Here Are Used Hyundai Kona Years to Avoid and Reliability Problems They Have

Patrick Oziegbe
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Are you in the market for a used Hyundai Kona, a smooth subcompact crossover SUV from the stable of the globally known auto maker, Hyundai?

Before you hit the road, buckle up and brace yourself for a bumpy ride. Not all Kona models are created equal, and you don’t want to be caught in a lemon.

But don’t worry; I have you covered. You’ll be cruising in style by identifying the model years to avoid and knowing what to look for.

Our intensive research discovered that the 2018 model year is one to steer clear of due to a faulty engine and other pesky problems that can pop up at low mileage.

On the other hand, the 2020 and 2021 models have been praised for their impeccable reliability ratings. So, fasten your seatbelt, and let’s take a closer look at the Kona lineup and more guides from us.

Hyundai Kona Used Years to Avoid

Hyundai Kona Years to Avoid
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

First, let’s clear off the wrong spot – the few model years you should be cautious of.

The 2018 and 2019 models have experienced issues that may impact their reliability and overall value.

Engine and Transmission Issues

The 2018 Kona faced some engine and transmission problems, with the 2020 model also receiving low ratings in the same area.

Specifically, the dual-clutch transmission and the four-cylinder engine are known to cause issues. To avoid future problems, you might want to consider other model years.

Electrical Problems

Hyundai Kona models have also reported electrical problems, particularly those produced in 2019 and 2020. Some examples of these issues include malfunctioning dashboard electronics and vehicle speed control problems.

When considering a used Kona, it is essential to thoroughly inspect the car for any signs of electrical problems or have a trusted mechanic do so on your behalf.

Consumer Complaints

Remember that the first-generation Kona models (2018 and 2019) have received higher consumer complaints.

Since these were the initial years of the model, it’s not unusual for automakers to work out some kinks and improve their designs in subsequent years. For this reason, it’s often better to opt for a more recent model year with fewer complaints.

Common Issues

When considering a used Hyundai Kona, remember that some common issues are reported across multiple years. These may include:

  • Limited cargo space: With only about 19 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, there may be better choices than the Kona if you require a generous amount of storage.
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ratings: While the Kona has received good ratings from the IIHS, its headlights have been rated as “marginal” or “poor.” It might be a concern if nighttime visibility is a priority for you.
  • Automatic transmission hesitation: Some owners have reported a slight delay when accelerating with the automatic transmission. Though not a significant issue, it might be something to remember during test drives.

By staying informed of these potential problem areas and being cautious of specific used Kona model years, you can make a more educated decision when purchasing a pre-owned Hyundai Kona.

Hyundai Kona Best Years Model

And here is the GOOD news – the most reliable and best years for Kona SUV:

Affordable and Reliable Choices

The 2018 and 2019 models are widely recognized as the best choices for affordable and dependable Hyundai Kona model years.

The 2018 Hyundai Kona, being the first model year, had fewer issues than some of its newer counterparts.

Meanwhile, the 2019 Hyundai Kona maintained these reliable qualities while introducing vehicle improvements.

Here are some key reasons for choosing these models:

  • Less reported problems than the 2019 and 2020 models because these years had more issues,
  • Establishing a solid reputation in a short time since the Kona was first released in 2017, quickly becoming popular,
  • Affordability due to slightly older models and proven reliability.

Check out the excellent news about tech and features:

Latest Technologies and Features

The Kona’s best model years offer a good balance between the latest automotive technology and the advantages of previous-generation models.

Here are some standout features and upgrades of these model years:

2018 Hyundai Kona

  • A choice between a 2.0L MPI Atkinson engine and a 1.6L Turbo-GDI engine
  • Available all-wheel drive (AWD) with a multi-link rear suspension
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all trims
  • Impressive fuel economy, with up to 33 MPG on the highway

2019 Kona

  • The introduction of an all-electric Kona with an EPA-estimated range of 258 miles
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and Lane Keeping Assist now standard on all trims
  • Improved sound insulation for a quieter cabin experience

These best Kona model years provide reliable and technologically advanced vehicle affordability and great features.

Hyundai Kona Overview

Hyundai Kona Models and Trim Levels

There are several trim levels to choose from, which might make it easier to find the perfect match for your lifestyle.

Some of the available trims include:

  • SE: The base model features standard features such as a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
  • SEL: Adds features like heated front seats, keyless entry, and blind-spot monitoring.
  • Limited: Provides additional amenities such as leather upholstery, sunroof, and LED headlights.
  • Ultimate: Including premium features like an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, ventilated front seats, and a head-up display.

Kona Electric and Hybrid Versions

Besides the conventional gasoline-powered models, the Hyundai Kona is also available as an electric vehicle (Kona Electric) with an impressive driving range and environmentally friendly performance.

The Kona Electric comes with an EPA-estimated range of 258 miles on a single charge, making it a competitive choice among electric SUVs. However, it’s worth noting that there isn’t currently a hybrid version of the Kona available.

Safety Features and Active Safety Technologies

Your safety is paramount when considering a new vehicle, and the Hyundai Kona offers an array of safety features and active safety technologies. Some noteworthy features include:

  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist: Utilizes radar sensors and cameras to warn you of an impending collision and can apply the brakes automatically if necessary.
  • Lane Keeping Assist: Helps ensure you stay within your lane by providing gentle steering corrections when you unintentionally drift out of your road.
  • Smart Cruise Control: Automatically adjust your speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
  • Driver Attention Warning: Monitors your driving behavior and alerts if it detects drowsiness or inattentiveness.

These safety features, combined with the available trim options and the electric version of the Kona, make it a diverse and appealing choice for those in the market for a small SUV.

Comparisons with Other Hyundai SUVs

Kona vs Hyundai Venue

When comparing the Hyundai Kona with the Hyundai Venue, it’s essential to understand their place in the Hyundai lineup.

The Kona is a subcompact crossover SUV, while the Venue is a slightly smaller SUV that sits below the Kona in the lineup.

Regarding space, the Kona offers slightly more interior room than the Venue. However, the Venue tends to have higher EPA-estimated numbers when considering fuel efficiency. Both vehicles come with many standard features, such as:

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Driver Assistance Technologies
  • Infotainment Systems

However, the Kona offers a turbocharged engine option, which the Venue does not. Both vehicles are reasonably reliable, but if you’re considering a used Kona, consider avoiding the 2018, 2019, and 2020 models due to higher reported electrical and powertrain problems.

Kona vs Hyundai Santa Fe

Comparing the Kona to the Santa Fe showcases an essential difference in size and position within the Hyundai lineup.

The Santa Fe is a midsize SUV more extensive than the Kona. The Santa Fe features distinct advantages in terms of interior space, comfort, and available features, such as:

  • Larger Cargo and Passenger Capacities
  • More Powerful Engine Options
  • Comfortable and Upscale Interiors

Though the Kona has less space than the Santa Fe, it boasts more competitive starting prices and better fuel efficiency.

Both SUVs offer value-packed features and safety technologies, but if you need more space and comfort than what the Kona provides, the Santa Fe might be a better choice. Here are the Hyundai Santa Fe best years to buy!

Maintenance and Buying Tips

Test Drive Recommendations

As we would do to any used vehicle and even a brand new one, it’s essential to go for a test drive while shopping for a used Kona SUV.

It will give you a better understanding of the car’s performance, comfort, and overall quality. When test-driving a Kona, pay attention to the following:

  • Observe the car’s acceleration and how smoothly it picks up speed
  • Test the responsiveness of the braking system
  • Ensure the steering feels precise and well-weighted
  • Check for any unusual noises or rattles while driving
  • Evaluate comfort levels for both front and rear passengers

Routine Maintenance

Proper maintenance is crucial for keeping your Hyundai Kona running smoothly and preserving its long-term value.

Here are some routine tasks to perform:

  • Regular oil changes: Follow your owner’s manual for the recommended oil change intervals,
  • Tire rotations and alignments: Rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles and align wheels every 15,000 to 20,000 miles,
  • Fluid checks: Check and top up coolant, brake, and power steering fluids regularly,
  • Check belts and hoses: Inspect for any signs of wear or damage,
  • Air filter replacement: Replace the air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles or as suggested by your Hyundai dealer

Car Care Tips

Taking care of your Hyundai Kona will ensure optimal performance and extend its lifespan. Here are some car care tips to follow:

  • Wash your car regularly to prevent dirt and grime build-up
  • Wax the exterior at least twice a year to protect the paint and keep it looking new
  • Keep an eye on tire pressure and adjust as needed for fuel efficiency and reduced tire wear
  • Avoid excessive idling to prevent engine wear
  • Store your car in a garage or use a car cover to protect it from the elements whenever possible

Finally, we hope our recommendations and guidance should give you more confidence to prepare yourself, then pick a suitable Hyundai Kona once you hit the market and dealership.


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