The 2021 Hyundai Kona proves that good things come in small packages. It’s a small crossover SUV with budget pricing and attractive body lines. However, the Kona does come with available all-wheel drive, a turbo engine, and other high-end amenities. Play around with the model trims and options and you’ll walk away with a sweet deal.
There are six trim levels for the Kona crossover. The base model SE comes with an attractive entry cost as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The SEL model has push button ignition and rear cross traffic collision warnings. The SEL Plus upgrades the Kona with tech amenities like wireless charging, a premium audio system and a Blue Link connected car system. The Night Edition has sporty black accents, aluminum alloy sport pedals and 18-inch semi-gloss black wheels. The Limited model has a 175 horsepower turbo engine and a dual clutch SHIFTRONIC gearbox. The Ultimate model has leather upholstery, a Heads-up Display, and smart cruise control.
Auto enthusiasts will be excited to learn that Hyundai does plan to produce an N model for the Kona. In a company press release Till Wartenberg, the Head of N Brand Management said, “We are very excited to unveil the KONA N, a true Hot SUV with all the driving fun N offers. With our first ever N Day, we aim to continue the story of N and share our vision with this digital format to further engage with our enthusiasts.” Hyundai N Day is April 27th, 2021. So, look out for more details about the 2021 Hyundai Kona N to come very soon.
2021 Hyundai Kona: A Small but Sporty Exterior
The 2021 Hyundai Kona has a busy exterior design with lots to see. There’s a large front mesh grille with headlights arranged in a stacked formation. Just ignore the faux air intake vents as you pass along to the profile. The base model comes with 16-inch alloy wheels. It might be wise to upgrade to the SEL model so that the wheel wells get at least a set of 17-inch shoes. 18-inch wheels are available on the higher model trims.
The 2021 Hyundai Kona has a small footprint. It stretches out to 164 inches in length and just under 71 inches in width. It has 6.7 inches of ground clearance and a height of 61.6 inches when equipped with roof rails.
Perhaps, the 2021 Hyundai Kona Ultimate is the best model to showcase the crossover’s exterior style. The Ultimate Kona comes with LED headlights with high beam assist. It has 18-inch black wheels, roof rails and a power tilt and slide sunroof.
For a more detailed look at the 2021 Hyundai Kona Ultimate, check out this video review on YouTube.
Interior Amenities of the 2021 Hyundai Kona
The interior of the Kona isn’t a bit easier on the eyes than the exterior. The 2021 Hyundai Kona has seating for 5 passengers, but 4 will fit much better. The Hyundai Kona favors the front row in terms of passenger space. The front seat occupants get 39.6 inches of headroom and 41.5 inches of legroom. Things get a bit more cramped on the rear bench though. Head room is almost universal, but leg room in the back seat drops to just 34.6 inches. There’s a total of 113.3 cubic feet of interior volume and 94.1 inches of that is earmarked for passengers. There’s a total of 45.8 cubic feet of cargo volume when you fold down the rear seats. There’s a dual level cargo floor back there that adds some additional storage space.
Cloth upholstery is standard on all Kona models except for the Limited and Ultimate models. A 7-inch color touchscreen display outfits the center dashboard while the Ultimate model gets a small boost with an 8-inch screen. The SEL is just a step up from the base model and gets proximity key entry, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Yet, the SEL still only costs about $22,300.
Performance Options for the Kona Crossover
The 2021 Hyundai Kona is available with two choices for the powertrain. There’s a 2.0 Liter inline four-cylinder engine that gets 147 horsepower and 132 pound feet of torque. With a 6-speed gearbox pushing the front wheels, it’s pretty obvious that this is an economy team. The Night, Limited and Ultimate models come with a 1.6 Liter turbo inline four. It produces 175 horsepower and 195 lb. ft. of torque. The turbo models also get a 7-speed EcoShift transmission.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but any model can be outfitted with all-wheel drive. The suspension is bolstered by gas-pressurized shock absorbers. Front-wheel drive models have a coupled torsion beam axle rear setup. The all-wheel drive models trade out the standard suspension for an independent multi-link design.
There are two driving modes. Drivers can toggle between normal and sport mode. The 2021 Hyundai Kona gets impressive gas mileage which is to be expected from a four-cylinder compact crossover. The Kona with front-wheel drive gets 30 MPG combined while the all-wheel drive models get 28 miles per gallon combined.
Safety Features from Hyundai
The NHTSA gives the Kona crossover a 5-star crash rating. However, standard safety features on the base model are surprisingly sparse. The SE model comes with Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Driver Attention Warnings. Yet with just a slight upgrade to the SEL model, interested buyers get the additional blind-spot collision warning, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic collision warning. Only the 2021 Kona Ultimate gets additional safety features. It comes with parking distance warning and an improved forward collision warning system that includes pedestrian detection.
Which Model of the 2021 Hyundai Kona is the Best?
The 2021 Hyundai Kona has an MSRP of $20,500. The 2021 Hyundai Kona Ultimate model has a cost of $28,150. So, even the top tier model for the Kona doesn’t break the bank. The base model is skippable, especially when you consider the features and amenities you get just from going up one notch on the model tree.
Hyundai offers some attractive incentives to go with the 2021 Kona crossover. Buyers get 3 years or 36,000 miles of complimentary maintenance. You also get a 10-year powertrain warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance for 5 years.
The Kona crossover is one of the best budget vehicles on the market. The 2021 Hyundai Kona has a lot going for it, but real performance heads might want to wait for the N model. Perhaps, the Kona N will get improved handling, a sport-tuned transmission and even better style elements.