Hyundai Releases Kona Pricing, Positions Subcompact Crossover As Value Leader

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

We’ll have to wait until Nissan releases pricing for its weirdly named Kicks before we can declare the 2018 Hyundai Kona the least-expensive subcompact crossover in America, but that’s the way it is for now.

The Korean automaker released its pricing list for the Kona on Wednesday, revealing a vehicle that undercuts every one its American and Japanese rivals in entry cost. Starting price for a Kona? $20,450 after delivery for a front-wheel-drive SE model.

That’s $195 cheaper than a base Honda HR-V, currently the best-selling subcompact crossover on the American market. The three-cylinder Ford EcoSport, which started sales in January, starts at $20,990 after delivery — a $540 difference. Compared to other competitors, the base Kona falls below the entry-level Mazda CX-3 by $635, the Chevrolet Trax by $1,545, and the Toyota C-HR by $3,045.

All of the crossovers listed are front-wheel-drive models powered by engines ranging from Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder to the 2.0-liter units found in the Kona, C-HR, and CX-3.

The Kona’s Atkinson-cycle base engine, found on SE and SEL trims, makes 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the engine’s only dance partner. Uplevel Limited and Ultimate trims gain a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, good for 175 hp and 195 lb-ft.

Adding all-wheel drive to a base SE brings the Kona’s after-delivery price to $21,750, just below that of a FWD Trax. (There’s incentives to be had on that model, though.) A better-equipped Kona SEL stickers for $22,100, or $23,400 is AWD is a must. If you can’t live with a vehicle unless its roof color contrasts with its body, throwing $150 at Hyundai nets you this feature on both SEL models.

Moving up the ladder, Limited models start at $25,650, with AWD variants rolling out the door for $26,950. Achieving the Ultimate means parting with $28,350, though going AWD adds another $1,300. This places the top-most Kona at just under the 30k mark— an important bar to stay below, considering the Kona’s place in the Hyundai food chain.

Shorter than a CX-3 and boasting 6.7 inches of ground clearance, the Kona arrives at U.S. dealers this spring. While the B-segment crossover market isn’t huge, Hyundai needs all the sales it can get. It also needs a presence in as many segments as possible.

After seeing a 14.3 percent drop in U.S. volume last year, Hyundai’s planning a crossover offensive over the next two years, with the Kona being the first out the gate.

[Image: Hyundai]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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7 of 23 comments
  • Stanley Steamer Stanley Steamer on Feb 01, 2018

    I fail to see the value in this car when a base Forester is only 2k more and 18" longer. They get the same mpg.

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    • Bd2 Bd2 on Feb 04, 2018

      @Russycle Not everyone cares for the form-factor of the Forester (which is basically a wagon). The Crosstrek would be the better Subie comparison. And one can say the same thing about every CUV in the subcompact class; the worst being the CH-R which is on the more expensive side despite being FWD-only.

  • Secret Hi5 Secret Hi5 on Feb 01, 2018

    Eagerly anticipating Sanjeev's Vellum Venom on this mess. (Mess being everything below the door-handle level)