2021 Hyundai Kona First Look Review: Small And Stylish

Hyundai has just revealed the all-new 2022 Kona and Kona Electric. The Kona was Hyundai’s first SUV available with a full-electric powertrain in the US, and although it’s been a popular choice for motorists across the country, the Korean brand isn’t resting on its laurels. It’s got competition from the likes of the Honda HR-V to deal with, but Hyundai is also promising a hot variant in the form of the Kona N. In the meantime, we get some pretty attractive offerings, including a sporty N-Line model. With more space and revised powertrains, can the Kona hold on to its spot as one of the best crossovers around?

2022 Hyundai Kona Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)

2.0L Inline-4 Gas

Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT)

Front-Wheel Drive


1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas

7-Speed Automatic(DCT)

Front-Wheel Drive


1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas

7-Speed Automatic(DCT)

Front-Wheel Drive


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Exterior: Sharply Styled

The new Kona is 1.6 inches longer than before, but its sporty styling hides this excess body fat well. A stretched hood and narrow LED lighting housings result in an almost Lambo-Urus-like appearance while matte cladding and skid plates give the Kona a rugged look. 16-inch wheels come standard on the base SE model, while the SEL comes with 17s. The N-Line gets unique 18-inch alloys along with body-color cladding, a sportier grille, additional faux intakes, and a faux rear diffuser with a dual-exit exhaust setup. There’s also a Limited trim that rides on its own style of 18-inch wheels. This model gets LED headlights as standard, a feature optional to the N-Line and not offered on the other two trims. A sunroof is also standard on the Limited and all but the base model get roof rails in black.

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Interior: Simple But Effective

The interior of the Kona is a little less shouty than the body but is no less attractive. As standard, you get a 4.2-inch display in the cluster and an eight-inch infotainment display hooked up to a six-speaker audio setup. Along with fabric upholstery and faux aluminum, you get a homely but attractive feel in the cabin. Available on the N-Line and standard with the Limited trim is a 10.25-inch touchscreen display with navigation, HD Radio, SiriusXM, a Harman Kardon Calri-Fi eight-speaker sound system, and a 10.25-inch driver info display.

Interestingly, you can only get three USB ports with the top trim, but all others get two. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard with the smaller-screen infotainment setup, while the bigger display necessitates plugging in your device. Wireless charging is also available. Heated front seats are optional on the SEL and standard on higher trims.

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In regards to materials, the N-Line model gets a black headliner, black seats with red stitching and N logos, and metal pedals. The Limited trim gets leather upholstery for a more premium feel. Fortunately, the entire lineup should be comfortable to drive thanks to acoustic windshield glass and enhanced cabin insulation. Hyundai’s Digital Key is also on offer while forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and a driver attention warning are all standard. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is fitted to all but the cheapest model.

That stretched body also gives you more rear legroom, which is now measured at 35.2 inches. Cargo volume has also increased: 19.2 cubes with the rear seats in place and 45.8 cubic feet with them folded.

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Powertrains: Peppy Performers

Two gas engines are offered for the 2022 Kona, with the first being a 2.0-liter four-pot producing 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. This is mated to a new CVT called Smartstream Intelligent Variable Transmission, or IVT. This means that the old six-speed auto is no longer available. For the N-Line and Limited trims, a 1.6-liter turbo-four is fitted, generating an impressive 195 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. A CVT wouldn’t do here, so Hyundai fitted a retuned seven-speed EcoShift dual-clutch automatic. This should be quite a responsive little motor, as Hyundai says maximum torque is available from as low as 1,500 rpm with a peak at 4,500 rpm. This bodes well for the potential fun factor of the hotter Kona N that is in development.

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Pricing And Competition: Can The Kona Make It?

At the time of writing, Hyundai had not yet provided pricing information for the 2022 Kona. However, we don’t expect pricing to stray too much from the 2021 model’s structure, albeit with a slight increase. For reference, the 2021 SE base trim started at $20,500 before shipping and other fees, while the top trim came with a base price of $28,150. We’ll have to wait for the US reveal of the new Honda HR-V to see how much that vehicle costs too, but based on other revised offerings from Hyundai over the past few months, the Honda may have a tough time beating the Kona’s pricing, whatever that turns out to be.

Regardless, the 2022 Kona looks like a more polished version of an already impressive vehicle, and with plenty of tech, a sporty N-Line variant, and even a smattering of luxury in the Limited trim, the 2022 Kona looks like it’ll have something for everyone. Well done, Hyundai.

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