Hyundai’s 2022 Kona AWD subcompact crossover has arrived with a freshened look inside and out, improved safety features and added power.
For 2019 and 2020, Hyundai’s Kona received Kelly Blue Book’s Best Buy Awards and the 2022 version should get the same coveted award as it just got better.
Kona is offered in SE, SEL, N Line, Limited (tested) and N versions, the latter is the sporty model with 276-hp. There’s also an EV model if you’re so inclined to go green.
The 2022 Kona has been stretched 1.6 inches for added back seat leg room and a tad more cargo room. Interior accommodations are upscale with a touch of sportiness including perforated leather trimmed seats, a 10.25-inch digital instrument gauge cluster, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with voice recognition, Blue Link, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, satellite radio, plus many more as standard. And as with all new Hyundai’s, the Harmon Kardon audio system offers an alternative to music with “Sounds of Nature,” a replication of such sounds as a rainy day, waves breaking on a shore, a crackling fireplace and others.
Also included is Hyundai’s Digital Key that allows smartphones to be used to remotely lock/unlock the doors, start the engine, even sharing the key with family members.
In addition, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist applies the brakes to help prevent an accident if encountering another vehicle near your blind spots when the attempting to change lanes.
Added too was Highway Driver Assist that not only keeps the Kona between the roadway lines, but does so at a specific following distance and even makes necessary speed adjustments to posted speed limits.
Kona has all these and other high-tech safety features that many greater priced competitors don’t yet offer.
The Climate system consists of HVAC controls that are large and easy to use and selections can be displayed on the touchscreen. It’s pleasing to see that Hyundai maintained hard switch HVAC controls as oppose to digital-only screen controls like far too many new cars and trucks now have. Although that can also be used. Switches, once learned their positioning, don’t take the eyes off the road like screen touches do.
Kona offers a wireless phone charger that shares the console with the 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission gear selector along with a mode switch and AWD lock switch. The latter comes in handy if getting stuck in snow or mud.
The mode switch offers Normal, Smart and Sport modes. Sport increases engine rpms by 500, holds transmission shift points longer and adjusts steering effort for more spirited performance.
With a low 16.5-inch step-in, the back seat is comfy for two adults. Leg room is adequate if the fronts aren’t racked well rearward. Head room though is ample.
Back in the cargo area, and with the 60/40 split-folding seats upright, there’s 19.2 cubic feet of space measuring 28 inches deep, 42 wide and 28.5 high. Flip the seatbacks and space increases to 45.8 cubic feet for 57 inches of cargo loading depth.
Kona is offered with a choice of three engines depending on the model choice. A 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder with 147-hp and 132 lb/ft of torque comes with the SE and SEL trim models; the tested 1.6-liter, turbocharged inline 4 with 195-hp and 195 lb/ft of torque goes into Kona N Line and Limited; and a potent 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 276-hp and 289 lb/ft of torque that powers the N. The latter couples to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shifters and a limited slip differential.
As tested, the 1.6L was peppy but required more accelerator pedal it seemed until selecting Sport mode when acceleration was quicker with less pedal as peak torque starts at a low 1,500 rpm and continues through to 4,500 rpm. EPA rates this powertrain at 27 city, 32-highway mpg.
Ride and handling are impressive. Shod with 18-inch Goodyear tires, Kona rode quietly and its suspension soaked up most road imperfections. Handling was sporty as Kona can be tossed in the turns as it remains stable throughout a maneuver. And it was exceptionally easy to park in tight spots.
Kona comes loaded with a long list of standard safety features. In addition to what has been mentioned, Kona Limited came with forward collision avoidance, lane keeping/following assist, blind spot collision avoidance, rear cross traffic alert, safe exit warning (if opening a door and traffic is oncoming, an alert comes on), downhill brake control, hill start assist, driver attention warning (warns to keep a hand on the wheel in lane keeping assist mode and an attentive warning when at a stoplight and a vehicle ahead pulls out and you’re not paying attention), and more.
For all these, Kona Limited AWD starts at $29,950 plus a delivery of $1,185.
Kona received top government safety ratings of a full five stars for an overall score; five for driver/passenger frontal crash; five for front/rear seats side crash; and four for rollover.
Of course, Kona also comes with the best warranty in the business. There’s a 5 year/60K new vehicle warranty; 10/100K powertrain; 7/Unlimited anti-perforation; 3/36K complimentary maintenance; and 5/Unlimited roadside assistance.
With all these you can’t go wrong with a Hyundai Kona AWD as it would make an ideal all-weather commuter car, a college student car or a second car if you have a pickup truck or larger SUV.