• 2018 Hyundai Kona: Big Island Test of Hyundai’s Small Crossover [Video]

    Hyundai smallest crossover gets its first big change to make an impression in Hawaii

    The 2018 Hyundai Kona is a quirky little car, to be sure. We first previewed it at the LA Auto Show back in December, but now is our first chance to actually get it on the road. It’s a subcompact offering that slots below the larger Tucson and Santa Fe in Hyundai’s lineup. The 2018 Hyundai Kona faces some stiff competition, in cars like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, and Subaru Crosstrek. So, besides its Lime Twist paint, what else does the car have to appeal to prospective buyers? Check out the video above to find out!

    Our first trip in the 2018 Hyundai Kona starts, appropriately enough, in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. From there, Roman drives Hyundai’s smallest crossover yet up to Mauna Kea, to get a sense of what all this car has to offer.

    On the powertrain front, the Kona packs two engine choices. You can either have a 2.0-liter, naturally-aspirated I-4 making 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. That comes paired to a six-speed automatic. Or, if you want a bit more grunt, there’s a 1.6-liter turbocharged option. In that guise, the 2018 Hyundai Kona makes 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

    How does the turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive perform in the drive up to Mauna Kea, nearly 14,000 feet above sea level? Watch the video above to find out!

    2018 Hyundai Kona
    [Photo: Hyundai]

    Pricing and features

    The 2018 Hyundai Kona starts out at just under $20,000, at least without destination charges. A base SE goes from $19,500. If you head toward the other end of the trim levels – hitting SEL and Limited along the way – you’ll get to the Ultimate trim level. That one, with a wide range of features, starts from $27,400. As tested, our Hyundai Kona came out to $29,775.

    So what do you get for your money? The all-wheel drive Ultimate model kicks off with a locking center differential and multilink rear suspension. It is worth noting, however, the multilink suspension setup is only available on all-wheel drive models. You also get an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. There’s also blind spot monitoring, autonomous braking, lane keep assist and a heads-up display.

    In front-wheel drive form, the 2018 Hyundai Kona SE and SEL get an EPA-rated 27/33/30 City/Highway/Combined MPG. Limited and Ultimate front-wheel drive models get a 28/32/30 MPG rating. Step up to all-wheel drive, and fuel economy goes down to 25/30/27 City/Highway/Combined MPG, while Limited and Ultimate see returns at 26/29/27 MPG. In real-world testing on an all-wheel drive Ultimate, we saw an average of 24.3 MPG.

    At 164 inches long, 61 inches tall and 70.9 inches wide, the 2018 Hyundai Kona is 2.7 inches shorter than a Tucson. That said, as with most subcompacts, it’s not enormously spacious for larger passengers. However, it does have 19.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in place, beating out the Mazda CX-3.

    To see just what else the 2018 Hyundai Kona has to offer, check out the video above. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more news, views, and real-world, beach-to-volcano reviews!

    SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD

    On Sale: Now
    Base MSRP: $19,500
    Price as Tested: $29,775
    Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injected I-4
    Drivetrain (Layout): Transversely mounted front engine, all-wheel drive
    Horsepower: 175 hp @ 5,500 RPM
    Torque: 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 – 4,500 RPM
    Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
    Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut w/ coil springs, gas-pressurized shock absorbers

    Rear: Multi-link w/ gas pressurized shock absorbers (AWD models)

    Brakes: Front: 12.0-inch ventilated front discs

    Rear: 11.2-inch solid rear discs

    Tires: Goodyear Eagle Touring P235/45 R18 98V
    Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
    Fuel economy (EPA): 26 City/29 Highway/27 Combined MPG


    Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
    Length:  164.0 inches
    Width: 70.9 inches
    Height:  61.0 inches (w/o roof rails)
    Cargo Capacity: Seats up: 19.2 cubic feet

    Seats folded: 45.8 cubic feet

    Passenger volume: TBD
    Turning Circle: 34.8 feet
    Curb Weight: 3,344 pounds (all options equipped)


    Zach Butler
    Zach Butler
    Zach is a writer and Managing Editor for TFLcar. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in hot hatchbacks and off-road rigs. Born and raised in Colorado, Zach holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Colorado State University, and is based in Boulder, Colorado.