The 2024 Hyundai Kona Could Have Been Better
Apple Car Play and Android Auto are available on the Kona but will require a wired connection at launch. Wireless connectivity will be available after a future over-the-air (OTA) update. Hyundai will be able to update various electronic systems via OTA update, including ADAS, control and navigation systems. Bluelink+, Hyundai’s connected car service plan, is complimentary on the Kona and all of the manufacturer’s 2024 models.
The 2024 Hyundai Kona offers a utilitarian driving experience in a stylish, modern package. Owners will easily get from A to B while keeping their phones charged and without getting lost in a bottomless pit of touchscreen submenus. The Kona has the potential to be sporty on the road, but it feels tamped down. It’s disappointing that the N Line Kona is solely an appearance package because the more aggressive bodywork and Alcantara upholstery scream performance.
The Kona Electric doesn’t feature the same problem but is held back in other ways. The entry-level EV is only available with front-wheel drive. Hyundai claims the standard range model produces 99 kilowatts (133 hp) and has 200 miles of range, performance at the lower end for EVs. For comparison, the EPA rated the standard Volkswagen ID.4 for 150 kW (201 hp) and a 209-mile range. The extended range Kona Electric improves to 150kW (201 hp) and a 261-mile range.
After driving both the N-Line and Limited Kona crossover, the Hyundai engine is very capable for its segment, with one significant caveat. Throttle response has a noticeable delay of at least a second, which worsens depending on how much throttle is applied. It makes quickly accelerating up to highway speeds frustrating. Putting the crossover into “Sport Mode” mitigates the issues but doesn’t eliminate it.
The similarities with recent Hyundai models are even more apparent on the new Kona Electric. The electric crossover features pixel-shaped accent lighting beneath the front and rear bumpers, similar to Hyundai’s Ioniq models. It’s not surprising, considering the popularity of the retrofuturistic styling elements.
Hyundai has completely redesigned the Kona for the 2024 model year. The popular entry-level subcompact crossover was known for its bold styling in its first generation. While a few sporty features remain, the redesign has seen the Kona adopt several modern elements seen on Hyundai’s more upmarket vehicles while remaining at the affordable end of the Korean automaker’s lineup. But, the two are not without their shortcomings.
Full Disclosure: Hyundai flew me out to Baltimore, Maryland to drive the Kona. The automaker paid for my airfare, accommodations and food.
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