The 2020 Hyundai Kona is cuteness on wheels, but has nearly everything crossover buyers want in a city-friendly package. The 2020 Hyundai Kona blends great standard features with all-wheel-drive crossover versatility and capability in a package smaller than the Tucson. Hyundai carries the 2020 Kona over from last year with minimal changes, mostly a few tweaks to the available features and packages.

In terms of styling, the Kona forging a new path. Hyundai threw nearly every crossover trick in the book at this little hatchback-shaped utility vehicle, and the result is distinctive. Two-tiered headlights and a heavy helping of plastic body cladding make for a design that screams #Adventure but belies the Kona’s humble underpinnings. Meanwhile the interior is nicely designed and features neat color accents like green and orange on some trims. The Kona fits five people snugly though its ride height and decent rear head room are better for four average-size adults. With nearly 20 cubic feet of cargo room behind the fold-down rear seats, there’s plenty of space for luggage too.

2020 Hyundai Kona Review


A base 2.0-liter inline-4 is adequate for a small crossover, and with a smooth 6-speed automatic and available all-wheel drive for $1,400, it should suit most buyers. The optional 1.6-liter turbo-4 does a boost in power but surprisingly not much cost in fuel economy with its slick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. A short wheelbase and tight dimensions make the Kona relatively fun to drive on twisty roads and easy to maneuver in urban environments. Fuel economy ranges from 27 combined mpg with all-wheel-drive and the turbo engine to 30 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models. A great all-electric Kona is also available and is covered in a separate review.

While the base Kona SE includes desirable features like automatic emergency braking and touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at just over $20,000, stepping up $1,800 to the SEL trim adds 17-inch wheels, blind spot monitors, a sunroof, heated front seats, and keyless ignition. It’s possible to spend nearly $30,000 on a Kona with the Ultimate trim, and with wireless smartphone charging pad, head-up display, and adaptive cruise control it is tempting. With a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS this year, five stars from the federal government, and standard automatic braking as well as optional active safety features, the Kona is one of the safest small crossovers on the market.

2020 Hyundai Kona Review

The 2020 Hyundai Kona is unique on the outside, but pleasantly practical on the inside. The 2020 Hyundai Kona uses every crossover design cue in the book. The longer you look at the Kona, the more clever details you notice, from the two-tier headlights to the current trend of non-functional vents and generous swaths of plastic body cladding. It’s a first-rate array of lines and surfaces to tack onto what is essentially a tall hatchback. While it is distinctive handsome, it’s ends up looking “cute” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The 2020 Hyundai Kona has two decent powertrains, but ride and handling are better than average for a small crossover. The 2020 Hyundai Kona makes use of two gas powertrains, and one impressive electric. The base 2.0-liter inline-4 makes 147 horsepower and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available and does help in inclement weather, and at just $1,400, it’s probably worth the cost of entry for people in many states. A zippy 1.6-liter turbo-4 on our test vehicle comes standard on the Limited trim and above, and while power is pushed to 175 hp, its 7-speed dual-clutch automatic shifts super smooth most of the time, but around town can get a little herky-jerky.

2020 Hyundai Kona Review

With an independent rear suspension on all-wheel-drive models, and a torsion-beam rear axle on front-drive versions, the Kona is a deft handler and relatively comfortable for a car with a short wheelbase, though 18-inch wheels on the top trims do firm up the ride experience but handle a little sportier. Ground clearance is only 6.7 inches, so don’t expect to take the Kona on a grueling off-road trail, but all-wheel-drive models handle gravel roads and inclement weather with skill.

The 2020 Hyundai Kona is plenty efficient for a city-friendly crossover, but those looking for even more should consider the Kona Electric. Kona SE and SEL models with the 2.0-liter inline-4 manage 27 mpg city, 33 highway, 30 combined for front-wheel-drive models, and 26/30/28 mpg for all-wheel drive. That’s not much of a penalty for two additional driven wheels, so consider adding all-wheel drive to your list if you need it. 

Turbocharged models represent a decent power jump but hardly a fuel economy penalty, as front-wheel-drive models manage 28/32/30 mpg and all-wheel-drive models manage 26/29/27 mpg. Regular gasoline can be used on any Kona, turbo or not. An all-electric model is also available in some states, and with a 258-mile driving range it gets near-Tesla stats for less. In our week with an all-wheel-drive turbo model we averaged a respectable 28.3 mpg in our lead-footed hands.

The 2020 Hyundai Kona gets great crash test scores and includes automatic emergency braking as standard. The NHTSA gave the Kona five stars overall in every category except rollover rating last year, and the IIHS saw fit to award the tiny Hyundai a Top Safety Pick award, getting “Good” scores in every area. However, lower-trim Kona models don’t receive the award for their sub-par halogen headlights, while higher-trim models get an additional “Good” rating for the standard LED units. In addition, every Kona includes automatic emergency braking as standard, and blind-spot monitors are available on the mid-tier SEL trim. Ultimate trim models add adaptive cruise control for this year, as well as a head-up display, active lane control, and more.

The interior features a logical cabin layout and just a few flourishes like orange or green accents on top trims. A centered infotainment and control cluster places everything within reach and leaves it clearly marked, and the old school round air vent design livens up the dash. The 2020 Hyundai Kona looks small and acts the part, but it’s plenty practical for two city dwellers and the occasional passenger or two. Rear seat space is limited and best suited for shorter trips, though head room is better than average thanks to a bubble roof design. With foldable rear seats, the Kona manages up to 45.8 cubic feet of cargo room, and 19.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats. That’s about on par with a compact hatchback, but a low load floor and wide rear opening make for a convenient cargo experience.

Front seat occupants will find buckets with good adjustment and supportive cushions, and the high placement of the seats makes exit and entry easier for less mobile drivers. Cloth upholstery is standard and does the trick, while leather comes on higher-price Konas. The interior has a higher-quality fit and finish than many competitors, and with available wireless charging, multiple USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it’s a modern driver’s tech cocoon.

2020 Hyundai Kona Review

The 2020 Kona is, like any Hyundai, well-equipped out of the box, and a good value for feature content.The Kona comes in SE, SEL, Limited, and Ultimate trims which range from just over $20,000 to nearly $30,000 fully loaded. The base Kona SE gets cloth upholstery, power features, Bluetooth, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 16-inch alloy wheels, twin USB ports up front, and forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking. The SEL trim adds heated seats, 17-inch wheels, keyless ignition, satellite radio, and blind-spot monitors, making it our pick. A sunroof is optional, as is improved Infinity audio.

Limited models strangely don’t offer a sunroof even as an option, but do include 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, a power driver’s seat, LED taillights, and the more powerful turbocharged engine. Ultimate models top the lineup, and include an improved 8.0-inch touchscreen, head-up display, wireless smartphone charging, and satellite navigation. Regardless of trim an excellent 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is also included on all Kona’s and jumps to 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain.

The 2020 Hyundai Kona with it’s cute crossover looks is a fresh take on the small crossover mold. Small dimensions, peppy power, and zippy handling dynamics make the Kona a fun urban runabout. Adding cutting edge technology, leading safety, and Hyundai value make the Kona a no-brainer for any small crossover consideration. 

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