By on February 1, 2018

2018 Hyundai Kona - Image: Hyundai

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.

2018 Hyundai Kona Rear - Image: Hyundai

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]

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23 Comments on “Hyundai Releases Kona Pricing, Positions Subcompact Crossover As Value Leader...”

  • avatar

    Not bad looking, and it’s a lot better looking than the Ecosport, which has failed to hack my life in any way.

  • avatar


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    How about I get an Elantra Sport instead, for $19K out the door with discounts, and enjoy better…everything?

    I get that SUVs tend to cost a significant premium over similarly-sized sedans, but the whole subcompact SUV movement just eludes me. Unless you’re older and need the easy ingress-egress or you need AWD, it seems like you compromise a whole lot for that ground clearance and cladding, versus a compact sedan costing the same.

    • 0 avatar

      Such sacrilege – expecting that people will select a NON-CUV?

      Sadly I predict that the existence of the Kona will only cause Elantra and Forte sales to slide.

    • 0 avatar

      But, it’s not CUV, Kyree…

      (the sads)

      For some reason, people want a car like this, and that includes my girlfriend, who is otherwise highly intelligent and sensible (certainly intelligent and sensible enough to have picked me as a man…but I digress). But she’s short, likes to sit up high, has come to believe AWD is a magic bullet in bad weather, and she doesn’t like Subarus, so when the time comes for something new, she’s probably going to end up with something like this.

      Makes no sense to me, but then again, she has no idea why I want a GTI.

      (And better this than an Encore.)

  • avatar

    closest thing we’ll get to a Citroen Cactus, though less interesting. But hey not a bad value if a cramped boring driving quasi-SUV is what you’re shopping for

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    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.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

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

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