2024 Hyundai Kona N-Line

PHOENIX — Originally introduced and launched for the 2018 model year, Hyundai Kona, the subcompact crossover gets fully redesigned for its 2nd generation 2024 model year. The new Kona is larger with a dramatic new "love it or hate it" exterior styling, a roomier interior that offers an adult-friendly rear seat and significantly more cargo room.

Offered in a choice of four trim levels, tested here was the mid-range N Line — the sportiest and second-highest of the Hyundai trims. If the first generation Kona was considered a carousel of funky-mixed aesthetics from soft contours to its massive grille and overabundant plastic cladding, consider the 2024 Kona looks......weirder.

Up front the new Kona features an unbroken slit of LED running lights high on its snub nose with headlights slotted nearly into the front fender flares, a look unique even to other uniquely styled Hyundai products. Side styling is somewhat reminiscent of Hyundai's bizzaro IONIQ 5 EV but there the similarities end. Out back, things get even stranger and we're not talking about the similar unbroken slit of a taillamp running across the entire rear lift gate and into the rear fenders. Taillamps and backup lights appear misplaced located low and into the and around the fenders. The 19-inch wheels look fantastic as does the big honking spoiler mounted atop the lift gate.

Unlike its predecessor, the new N Line is a show-not-go appearance treatment, so there is no mechanical or suspension differences between the N Line and the other three trims. Where the outgoing Kona N was powered by a 286-horsepower 4-cylinder that bursted with acceleration and power, the N Line here brings just 190 horsepower and 195- lb-ft of torque to play with the 1.6-turbocharged 4-cylinder with standard front-wheel drive or — for $1,500 more — Hyundai's HTRAC AWD system that powers all four wheels. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard either way.

We found the engine to be perky but nothing near the outgoing Kona N. It works decent as an urban runabout with ample performance for highway travel and passing. The ride is smooth and mostly quiet, the suspension errs on the side of slightly firmand holds all road surfaces with confidence. But this is no canyon carver and when pushed hard it reminds you that its sporting looks is for show not performance.

Inside, the roomy interior is fitted with N Line sport seats with grippy, suede-like inserts. An 8-way driver seat is standard, ditto for for heated front seats. Blind spot monitoring and collision-avoidance warnings are standard on all trim levels, same for rear cross-traffic alert and pedestrian detection.

Overall, whether or not you might like its new styling, most will find the new Kona a satisfying experience that's comfortable, easy to drive and live with and a solid choice for most who commute to work with weekend practicality for groceries, gear, the dog and a couple of kids. It's noticeably improved over the outgoing Kona and with all the new conveniences it's priced affordably.


Base Price: $32,150
Price as Tested: $33,595
Engine: 1.6-Liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, delivering 190-hp and a195 ft-lb of torque via an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel Economy: 24/29/26 - mpg, City/Highway/Combined

Where Built: Ulsan, South Korea

Competes With:
Buick Envista
Chevrolet tTailblazer
Chevrolet Trax
Honda HR-V
Kia Seltos
Kia Soul
Mazda CX-30
Nissan Kicks
Subaru CrossTrek
Toyota Corolla Cross

Crash Test Safety Ratings: Highest Possible 2024 Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Fully restyled for 2024
Roomy interior
Decent fuel economy

Styling may be too quirky for some
Could use more horsepower

— Jim Prueter