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If you’re in the market for a subcompact SUV, you’ve likely taken notice of the Hyundai Kona. It’s the perfect blend of bold styling, practicality, and car-like driving that many people want. While it is an excellent option overall, it has shortcomings like all models. Here are the reasons not to buy the Hyundai Kona.

A reason not to buy the Hyundai Kona is the standard engine

Side view of Cactus Fern 2022 Hyundai Kona
Cactus Fern 2022 Hyundai Kona | Hyundai

Both Car and Driver and Edmunds note that the Kona standard engine is weak. While underpowered doesn’t always equal bad, the standard option is too slow for the reviewers’ liking. Firstly, the SE and SEL models come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower. According to CAD, it takes 9.2 seconds to reach 60 mph, which is relatively slow. While these models are affordable, the higher trims are still fairly inexpensive and offer a much better engine.

Moreover, the Limited and N-Line models use a 195-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder. This engine comes paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and is noticeably quick-shifting and smooth while driving. CAD noted that it could get a bit wonky at lower speeds, like when driving in parking lots and traffic. Overall, the higher trims use a better engine but cost considerably more money. For comparison, the N-Line trim is about $5,000 more than the base SE trim.

The Hyundai Kona lacks cargo space

As CAD noted, if you’re upgrading from a sedan, you won’t have an issue with the Hyundai Kona‘s cargo space. However, it will feel tight if you’re downsizing from a larger SUV or crossover. The Kona could carry 14 carry-on suitcases, which is eight fewer than the Honda HR-V. That’s a pretty significant difference in suitcase carrying capacity. At 11:05 of the video, you can see how many banana boxes can fit inside, and the Kona is one of the lowest ranking models of its size.

Officially, it has cargo dimensions of 45.8 cubic feet behind the front row of seats. Next, it is reduced to only 19.2 cu—ft without putting down the rear seat, which is minimal compared to competitors. For example, the Honda HR-V has 58.8 cubic feet behind its front seats and 24.3 behind the back seat. That’s a pretty big difference when you try fitting those last few items in the trunk.

A low quality interior makes it feel cheap

2022 Hyundai Kona Electric interior, one of the reasons not to buy the subcompact SUV
2022 Hyundai Kona Electric interior | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

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The Hyundai Kona is an affordable subcompact SUV, so we don’t expect the interior quality to compete with Lexus or Genesis. However, it still has too many hard plastic panels, even compared to other similarly priced options. Over the years, big plastic panels have gone away in most vehicles due to their cheap feeling and look. Additionally, interior pieces like these will often fall off or have issues later down the road with frequent use.

This is one of the most significant issues with the interior of the Kona. It does have a sound infotainment system and more tech features than some would expect for a sub-$30,000 subcompact SUV, especially if you opt for the N-Line model with a tech package, which adds a lot to the vehicle.

Is the Hyundai Kona a good subcompact SUV?

In conclusion, the Hyundai Kona is an excellent option overall. Our main concerns are the slow standard engine, a lack of cargo space, and the low-quality interior. None of these are entirely detrimental to the subcompact SUV, and it’ll still get the job done for many people. However, other models like the HR-V excel in the same areas this SUV struggles. That’s why these are three reasons not to buy the Hyundai Kona.