The Hyundai Kona has been a popular small SUV, especially for buyers that live an urban environment, thanks to its small footprint. Now we have the second-generation Kona, which is all-new for the 2024 model year. Hyundai has thrown out nearly everything from the first generation Kona, since it’s now a bit bigger, more stylish and has a more spacious interior.
The small SUV segment is packed with rivals from nearly every automaker. Since the first Kona was introduced, several of its rivals have grown in size. It’s easy to see how small the Kona was compared to its rivals, like the Honda HR-V and Toyota Corolla Cross. To give it more room, Hyundai has stretched the Kona by nearly six inches, which provides more legroom and cargo capacity – two things that were definitely lacking with the first Kona.
As a nod to its electric future, Hyundai says that it designed the Kona Electric first, then modified the platform to fit the two internal combustion engine options. This idea plays into the design of the Kona, which has a longer wheelbase with its wheels pushed further to the corners, which gives it a sportier stance. The 2024 Kona retains the sleek roofline like the first one, but the overall styling theme provides a more modern and sleek small SUV.
At the front the Kona has a clean, simplified look with a thin running light that spans the entire width of the Kona’s new face. The former grille is gone and now replaced by active grille shutters that can help direct the air where it’s needed. The rear gets a similar look as the front with its full width light strip.
Moving inside, the Kona’s cabin is more modern, stylish and spacious than before. The old gauge cluster and infotainment screen have been swapped out for the dual 12.3-inch screens that are combined into one unit. Just like the new Sonata, the gear selector has been moved from the center console to the steering column. This frees up more space in the center console for your stuff and fortunately there are still physical buttons for the climate control system and heated and cooled seats. There’s also room for a wireless charger on a tidy shelf.
Since the 2024 Kona has been stretched nearly six inches, there’s more rear legroom and six cubic feet more cargo space. This means that the second row is a better place to be than before and Hyundai also reduced the thickness of the front seats by 30 percent to provide more space. Adults will find the rear seat more comfortable and spacious than before.
Under the hood there are three powertrains to choose from. The same engines from before are offered here. The SE and SEL are powered by a 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder, that’s mated to a continuously variable transmission. The N-Line and Limited trim levels get a more powerful 190-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder and a new eight-speed automatic transmission that replaces the previous Kona’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Fuel economy does take a hit here, mainly due to the larger footprint and increased weight. The 2.0-liter gets up to 29 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined with front wheel drive, which drops to 27/29/28 mpg with all-wheel drive. The 1.6-liter is rated at 26/32/28 mpg with FWD and 24/29/26 mpg with AWD.
The Kona Electric is available with only a single motor that powers the front wheels. The base version has 133 hp and 188 lb-ft of torque, which is mated to a 48.6 kWh battery. The sportier version has 201 hp and 188 lb-ft. and a larger 64.8 kWh battery. Hyundai estimates that the Kona Electric has a driving range up to 260 miles with the larger battery.
On the road, the turbocharged engine packs more than enough power to get the Kona zooming down the road. It’s far peppier than the Honda HR-V. The good news is that even with the longer wheelbase and increased weight, the Kona is just as fun to drive as the first generation. The Kona’s suspension provides a comfortable ride and at the same time there isn’t too much body roll that takes the fun out of your trip. We wouldn’t classify the Kona as a sporty SUV, but it feels nimble and agile, making it the perfect SUV to get you around the city.
The pricing for the 2024 Hyundai Kona starts at $25,435.
At the end of the day, the 2024 Hyundai Kona is the perfect commuter SUV. It’s more modern, EV influenced styling gives it a fresh look that helps it stand out in a crowded segment. Inside the more spacious interior will make your trip to and from work far more comfortable than before, while the Kona’s available tech features also set it apart from many of its rivals.