After making a big splash in the market a few years ago the Hyundai Kona makes us wonder which is the better value, new or used?
When the 2018 Hyundai Kona arrived on the scene it helped solidify the brand’s place as a force to be reckoned with. Now, it’s getting more power, more speed, and even more interior features for the 2022 model year. With a top trim price under $30,000, it’s an incredible bargain. The only car we could think of that might be a better deal is an older Kona that’s already had thousands knocked off because of depreciation. Today, we compare them head to head, new vs used, and determine which Kona is king.
In 2019, the Hyundai Kona entered its second year of production with four different trim levels and two main drivetrains that could employ front or all-wheel drive. The base engine made 147 horsepower while the more poky turbocharged engine made 175 horsepower. It was also an IIHS Top Safety Pick + and got a five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA. Pricing for a used 2019 Hyundai Kona sits around $24,000 on average depending on mileage, condition, and trim level.
The new 2022 Hyundai Kona costs anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000. It was not awarded a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, but did score well overall. The NHTSA did give it a five star crash test rating though. For 2022, the Kona still has the same 147 horsepower base engine that was used in 2019. It also gets two more powertrains though. The mid-range is a 195 horsepower turbocharged unit with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. At the top is a new Kona N model that gets a 276-horsepower engine. It also uses a dual-clutch, but has eight cogs. All wheel drive is optional on all Kona models except the N.
These two cars look the same and their base engines are the same. That makes them very tough to differentiate at the base level. Buyers looking for the 2.0-liter version will be more inclined to go with the used Hyundai Kona since it feels nearly identical. Beyond that though, the driving experience becomes very different.
The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine from each one works similarly, but the new 2022 version makes 20 more horsepower and it’s easy to feel. It’s punchy and engaging. It even sounds fantastic considering it displaces less air than a 2-liter bottle of Coke. The dual-clutch transmission is outstanding as well and snaps off shifts in both directions better than basically every one of its competitors.
Then there’s the new Kona N. It’s so new that very few have had the chance to experience it. Still, it uses the same drivetrain from the spectacularly good Veloster N. It’s not nearly as good at handling sharp corners, but let’s not forget that we’re talking about a crossover SUV. When it comes to engagement behind the wheel, we’re not sure any other brand can keep up anymore.
Despite a refresh for the 2022 model year, these two Hyundai Kona models feel pretty similar inside. The used Hyundai Kona gets a 7-inch touchscreen as standard and can be upgraded to 8-inches. They all offered Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The 2022 edition gets the same screens with an updated buttonless bezel. They also have a larger 10.2-inch screen that’s available.
The seating feels identical. The N and N-Line trims as well as the Limited trim feels the best with solid bolstering and good thigh support. The steering wheels are similar and overall the trim throughout the interior is fantastic at this price point. The biggest difference is the driver information screen in the 2022 model. It’s bright, big, and just makes the whole car feel more modern.
Cargo space is identical between these years. That is to say that it lags behind other brands like Honda or Ford. If you’re buying a crossover for storage space, the Kona might not be for you. To remedy the concern, Hyundai does provide a ton of smaller spaces throughout the rest of the interior.
For 2019, the used Hyundai Kona came in four trims. The base trim, SE, came with 16-inch wheels, AC, automatic headlights, and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. The next level up is the SEL and it gets larger 17-inch wheels, heated front seats, and an HD radio. Go for the Kona Limited, and you’ll get 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, leather upholstery, and the more peppy 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. The range-topping Kona Ultimate gets a larger 8-inch infotainment screen, a wireless charging pad, and forward-collision mitigation. Every Kona from 2019 is front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is also available. They all came with automated emergency braking, lane-keep warning, and available automatic high-beam headlights.
In 2022, the Kona comes with five different trims. The SE comes with all of the same features from 2019, but also gets forward collision mitigation and lane departure mitigation. The SEL adds remote start, tinted rear windows, and roof rails. A convenience package can add heated front seats, automatic climate control, and a sunroof. The N Line adds the 195-horsepower engine, unique 18-inch wheels, a 10.2-inch infotainment system, and upgraded cloth upholstery. Then the Kona Limited gets leather upholstery, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, and rear USB ports. The Kona N gets 19-inch wheels, an electronic limited-slip differential, bigger brakes, and a 2.0-liter turbo engine with 276 horsepower.
At the end of the day, a brand new Hyundai Kona feels like the better deal right now. Not only does it come at a very small premium over a used model, but the benefits are vast. It has more features, more power, and more trims to choose from. Then there’s the warranty that is honestly so good that other brands should be embarrassed. Used Hyundai Kona models still have a great second-hand warranty, but nothing beats 10-years or 100,000-miles of powertrain coverage.