“2019 Hyundai Kona Ultimate FWD”
Hyundai’s Small Crossover for ‘Urban Adventurers’
The 2019 Hyundai Kona serves up a flashy, youthful oriented design in a package that is fun to drive with a sporty character loaded with the leading safety technology and advanced Infotainment features in an affordable and efficient vehicle.
The Kona leads off with its familial mesh patterned, cascading grille flanked by pronounced “wing-like” fender flares. The headlight design features a separated treatment with lower LED headlights along with upper LED daytime running lights.
The Kona’s profile displays a long wheelbase, but with short body overhangs fore and aft ensuring athletic handling. A strong horizontal side character line and low roof line showcase a bold, athletic and purposeful overall form along with sculpted features and sporty contours. Contrasting Black polymer “armor” panels over the wheel wells, rockers and both front and rear fascias provide protection as well as a unique look.
Aft, the slim rear brake lights , turn indicators and reverse lamps appear as separate units encased in the protective armor originating at the “C” pillar garnish. An integrated spoiler lip appears above the rear glass.
The cabin provides spacious, comfortable surroundings with a horizontal treatment emphasizing the Kona’s width. The audio/navigation display delivers advanced infotainment features and the standard floating seven-inch touchscreen includes Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ capability.
The Hyundai Kona comes in four trim levels including: the base SE model, followed by the SEL trim level and the more upscale Limited and Ultimate trims.
Two gasoline engines are available for power: a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson Cycle engine producing 147 horsepower at 6200 rpm along with 132 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm paired with a six-speed SHIFTRONIC™automatic providing a manual-shifting mode and including an overdrive lock-up torque transmission that delivers energy to SE and SEL Konas. Limited and Ultimate trims are powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injected, turbocharged engine generating 175 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb.-ft. of torque in a range from 1500-4500 rpm. The turbo engine mates to a seven-speed EcoShift dual clutch automatic transmission. Kona comes in either a FWD configuration or an optional AWD system. There is also an electric version Kona available.
Kona offers Drive Mode Select, allowing customization of dynamic responses, including steering feel, transmission and overall powertrain responsiveness. Two differentiated driving modes (Normal and Sport) optimize the torque distribution and shift mapping.
For the Hawaiian launch program, I drew a Kona in Ultimate trim and an AWD configuration, sporting a Surf Blue metallic exterior finish and a patterned Black cloth interior. The base price was set $28,700., with the as tested price coming to $29,775., after adding options and Inland Freight and Handling costs. Later on my home turf, my tester was a 2019 Hyundai Kona with a Sonic Silver metallic exterior finish and a Black interior. It was also in Ultimate trim but in a FWD configuration. Its base sticker read $27,500., with the final sticker totaling $28,605.
Acceleration from the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-banger is satisfyingly adequate. On the other hand, when using the paddle shifters, engine braking power seems to be lacking in the regular drive mode. Entering the sport mode takes care of this issue, and engine braking is much more effective.
The ride quality is firm but comfortable, never appraoching a level of harshness. Handling characteristics lean to the sporty, fun side of the equation thanks to the motor driven, column mounted, power rack and pinion steering.
My test Kona was loaded with safety features, and connectivity and infotainment issues are well covered as well.
In the final analysis, the 2019 Hyundai Kona Ultimate FWD delivers good looks, pleasant surroundings, admirable performance and an attractive price point, especially when considering the impressive feature content level
SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Hyundai Kona Ultimate FWD
Base Price: $27,500.
Price as Tested: $28,605.
Engine Type and Size: 1.6-liter , DOHC, 16-valve Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT) with Gasoline Direct Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 175 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 195 @ 1,500-4,500 rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed EcoShift DCT (Dry) with manual shift capability.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / FWD
Suspension: Front –MacPherson Strut with coil springs, Gas-pressurized shock absorbers, advanced valving and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multilink with gas-pressurized shock absorbers, advanced valving and stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with 4-wheel, 4-channel, 4-sensor ABS, and EBD.
Tires: Goodyear Eagle Touring 235/45 R18 98V mounted on 5 large silver spoke separated by 5-small angled silver spokes with painted inner surfaces.
Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
Length Overall: 164.0 inches
Width: 70.9 inches
Height: 61.0 inches
Curb Weight: 3,344 lbs.
Turning Circle: 34.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 13.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 27 mpg city / 29 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.32
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.