Excellent Value. SE/SEL Engine feels weak on hills
April 18, 2019
Test drove a few different trim levels (AWD) at the local dealership including the Ultimate Iron Man model.
I was amazed by the features at all trim levels. The only things I noticed is that the 2L engine feels a bit anemic on steep hills and mountainous terrain (with sport mode off), obviously sport mode made a significant difference as well. If you don't plan on driving Vail Pass on a regular basis, the SE and SEL versions are more than sufficient and fuel efficient. All engine types feel a little sluggish from a stop, but this is minor and easily compensated for. The Select and Ultimate versions feel significantly more sporty, with good acceleration and handling. The HUD on the Ultimate version is cool, yet I don't see much value added for the cost between the Limited and Ultimate.
I'm 6'3 and fit comfortably in the driver's seat. There was sufficient feedback through the wheel, yet the steering feels a little heavy, but is still very responsive. The Kona takes corners really well, almost exactly what one would expect from a vehicle that is half-sedan-half-SUV.
Back seats fit two tall adults comfortably for about 60 minutes, but may be difficult for long road trips. The electronics give a luxury feel to what is otherwise a solid budget mini-SUV.
I'm impressed with the safety features offered on all trim levels. Will likely end up buying the Limited, but the SE and SEL versions are totally sufficient if you aren't planning on regularly driving over steep interstate mountain passes.
Can't beat the warranty or price point for what you are getting.