2020 Hyundai Kona Expert Review
Hyundai’s 2020 Kona is one of the freshest faces in one of the freshest segments: the subcompact SUV. Slotting below the Tucson, the Kona is Hyundai’s smallest crossover SUV, at least until the 2020 Hyundai Venue arrives. In this burgeoning segment, the Kona competes against rivals like the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR and Nissan Kicks.
While those small SUVs are tempting in their own right, we think the Kona is currently the best of the bunch. It took our award for Subcompact SUV Best Buy of 2019 thanks to its combination of practicality, efficiency, value, fun nature and excellent warranty. The Kona also stands out with a choice of powertrains that includes a perky turbocharged engine and an all-electric version with 258 miles of range that’s available in select states.
Driving the 2020 Kona
The 2020 Hyundai Kona is surprisingly comfortable and compliant given its size. Yes, it’s at its best in urban environments where it can slip through traffic and slide into small parking spots, but we have no qualms using it for briefer highway treks. The standard 147-horsepower engine is adequate for most needs, but we admit an affinity for the 175-pony turbocharged engine in higher trims. It packs significantly more torque, too, giving it swift acceleration that enhances the Kona’s already nimble handling. If you need a reason to opt for all-wheel drive other than just enhanced traction, it’s that you’ll also get an independent rear suspension that improves the Kona’s ride and handling.
The 2020 Kona electric SUV is similar to the standard Kona in terms of nimbleness, yet stands out in other ways thanks to its fully electric powertrain. Like other electric vehicles (EVs), acceleration and power are as immediate as a light switch. Nail the accelerator, and you can chirp the front tires. As for stopping, the driver-adjustable regen-braking system can be set to different levels. At its max, it can nearly enable one-pedal driving. Compared to the standard model, the electric Kona can feel a bit choppier due to its large battery. Conversely, it feels more planted and is near silent in operation.