By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos Hyundai Motor America
The Hyundai Kona crossover is a stylish and functional compact CUV, tailored to the needs of customers who pursue active lifestyles of all kinds, Hyundai has added the availability of Smart Cruise Control and interior accent choices on 2020 Kona models.
Kona employs refined aesthetics with sculpted body forms and sporty contours for an athletic, bold, and striking appearance. Its distinctive design is reinforced by the car’s voluminous, aggressive body styling that emphasizes its well-proportioned, dynamic silhouette; A low and wide stance complements its profile, with a long wheelbase and short overhangs, ensuring sporty, nimble handling, in addition to delivering superior driving stability at highway speeds. Its masculine, protective armor combines powerfully with the futuristic LED lighting to create a high-tech look.
The front view conveys a powerful presence, it incorporates Hyundai’s new family identity, the cascading grille, featuring a sporty mesh pattern, flanked by flared, wing-like fenders that dominate the front visage. It’s further enhanced by a separated-headlight design, with high-efficiency LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights. The visual relationship between the composite lamps, Hyundai’s signature cascading grille and unique armor design results in a distinctive crossover character.
Side-profile design elements reinforce its tough and functional qualities. Contrasting black armor provides a protective skin and visually connects the front to the rear. As with the front LED arrangement, the rear light configuration also creates a truly unique, signature appearance. The slim brake lights, turn indicators and reverse lamps are in a separate configuration, surrounded by protective skin that begins at the C-pillar garnish.
The unique features of the exterior continue inside with a strong horizontal character line creating a wide and spacious feel. Even with its compact dimensions and low roof line, the Kona delivers outstanding interior roominess, especially in front headroom.
The sleek and simple layout interior contrasts with the bold, adventurous exterior design. The audio and navigation display incorporate advanced infotainment features and the standard floating seven-inch touchscreen. The floating display design adds further to the occupants’ sense of interior openness. Further, heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls are surrounded by soft, fluid details that contribute to a sensuous experience and enhance the comfort-focused environment.
Kona offers a full suite of sophisticated technologies paired with user-friendly functionality to keep passengers informed and entertained. The premium infotainment system offers various advanced connectivity features, including standard Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and available SiriusXM Radio, HD Radio and Blue Link LTE-powered connectivity. The available eight-inch touchscreen navigation display includes Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car System, traffic flow and incident data via HD radio, Infinity premium audio with eight speakers, subwoofer and Clari-Fi music-restoration technology. Smartphone integration is also included in the premium system.
In addition, Kona also offers Wireless Device Charging; to charge a device, simply place a compatible smartphone on the wireless-charging interface located in the center console storage, recharging without the need for cables. The system indicates when the phone has fully charged, reminds occupants to remove their phone when exiting the vehicle, and detects when a foreign object is in the recharging area that could interfere with charging.
Under the hood, Kona powertrain offerings have top efficiency levels as a primary target. Kona is offered with a choice of two gasoline powertrains. A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson engine produces 147 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 132 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Atkinson cycle design maximizes the effective cylinder expansion ratio for greater efficiency. The six-speed automatic offers SHIFTRONIC manual-shifting mode and includes an overdrive lock-up torque converter for higher fuel economy at highway speeds.
Limited and Ultimate trims offer the Gamma 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injected, turbocharged engine generating 175 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 195 lb.-ft. of torque from 1500-4500 rpm, an advantage over its key competitors. Peak torque delivery starts at only 1,500 rpm and holds through 4,500 rpm, for low-RPM responsiveness and performance in everyday driving conditions.
The turbo engine is coupled to a seven-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission. This Hyundai-developed dual-clutch transmission offers outstanding efficiency with quick, seamless shifting and brisk acceleration. When compared with some competitors’ continuously variable transmissions, this DCT can handle more torque with minimal power interruption throughout the engine operating range for natural acceleration and premium aural character with greater durability.
I found the Hyundai Kona pleasant to drive. Its performance was impressive, its ride was smooth and controlled over most surfaces, its braking was strong and stable, and its handling was as good as most competitors in its class.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price will be $28,980.00, including inland freight and handling for the 2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate FWD with the 1.6 GDI 4-Cylinder Engine. The EPA fuel economy estimates 28 MPG City and 32 MPG Highway.