attention and safe-exit alerts.

Passengers enjoy surprising roominess, with legitimate space for four “average-size” adults—taller types may test the limits of the second row. Seats are comfortable. Driver vision is good, even to the rear corners. If there’s any complaint that can be made about the interior, it is that it comes off a little sterile with quite a bit of exposed plastic. Use of thinly padded soft-touch material is limited to the door centers and armrests, plus a section across the center of the dash. Occupants can stash their carry-along items in a good-sized glove box, small-capacity covered console box, a net on the back of the front passenger seats, map pockets in all four doors, and cup holders in the console and the pull-down rear armrest.

With the rear seats up, cargo area doesn’t appear abundant but there’s room for 19.2 cubic feet of stuff back there. Retract the 60/40-split-folding second-row seats—they fold flat and flush with the load floor—and 45.8 cubic feet are at your disposal. There’s additional small-item storage available in a shallow foam organizer under the cargo bed.

By freshening the Kona for ’22, Hyundai maintains the little ute’s reputation as a good buy. You could say it’s a best buy. In fact, we will.

First Spin: 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

2022 Hyundai Kona Limited

The Hyundai Kona’s many improvements for 2022 make it an even stronger contender in the subcompact SUV class.

Listen to the Car Stuff Podcast

2022 Hyundai Kona Limited Gallery

(Click below for enlarged images)

Quick Spin: 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL R-Line

Car Stuff Podcast