It’s Not Going to Fit Under the Tree!
The holidays are once again upon us—that time of year when we wish everyone good cheer and when it is better to give than to receive. So, what do you give that special person in your life to make them happy—without breaking the bank? Every year we see TV commercials from one major luxury automaker claiming that you should park one of their brand-new SUVs (decorated with a big red ribbon, no less) in your driveway to surprise your loved one. But let me propose something a little different: This time, wow them with a beautiful vehicle complete with all the bells-and-whistles—all while saving some major green. Get ready for the all-new, completely-redesigned 2024 Hyundai Kona!
The first-generation Hyundai Kona was introduced in 2017 as their smallest crossover SUV. Then, in 2019, Hyundai added an even smaller SUV to their line-up geared towards first-time car buyers: the Venue. The Venue allowed for the second-generation Kona to be designed larger—to the tune of 5.7 more inches in length—ensuring a vast improvement in storage and interior room. Interestingly, this is the first Hyundai vehicle to be designed as an all-electric vehicle first, then modified to accept an internal combustion engine. As a result, the 2024 Kona is one of the shortest compact SUVs in its class, yet offers the most interior space in its class. There’s plenty of room, and the new slim-design front seats give rear passengers even more legroom and comfort.
Like all Hyundais, the value proposition with the 2024 Kona is excellent. You get a lot for your money, including a 10-year powertrain warranty and 3 years of free maintenance. The 2024 Kona comes standard with front-wheel-drive (FWD) and is available in four trim levels: the base SE ($25,435); the more feature-packed SEL ($26,785); the sporty N Line ($31,985); and, finally, the top-of-the-line Limited ($32,985). All-wheel-drive (AWD) is offered on all trim levels and adds $1,500.
The base SE and SEL come with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine mated to a CVT (continuous variable transmission)—good for 147 horsepower and 34mpg highway FWD, 29mpg highway AWD. The step-up N Line and Limited switch to a smaller but more powerful 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Despite the increase to 190 horsepower, highway mileage stays virtually the same at 32mpg highway FWD, 29mpg highway AWD.
Despite its affordable price point, the new 2024 Kona does not look or feel cheap. On the contrary, it’s pretty upscale. The outside is modern and even futuristic with distinctive accents throughout the exterior bodywork. The inside features a spacious and open feel with attractive materials. Nobody does a better job than Hyundai in making inexpensive materials look good and feel nice to the touch. Additionally, Hyundai deserves credit for giving the important controls, such as the radio and HVAC, actual buttons and knobs—the way God intended. They’re familiar and easy to find—not buried inside pages and pages of sub-menus on the infotainment screen. With the gear selector moved to the steering column, the center console includes room for even more controls, storage, and arm space.
The Kona glides down the road with a sense of confidence. When you’re driving, you definitely feel that you are in control. The chassis is solid and can handle all but the tightest turns at speed. Handling is nice: The Kona goes where you point it without fuss, although the steering feel seems to be a little isolated from the road. The suspension does a decent job of smoothing out the bumps with only the largest of road imperfections creating any sort of bounce. As with everything, there are just a few problems: The 8-speed automatic transmission is a little slow to react, both in upshifting and in downshifting. Additionally, both the 2.0L or 1.6L turbo engines could use more power. They don’t feel underpowered, but when you step on the gas you kind of wish Hyundai could have stuffed a few extra ponies in there.
Overall, the 2024 Hyundai Kona is an affordable—yet feature-packed—compact SUV with a roomy interior. It’s an honest car designed to impress the owner more so than the neighbors and it doesn’t try to pretend to be something it’s not. It doesn’t pretend to be a sports car or a luxury car. Rather, it’s a “jack of all trades” vehicle that gives a little bit of everything at an unbeatable price. Now all you need to do is find a big enough red ribbon and a space in the driveway since it’s (probably) not going to fit under the tree. Happy Holidays!