Ratings and Review: Loaded with personality and fun to drive, the 2018 Hyundai Kona is an impressive mini-SUV

Hyundai is serving a new flavor of SUV, and I’ll call it “Konalicious.” Ingredients include more power, more quality, and more technological sophistication than you’d ever expect in an entry-level vehicle, combined with a mix-and-match menu of toppings that help you to personalize one to your budget and tastes. The result is the 2018 Hyundai Kona, one of the best subcompact crossover SUVs money can buy.

I’ve previously reported on the Kona, based on two days of driving it on the Big Island of Hawai’i (about seven weeks before Pele began spewing lava across the southeastern section of it). This spry little guy really grew on me, but a full week-long test at home was necessary to make sure that trade winds, aqua waters, sandy beaches, swaying palms, and shave ice hadn’t colored my impressions.
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My test vehicle was nearly identical to the one I drove on Hawai’i. It came in Ultimate specification, with all-wheel drive. The difference was the Lime Green paint with matching Lime Green interior accents. My 7-year-old loved it. I’d probably choose something less trendy and more likely to help the Kona retain its resale value.

Having now subjected the Kona to a daily routine including runs to the elementary school, the grocery store, and the coffee shop, as well as a thorough evaluation on my usual testing loop, I am more convinced than ever that this Hyundai is the first truly compelling competitor for the segment-dominating Subaru Crosstrek.

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