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2018 Hyundai Kona Review

The 2018 Hyundai Kona earns its place as one of our top-ranking subcompact SUVs in part because of its wonderful infotainment system and exemplary safety ratings. It is also one of the nimblest entries in the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent infotainment system
  • Outstanding crash test scores
  • Nimble, controlled handling
  • Peppy available turbo-four engine
  • Maximum cargo capacity is among smallest in the class

Rankings & Research

The 2018 Hyundai Kona's #1 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Affordable Subcompact SUVs category. Currently the Hyundai Kona has a score of 8.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 17 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.6
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Hyundai Kona Overview

Is the 2018 Hyundai Kona a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the 2018 Hyundai Kona is one of the best used subcompact SUVs you can buy. It's fun to drive this nimble vehicle, especially when it's outfitted with the lively turbocharged engine. Its technology includes a straightforward infotainment system and a generous number of advanced safety features.

The Kona boasts many advantages:

  • Superb crash test scores
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system packed with standard features
  • Abundance of optional high-tech safety features
  • Agile, smooth road manners
  • Longer warranty than most

It has a couple drawbacks worth noting:

  • Not much cargo space with the rear seats down
  • Average purchase price is higher than most rivals'
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Hyundai Kona review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 21 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2018 Hyundai Kona?

There are about 100 listings for the 2018 Hyundai Kona on our site, with an average list price of just under $22,000. Prices range from $18,500 to $26,300 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location. The Kona costs more than the average used subcompact SUV. You will likely spend less by purchasing a Toyota C-HR, Nissan Rogue Sport, or Ford EcoSport instead.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Hyundai Kona Cost to Own?

At the time of this writing, five-year cost estimates are not available for the 2018 Kona.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Kona?

After debuting for 2018, the Kona saw a few significant changes for 2019. More safety features are standard in the 2019 Kona, including forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and a driver attention monitor. The all-electric Kona EV joins the lineup in select states. It delivers up to 258 miles of range on a single charge.

If you stick with the base SE trim, we recommend going with a new Kona because of its added safety features. On the other hand, if you are shopping for an SEL, a Limited, or an Ultimate, you will likely save money while getting a nearly identical SUV by picking a 2018 Kona. Look for a 2018 Kona SEL with the Tech package to get some of the safety features that are newly standard in the 2019 model.

Read about the new Hyundai Kona »

Because the Kona was an all-new vehicle for the 2018 model year, no older Konas exist.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Kona »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Hyundai Kona?

The Hyundai Kona has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Kona reliability »

2018 Hyundai Kona Recalls

There are no safety recalls for the 2018 Hyundai Kona as of this writing.

See more information on Hyundai Kona safety recalls »

Which Used Hyundai Kona Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Hyundai Kona comes in four trims: SE, SEL, Limited, and Ultimate. Because only a few packages were offered, you must move up in trim levels to get most upgrades. The trims are also split by engine type. A 2.0-liter engine powers the SE and SEL, while a friskier turbocharged 1.6-liter comes in the Limited and Ultimate.

For the best value, we recommend the Kona SEL. It comes with helpful driver assistance features – such as blind spot monitoring – along with niceties like heated front seats. Seek out an SEL with the optional Tech package to get forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, a sunroof, and a few other goodies.

  • Hyundai Kona SE: The base Kona SE comes with a rearview camera, a USB port, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen.
  • Hyundai Kona SEL: Upgrades in the Kona SEL include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, satellite radio, HD Radio, and heated front seats.
  • Hyundai Kona Limited: In addition to the peppier engine, the Kona Limited comes with a sunroof, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable driver's seat.
  • Hyundai Kona Ultimate: Notable features of the range-topping Kona Ultimate include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, driver attention monitoring, automatic high-beam headlights, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a head-up display, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment display, and wireless charging for enabled smartphones.

See 2018 Hyundai Kona trims and specs »

What Does Hyundai's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Hyundai offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Certified pre-owned Hyundai vehicles receive the balance of the original new-car 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, as well as the remainder of the five-year/60,000-mile comprehensive warranty. Hyundai CPO vehicles must pass a 173-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, roadside assistance, and rental car reimbursement may be available, so read Hyundai’s warranty page carefully.

Hyundai has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers, according to our analysis. Only Kia, Buick, Mitsubishi, and Smart have better programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Kona?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2018 Kona a Top Safety Pick+, which is the organization's highest safety designation. Additionally, properly equipped Konas earned the highest rating of Good for its headlights and the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention. No crash test analysis is available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • forward collision warning
  • pedestrian detection
  • automatic emergency braking
  • head-up display
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • rear parking sensors
  • lane change assist
  • lane keep assist
  • driver drowsiness monitoring
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers

See Kona safety scores »

2018 Hyundai Kona Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Hyundai Kona or 2018 Mazda CX-3?

The 2018 Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Kona both reside in the top third of our subcompact SUV rankings, and both are excellent choices. The CX-3 is the better pick if you prize sporty performance and will mostly occupy the front seats. The Kona is nearly as nimble as the CX-3 but can carry lots more gear, and it has a back seat that's friendlier to tall travelers. It also comes standard with advanced smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which you can't get in the 2018 CX-3.

Which Is Better: 2018 Hyundai Kona or 2018 Honda HR-V?

For the most part, the 2018 Hyundai Kona is better than the 2018 Honda HR-V. The Kona is livelier and more comfortable. It also comes with more standard tech and safety features, and it earned much better crash test scores. The HR-V has a few advantages that may win you over, though. Its back seat is extremely roomy for a vehicle this size. This Honda also has lots of cargo space, and its rear Magic Seat can be folded into several configurations, making the HR-V a versatile hauler.

Compare the Kona, CX-3, and HR-V »

2018 Kona Performance

How Does the 2018 Hyundai Kona Drive?

The Kona's base engine has a respectable amount of power for driving around town and on flat ground. Upper trim levels come with a peppier turbocharged four-cylinder that is better for climbing long hills and quickly merging onto the highway. Among subcompact SUVs, the Kona is particularly agile. Its suspension system produces a mostly smooth ride, though some professional reviewers note that the Kona can feel stiff over rough pavement.

  • Base engine: 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Available engine: 175-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic with the 2.0-liter engine; seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with the 1.6-liter engine
Does the 2018 Hyundai Kona Get Good Gas Mileage?

Front-wheel-drive Konas earn an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating that's slightly better than the average subcompact SUV. Opting for an all-wheel-drive Kona will increase annual fuel expenses by about $100 for the average driver.

  • 2.0-liter, FWD: 27/33 mpg city/highway
  • 2.0-liter, AWD: 25/30 mpg
  • Turbo 1.6-liter, FWD: 28/32 mpg
  • Turbo 1.6-liter, AWD: 26/29 mpg
2018 Hyundai Kona Towing Capacity

Hyundai does not recommend towing with the Kona.

Read more about Kona performance »

2018 Kona Interior

 How Many People Does the 2018 Kona Seat?

The 2018 Kona seats five people in two rows. The cabin is reasonably relaxing, with supportive seats for those in the front and decent accommodations for those in the back. Adults relegated to the back seat for long periods of time may bark over the limited legroom, especially if the front seats are pushed back.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery

Available seating features:

  • leather seats
  • heated front seats
  • power-adjustable driver's seat
How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Hyundai Kona?

The 2018 Kona has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. Bring some extra elbow grease when installing a car seat with the lower anchors, as these are set deep in the seat cushions and difficult to move your hand around. For this reason, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Kona's LATCH system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use.

 2018 Hyundai Kona Features

In addition to its appealing array of standard infotainment features, the Kona's infotainment system is intuitive and easy to learn. Plus, every trim level comes with a touch-screen display that's responsive to inputs.

  • Standard infotainment features: an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker audio system, a USB port, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, wireless device charging, Hyundai's Blue Link, navigation, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen
  • Other available features: a sunroof

See 2018 Hyundai Kona specs »

Read more about Kona interior »

2018 Hyundai Kona Dimensions

Hyundai Kona Cargo Space

The Kona has 19.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, which is a decent amount of space for a vehicle this size. Those who often need more space won't be as impressed. With the rear seats down, the Kona has a maximum cargo capacity of 45.8 cubic feet, which is among the smallest in our subcompact SUV rankings. For reference, even the hybrid Kia Niro has more total space, at 54.5 cubic feet.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Hyundai Kona Length and Weight
  • Length: 13 feet, 8 inches
  • Curb weight: 2,890 to 3,344 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 3,979 to 4,255 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Hyundai Kona Built?

Hyundai built the Kona in South Korea.

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#2 in 2018 Affordable Subcompact SUVs

MINI Cooper Countryman 2018 2018 MINI Cooper Countryman

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Mazda CX-3 2018 2018 Mazda CX-3

#4 in 2018 Affordable Subcompact SUVs

Honda HR-V 2018 2018 Honda HR-V

#5 in 2018 Affordable Subcompact SUVs

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