2019 Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona is named after a region of Hawaii. True to its name, the Kona looks like a beach cruiser or something you'd see zipping around the tropics. You can get your subcompact hatchback Kona whether you live in Honolulu or Hartford. In this preview guide, we'll let you know what to expect from the forthcoming 2019 Hyundai Kona, as well as an overview of the Kona model, which debuted in 2017.

What's New for 2019?

The biggest news is that the Hyundai Kona can now be bought as an electric car. The Kona Electric debuted in foreign markets last year and will soon be available in the United States. With one of the biggest batteries on the market, a 64.0-kWh, the Kona Electric should be able to run circles around most of its competition. The EPA estimates the Kona Electric will have a range of 250 miles and get 117 miles per gallon equivalent, which are better numbers than those of both the Chevy Bolt and the Nissan Leaf. And the Kona Electric is no wilting wallflower either. Its 201-horsepower engine delivers 290 pound-feet of torque, and it can go from zero to 60 in just 7 and a half seconds.

The non-electric Kona is also getting upgrades, including new standard safety features and minor shuffling of features. Ultimate-trim safety exclusives like automatic emergency braking and collision warning, lane-departure assist, and driver attention warning are now standard on every single trim level. And the Kona can be ordered in new exterior color called Sunset Orange. Finally, the 12-volt power outlet is being replaced with dual USB charging ports.

2019 Hyundai Kona on the Road

One of the Best of the Minicars

Take our word for it, the Hyundai Kona is one of the best subcompact cars on the market. As long as you like the divisive exterior, the Kona won't let you down. The Kona has the best engine in the class, an optional 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine delivering 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Those are great numbers for a car this size. Plus, sporty handling makes it a joy to drive.

We bet you'll be impressed with the features on even a base Kona. To wit, there's a 7-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a bunch of standard safety features. And though it might look like a tropical cruiser, the Kona can be outfitted with all-wheel drive together with a sophisticated rear suspension design and lockable center differential. What does that mean? It means you'll be better off than most on icy and snowy roads.

The 2019 Hyundai Kona starts at just $20,970, a very modest bump from the previous year. The top of the line is the Kona Limited, which starts at just $28,480. Add advanced all-wheel drive for just $1,400. We recommend the SEL trim with its optional tech package for $24,180 for the most bang for your buck. Get it, and get driving.