Overall length of the 2024 Hyundai Kona is 5.7 inches longer than the previous model. Cabin space has increased enough for adult passengers to sit comfortably in the second-row seats. (Photo provided by Hyundai)

Overall length of the 2024 Hyundai Kona is 5.7 inches longer than the previous model. Cabin space has increased enough for adult passengers to sit comfortably in the second-row seats. (Photo provided by Hyundai)

2024 Hyundai Kona subcompact SUV is a grown-up

The feisty original has developed practicality and sophistication.

Hyundai’s spirited Kona subcompact SUV has been completely redesigned for 2024 to offer more room inside, tech upgrades, and a more contemporary look. Kona’s size is enlarged in every direction, most notably a longer wheelbase and a 5.7-inch increase in overall length.

The modifications made Kona more practical and sophisticated, but in the process, some of Kona’s spiritedness was sacrificed. But that’s not a bad thing, as demonstrated by the following dog analogy: New puppies are a delight. Energetic, playful, lots of fun. But there’s even more delight after they become housebroken, learn what “down” means, stop chewing on shoes, and quit barking uncontrollably. Their spirit isn’t broken, they’ve just grown up a bit.

And so it is with the new Kona. Hyundai used a big chunk of the newfound interior space to create a humane environment for adult passengers, who can actually sit there now. Headroom is bountiful too, even with Kona’s cool sloping roof.

Dual 12.3-inch displays on a dash-mounted curved panel are an attractive focal point of the cabin. Gauges and other driver information features are on the left; an infotainment system touchscreen is on the right. Clarity and ease of use are assets of both displays.

Cargo space and stowage places for smaller items are part and parcel, so to speak, of Kona’s new practicality. The generous amount of 25.5 cubic feet is at your service in the rear cargo area when second row seats are upright. Fold down the second row seats, and the space expands to 63.7 cubic feet.

Up front in the Kona, a long center console is divided into three roomy sections, rather than six or seven small ones. The middle tray has retractable cupholders, making the tray more useful when beverages aren’t on board. Door pockets are deep and wide.

There are four 2024 Kona trim levels: SE, SEL, N Line, and Limited.

Kona’s two engines are carried over from the previous model. SE and SEL trims have a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder; N Line and Limited get a 190-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo-four. The former comes with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), the latter with an eight-speed automatic. On every model, front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available.

EPA ratings for the 2.0-liter engine are 29/34/31 mpg with front-wheel drive and 27/29/28 mpg with AWD. The turbo engine’s numbers are 26/32/28 mpg (FWD) and 24/29/26 mpg (AWD).

Pricing starts at $25,625 for a front-drive Kona SE, including a $1,375 destination charge.

My 2024 Kona Limited AWD tester was a satisfying performer, thanks to its quick turbo engine, smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive.

Buyers who don’t consider driving to be some kind of sport or entertainment, and are strictly seeking transportation in a nice new car, prioritizing low cost and good fuel economy, can opt for the base engine and save quite a bit of cash without undue suffering behind the wheel.


Base price, including destination charge: $34,485

Price as driven: $34,695

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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