Hyundai Kona (2018-2023) review - Interior, design and technology
The Kona has a sharp, distinctive look, with good levels of standard kit and an easy-to-use infotainment system
We're not about to deliver a verdict on how the Kona looks; that's for customers to decide. But there's no doubt that the car's exterior styling is going to split opinion. Hyundai is counting on it, in fact, because there's nothing worse in the image-conscious small SUV market than having a car that fails to provoke a reaction.
The Kona certainly errs towards the 'rugged' end of the baby SUV market. It has aggressive-looking headlights, complex body surfacing with plenty of creases, and swathes of black plastic around the wheelarches to give it at least the look of something that could go off road.
Hyundai facelifted the Kona for 2021, with reworked front and rear bumpers, slimmer LED headlights and a 40mm increase in overall length.
The facelifted model is offered with a more refined choice of exterior colours, which means no more outlandish 'Acid Yellow' paint and contrasting roof options. The standard 'Dive in Jeju' solid paint offers a turquoise hue, but after that the choice is one of darker grey, black, red and blue metallic and pearl finishes – with the ubiquitous solid white also on the options list for an extra £300. The entry-level SE Connect version of the Kona gets 17-inch alloy wheels, while all other trims receive 18-inch wheels.
Some fresh trim and new materials were also added to the cabin as part of the facelift, but they struggle to lift the ambience. Overall quality is good, but some might find the interior too dark.
The updated Kona comes as standard with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, plus an eight-inch central touchscreen in base SE Connect trim models or a 10.25-inch infotainment display if you upgrade to Premium or Ultimate spec. Go far enough up the range and you'll get some extra tech to make the front cabin feel a teeny bit more special; there's a head-up display, for example, which is still a relatively rare feature in this class.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The Kona's infotainment set-up is still one of the best compared to its rivals like the MG ZS and Vauxhall Mokka, offering clear graphics and quick responses to any inputs. The home page splits into either two or three modules, allowing both entertainment and detailed mapping functions to be shown at the same time.
Entry-level SE Connect cars include an eight-inch touchscreen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a rear-facing parking camera, while top-spec models feature a larger 10.25-inch display and an uprated eight-speaker Krell audio system.
In this review
- 1Hyundai Kona (2018-2023) reviewThe Hyundai Kona has funky looks and great on-board tech, although isn't as good to drive as the class leaders
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Kona isn't an involving drive, although chassis and suspension tweaks bring some welcome improvements to ride and handling
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Kona is competitively priced, with reasonable insurance costs and strong residual values
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThe Kona has a sharp, distinctive look, with good levels of standard kit and an easy-to-use infotainment system
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceHyundai has improved the Kona's ride quality, but it's not the most practical small SUV
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Hyundai Kona benefits from good standard safety kit, while impressive Driver Power ranking is also reassuring for owners