Hyundai Kona Ultimate: standout model in small SUV market

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Hyundai Kona Ultimate: standout model in small SUV market

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If I had to do a quick elevator speech describing the 2019 Hyundai Kona, here’s how it would go: “This amazing sub-compact SUV definitely ranks among the top of its class. It’s really nice cabin with an intuitive infotainment system, and its agile handling and available turbocharged engine help make it fun to drive.”

Now let’s break it down.

The Hyundai Kona is an excellent subcompact SUV. Its superior combination of quality and value drives me to suggest you put it right on top of your “must-see” list.

The Kona’s available turbocharged engine, which is featured on the Ultimate trim model I test drove, feels peppier than most rivals’ engines. Inside, the seats are comfortable, and the cabin is classy for a crossover SUV at this price. It also has a lot of standard tech and safety features.

The base 2019 Hyundai Kona SE has an MSRP of $19,990. Prices rise with the SEL and Limited, and the top-of-the-line Kona Ultimate is $27,500. For 2019, there also is a new Kona Electric.

The 2019 Hyundai Kona SUV seats five people. I had power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated leather front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The front seats are spacious and comfortable, while the same generally can be said for the rear.

For an affordable vehicle, the Kona has an upscale interior. Hard and soft plastics blend throughout the cabin. This Hyundai offers 19.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which is decent among subcompact crossover SUVs. Folding down the rear seats opens up a maximum of 45.8 cubic feet.

Also inside, my top-line version offered two USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a six-speaker stereo, as well as a larger eight-inch touch screen, navigation, an eight-speaker Infinity premium sound system, wireless device charging, satellite radio, HD Radio, and a head-up display are available. Quite a list?

But let’s get back to the Hyundai Kona engine — it’s turbo all the way. The nonelectric Kona has two powertrain offerings. A 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard and paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. A 175-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder is offered on the Ultimate and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Both transmissions also have manual-shift modes.

In terms of Hyundai Kona mileage, my turbocharged engine got 28 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

And in terms of handling, the Kona conducts itself well on and off the road. It’s agile too.

The Kona is controlled around turns, and features such as hill descent control and a locking rear differential give it some off-roading ability. Front-wheel drive is standard in all Hyundai Kona models.

So if we are back on the elevator again, here is what I’m going to say on our way down:

“The 2019 Hyundai Kona is a solid subcompact SUV with a lively turbocharged engine, a nice cabin, and is one of the most affordable vehicles in its class. Have a nice day!”

Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.


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