2018 Hyundai Kona SEL Evaluate: Non-turbo 2.Zero is sluggish however saves cash

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The 2018 Hyundai Kona has definitely impressed us, no less than in its turbocharged, all-wheel-drive type. It makes wholesome energy — 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque — to hustle round city and up on-ramps. It additionally has a playful chassis and suspension that present responsive dealing with with minimal physique roll. However Hyundai additionally presents the Kona with a naturally aspirated 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder making simply 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. And it doesn’t matter what engine you select, in case you choose a front-wheel-drive Kona it will be saddled with a primitive torsion-beam rear axle as an alternative of the AWD’s unbiased multi-link setup. All of this seems like a recipe for catastrophe, however because it seems, the two.Zero-liter Kona is usually pretty much as good as its force-fed iteration, simply slower and cheaper.

Similar to the turbo Kona, the naturally aspirated fashions characteristic the identical distinct styling. It is not for everybody (although this editor fairly likes it), however you may by no means mistake it for anything. No different compact crossover suits so many creases, angles, gills and supplies onto one car. The naturally aspirated fashions, SE and SEL, do have smaller alloy wheels than the turbo variations, however the alloy wheels are an ordinary characteristic regardless. Inside, the inside is sort of similar as effectively, utilizing the identical plastics and a lot of the identical colours. You’ll have to make do with fabric seats, however that is OK in our e book as a result of the houndstooth upholstery is method cooler than the plain black leather-based seats of the Restricted and Final turbo fashions.

Journey and dealing with are additionally almost similar to the turbo all-wheel-drive Kona. The journey is on the stiff finish of compliant, the steering is fast, and turn-in is keen, although really feel is missing. There is not a lot physique roll, and you’ll carry a good quantity of pace in corners. Admittedly, the Turbo feels extra planted and assured in corners due to its rear multi-link suspension, however the non-turbo does not really feel unsettled on a bumpy, curvy street.

Kona SEL interior

There’s simply no getting round the truth that it is noticeably slower than the turbo Kona. Whereas the turbo engine will whisk you away pretty effortlessly on a wave of low-down torque, the naturally aspirated engine shall be buzzing away at excessive RPM to get you shifting. Whereas we’re grateful that the engine itself has a fairly deep observe and is pretty clean, once you ask for some oomph it will get fairly loud. Passing autos and operating up on-ramps could be a bit grating. Moreover, there’s no profit to selecting the two.Zero-liter engine over the turbo 1.6-liter unit for causes of gas financial system. Each engines produce the identical 30 mpg mixed EPA ranking for front-wheel-drive, and 27 mpg mixed for all-wheel-drive. Since turbocharged engines are typically much less gas environment friendly in real-world driving, we anticipate the non-turbo to have extra of an edge than the numbers point out. Even so, we want the two.Zero supplied extra of a profit.

For those who examine the non-turbo Kona to extra than simply its Turbo sibling, the image does not look so bleak. The subcompact crossover SUV phase is awash with pretty sluggish choices, so it is not just like the non-turbo is slower than most — it is simply that the Turbo is pretty fast. Similar with gas financial system. For instance, the Honda HR-V’s and Mazda CX-Three‘s most fuel-efficient fashions return 31 mpg mixed, only one above the front-drive Kona. The Toyota C-HR solely manages 29 mpg mixed, as does the Crosstrek, although the Crosstrek does it with all-wheel-drive. Amongst American small crossovers, the Trax manages 28 with front-drive, the Renegade can hit 26, and the EcoSport’s finest is a disappointing 24. And of those autos, the two.Zero-liter Kona has extra energy than HR-V, CX-Three, Trax and C-HR, however barely lower than the Renegade, Crosstrek and the two.Zero-liter EcoSport. The underside line is the Kona is mid-pack in each punch and frugality.

There may be one space during which the naturally aspirated Kona has a bonus over the Turbo iteration, and that is in worth. Offered that you are able to do with out lots of the premium options discovered on the turbo fashions, you will get a Kona SE for as little as $20,480, which is $5,200 lower than the base-model Turbo, the front-drive Kona Restricted at $25,680. And in case you do resolve you need a lot of these options, you will get the Kona SEL for $22,130, which provides niceties corresponding to heated entrance seats, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, keyless entry and begin, heated aspect mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Transferring as much as the SEL with the Tech Package deal provides the Restricted’s fog lights, eight-way energy seats, sunroof, lane-keep help and ahead collision help. It ups the value to $23,630, however that is nonetheless about $2,000 lower than the Restricted, which simply provides leather-based, chrome and the turbo powertrain. So in case you’re advantageous with out the additional energy, it can save you hundreds of on the Kona and nonetheless get almost all of the options that make it nice.

General, even with much less energy than its turbo twin, the two.Zero-liter, front-drive Hyundai Kona is true on par with the competitors in gas financial system and energy. Nevertheless it gives worth proposition in comparison with the Kona Turbo due to a cushty journey, perky dealing with, a great deal of model, and most of its characteristic content material, all at a lower cost level. That is a winner in our e book.

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