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The 2020 Hyundai Kona Is a Superb First Car

The Hyundai Kona is an urban city crossover that I believe would make for a great first car for your child to learn how to operate a motor vehicle.


I recently reviewed the 2020 Hyundai Kona, and I was genuinely impressed with what you got for the money. Right of the bat, this is a brand-new car that comes with a decade long warranty, so you don’t have to worry about it for a long time. There is an extensive list of standard features and some convenient optional features as well. Let’s take a more in-depth look into why the Kona makes sense as a first car.

What you get with the 2020 Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona starts at a reasonable $20,300 for the base SE model. For that kind of money, you get the 2.0l port-injected four-cylinder engine producing 147 HP. Only the Limited and Ultimate trim get the 1.6l Turbo GDI motor, which puts out 175 HP. For a child driving for the first time, they won’t need this motor, nor do I, as I would also go for the regular 2.0l. The 2.0l engine gets 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway.

For an additional $1,400, you can get AWD with the Kona on the base SE trim. This option turns the Kona into a highly versatile all-rounder car. I drove the SEL Plus model with FWD, which drove excellent, but it is nice to know you have AWD as an option. The most significant change for the AWD Kona is the addition of a Multi-Link rear suspension, which is far superior to the torsion beam rear suspension you get with the FWD version. This suspension set up will help the Kona handle better and ride better in the rear, another great attribute to see in this class of small SUVs.

You do get some safety tech as standard in the base SE trim like Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Avoidance-Assist. You have to step up to the SEL trim to get the Blind Spot Monitoring System, but honestly, your kid should learn how to drive without this stuff. Something your kid would love to see is their very own 7” touchscreen, which also comes standard, and this screen also has Apple Carplay and Android Auto built-in.

Driving the 2020 Hyundai Kona

Now driving wise, the 2020 Kona truly impressed me. I didn’t think such a small vehicle could be so refined. Yes, this is very similar to the 2020 Hyundai Elantra; however, the slightly higher ride height gives the Kona a superior ride but remains extremely quiet. The standard 2.0l four-cylinder engines get mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, which reacted smoothly to all my inputs and gave the car an appropriate amount of thrust.

Despite my test vehicle being a FWD torsion beam suspension example, the car still handled extremely well since Hyundai put a lot of effort into the rigidity of the chassis. The handling dynamics might also be due to the low curb weight of the 2020 Hyundai Kona; the vehicle weighs a mere 2,900 lbs. Not bad, about the same as a Porsche Boxster.

2020 Hyundai Kona Interior and Conclusions

In the 2020 Kona, you will see hard-touch plastics used, but when you sit in the cabin, you understand the solidity, and how well put together the Kona is. There is ample storage space throughout the interior for water bottles, phone storage, etc. The rear seats are tight, and that is my primary complaint with the Kona. You do have to be under 6 ft. Tall to be comfortable in the rear, but the headroom is not an issue. Trunk space is also ample and can fit most anything they need to cram into a college dorm room.

2020 Hyundai Kona Trunk

I like the Hyundai Kona as a package and not just because it’s cheaper than its rivals. I love the Kona because it even exceeds its competitors in specific areas like comfort and refinement. And with a 10-year warranty, you can sleep well at night.

Click here to see the difference between the 2020 Hyundai Kona and the 2020 Hyundai Venue.

Kevin Meyn is an automotive journalist for Torque News concentrating on Hyundai content. Kevin is the founder of Exhaust Sports Auto Youtube channel, where he does professional car reviews on new and used vehicles. Through the use of various resources and extended Automotive expertise, Kevin documents the latest in automotive news revolving around Hyundai. Kevin graduated from NC State University studying Supply Chain Management but has had a passion for cars since he was a child. Follow Kevin on Twitter and Instagram @exhaustsports.