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2021 hyundai kona review

Detailed Review of the 2021 Hyundai Kona

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.

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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.

Related: Detailed Review of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy

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.

Detailed Review of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Model

Hyundai might not be the first brand name that comes to mind when it comes to luxury SUVs and crossovers. However, that might start to change when more people take notice of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy model. The Calligraphy trim is a new addition for 2021. It’s got all the sophistication of a premium SUV without the six-figure price tag.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe has some tough competition in the mid-sized SUV segment. There’s the Nissan Murano, Honda Passport, Kia Sorento, and Jeep Grand Cherokee just to name a few. Luckily, the Calligraphy model trim offers true luxury amenities and features at a competitive price point.

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Style Elements of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy

The new Santa Fe SUV has been updated for 2021. The front end has a unique LED headlight design with two narrow daytime running lights that come together and trail down the front fascia. The grille is wide and has a cascading pattern.

From the profile, the Santa Fe has large, rounded wheel wells and creases in the side paneling that travel from front to rear. The recessed wheel well trim might not be the Santa Fe’s best stylistic feature. It looks as if something fell off the vehicle. Hyundai designers could have easily slapped on a bit of body paneling to flush out the profile.

The rear of the vehicle has narrow, tapered taillights to follow the design elements of the front. It’s a smart rear end that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel of SUV design. The liftgate in the back opens automatically and there’s a rear skid plate underneath.

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Interior Amenities of the Santa Fe Calligraphy Model

The 2021 Santa Fe Calligraphy model has a spacious interior with luxury features in all the right places. The interior has quilted Nappa leather seating, an electronic gearshift knob, and ambient lighting. You’d have to remind yourself that this is still a Hyundai and not a flashy Genesis G80.

The center console slides all the interface surfaces down the dashboard. The 10-inch touchscreen navigation sits high over the dash. There are air-con vents in the center and the radio, climate controls, parking brake and gear shifter are beneath it. Admittedly, this is probably the worst feature of the Santa Fe’s interior because there are so many tactile buttons and knobs. It could take the driver’s attention away from the road.

The Calligraphy model provides plenty of space for all the occupants. Five passengers can fit, but four would ride more comfortably. There are 44 inches of legroom and 57.5 inches of hip room up front for the driver and passenger. That’s more wiggle room than the Kia Sorento and the Nissan Murano. All told, there are 115.5 cubic feet of passenger volume in the new Santa Fe SUV and 72.1 cu. Ft. of cargo space.

The Calligraphy model comes with a panoramic sunroof and a Harmon Kardon premium sound system. These are features from the premium package, but the top-level Calligraphy model bundles all the best features from all the available packages into the final build. That includes heated front and rear seats, wireless device charging, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

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Performance of the Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy

For a mid-sized SUV, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe gets above-average gas mileage in Calligraphy form. Drivers can expect to travel 28 miles per gallon on the highway and 21 miles per gallon in the city when equipped with all-wheel drive. Those numbers change ever so slightly with front-wheel drive, granting drivers of the Santa Fe SUV 22 MPG in the city and 25 MPG combined.

The Calligraphy model of the Santa Fe comes equipped with Hyundai’s 2.5 Liter turbo inline 4. This powertrain efficiently motivates the mid-sized SUV with 277 horsepower and 311-pound feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all interested shoppers should opt for the HTRAC all-wheel drive in their final build-out. The Calligraphy model has an updated transmission. It’s an 8-speed wet dual-clutch with SHIFTRONIC technology. There’s a multi-link suspension in the rear and MacPherson struts on the front. Both axles benefit from gas shock dampers and stabilizer bars.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe can’t match the towing capacity of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but still puts on decent numbers when outfitted with trailer brakes and trailer sway control. The Calligraphy model can tow 3,500 pounds, but without the right towing package those numbers fall to just 1,500 lbs.

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Top Safety Equipment for the Calligraphy Model

One of the strong suits of the Calligraphy model is that it comes with all the best safety equipment that Hyundai has to offer. For other Santa Fe models, these features are optional, but the Calligraphy puts it all in the build-out.

The automatic emergency braking has been improved over the previous year’s Santa Fe SUV. Now, it can detect vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians. The safety system can automatically bring the vehicle to a direct halt to avoid a collision.

The Calligraphy model comes with some autonomous driving features that you won’t find on the Honda Passport or the Nisan Murano. The 2021 Santa Fe has Remote Smart Parking Assist which can basically park the vehicle by remote. This is especially helpful if you’re stuck in a tight space with vehicles all around your SUV. You can stand outside and watch as the 2021 Santa Fe exits the parking space by itself.

Another class-exclusive safety feature for the Calligraphy model is the advanced monitoring system. You can use the onboard cameras and radar array to get surround views of the vehicle and even a live feed of your blind side. Partner that with a heads-up display and you’ve got peace of mind behind the wheel.

Final Build Notes for the 2021 Santa Fe Calligraphy Model

There are two versions of the Calligraphy trim available from Hyundai. The one with 19-inch wheels has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $42,100. The Calligraphy model with 20-inch alloy wheels has an MSRP of $42,300. At that price, the Calligraphy model can rival any premium SUV or crossover on the market.

The Calligraphy model gets a grab bag of luxurious amenities and top-level safety features. It has a 10-inch navigation screen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with a heads-up display for the windshield. That’s totally Audi Q5 territory and the 2021 Santa Fe has all the other automakers nervous. You can’t find that much technology on display with the Ford, Nissan, and Honda budget SUVs.

One of the main reasons that the 2021 Santa Fe is a gamechanger is that Hyundai has arguably the best warranty in the automotive industry. Not only do buyers get the best Hyundai features for the Calligraphy model, but they also get 3 years of hassle-free maintenance, a 10-year powertrain warranty, a 5-year new vehicle warranty, and 5 years of roadside assistance. It’s hard to beat that level of consumer confidence.

If you’re like the style and features of the 2021 Santa Fe from Hyundai, then you should take a second look at the Calligraphy model. It comes fully loaded with all-wheel drive, semi-autonomous safety features, and stylish 20-inch wheels. It doesn’t take an automotive expert to tell that this is a smart buy that can last for a few hundred thousand miles or more.