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2022 Hyundai Kona Active review

At approximately $32,000 drive-away, the Hyundai Kona Active is in the sweet spot if you’re chasing value. Is it missing anything critical?

  • Funky styling
  • Kid-friendly leather trim at this price point
  • Component driveline
  • Ride quality suffered on poorer sections of road
  • Basic interior scheme
  • Glitchy infotainment

It’s true there’s a Hyundai Kona to suit everyone.

At the entry level, cars like the 2022 Hyundai Kona Active offer safe and solid transport from just $28,500 plus on-road costs. Coming with a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine with 110kW/180Nm and CVT auto, its powertrain is as honest as the price.

More seriously, however, it’s equipped with useful things like active lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, which is great to see for the price.

Before we discover more about it, it’s worth seeing what the rest of the range offers first. If you want the same rudimentary powertrain but with more technology and style, you can move up to the 2022 Hyundai Kona Elite or Highlander from $31,900 or $38,300 respectively, before on-road costs.

Both add things like bigger wheels, sunroofs, heated and ventilated seats, plus premium sound systems, so tally up your actual needs/wants before going shopping.

If you want more power, there’s also the 2022 Hyundai Kona N Line and N Line Premium. Priced from $36,600 and $42,700 plus on-road costs each, they bring a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine with 146kW/265Nm, all-wheel drive, quick-firing seven-speed dual-clutch and other sporting touches.

And if you’ve completely lost the plot, there’s the 2022 Hyundai Kona N starting from $48,000 before on-road costs. It’s a strange hot-hatch-esque, track-day-ready machine that has the potential to embarrass plenty other ‘high-performance’ cars in the right environment, at least for driver fun.

As I said, there’s one for all, but our test car is pretty much the most garden-variety Hyundai Kona on sale today, with only the entry-level model (simply badged Kona) below it. Extras include a $595 charge for Dark Night grey paint, bringing its drive-away price to $32,784 in metro New South Wales.

Let’s see if it’s the one for you.

Key details 2022 Hyundai Kona Active
Price (MSRP) $28,500 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Dark Night
Options Metallic paint – $595
Price as tested $29,095 plus on-road costs
$32,784 drive-away (Sydney)
Rivals Mazda CX-3 | Mitsubishi ASX | Toyota C-HR

Inside, and at first glance, the 2022 Hyundai Kona looks smart.

The cabin is well built, the air vents feel nice and anything but flimsy, and the various plastics used look considered and quality. There’s even a leather interior, surprisingly, and one that’s perfect for a young family (think cleaning).

However, pry a bit deeper and it does begin to feel cheap. There’s a key to start the car, but also old-school manual air-conditioning, and a rather heavily bevelled stereo that just reveals how small your screen is versus everyone else’s.

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It’s not all bad, though. The electric handbrake is a nice touch and enables acres of smart storage in the lower centre console, including the most perfectly sized cubby holder ever: one that holds an iPhone sideways alongside a pair of sunnies.

It is auto-cabin ergonomic excellence and deserves a shout-out. There’s also wireless charging, two 12-volts and a USB port, and a pair of cupholders too.

The second row will fit two adults, but you’ll find your pointy bits a bit close to everything around you. Sitting behind my own seating position in the second row (I’m 183cm tall), I found my knees quite close to the seat backs, head clear of the roof, and overall comfort levels reasonable.

Three adults back here would be a stretch. With a Britax Graphene child seat fitted in a forward-facing position, the front passenger seat had to be adjusted forward slightly. The same goes for the seat in a rearward-facing fashion too.

There are no air vents here either, just some bulges in the doors to hold bottles and one single USB port. Boot space comes in at 374L, which is on the larger end of the scale for the class of vehicle.

It’s much bigger than what you’ll find in a 2022 Mazda CX-30 with 317L, but it’s not as big as the rear of a 2022 Mitsubishi ASX, which has 393L. A large stroller will take up most of the boot, but a compact one will allow for bags and groceries to slot in behind.

2022 Hyundai Kona Active
Seats Five
Boot volume 374L seats up
1156L seats folded
Length 4205mm
Width 1800mm
Height 1565mm
Wheelbase 2600mm

Infotainment and Connectivity

Managing infotainment inside the 2022 Hyundai Kona Active is an 8.0-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The system uses a nice software skin and is generally fuss-free to use; however, our test car saw Apple CarPlay drop out numerous times. Even with an up-to-date iPhone and then a secondary, different device tried, the system crashed once again.

We have asked Hyundai to update on the problem. Aside from that small bug, the system worked as intended and feels okay considering the price, if anything a little small in terms of overall screen size.

Included are AM/FM radio and Bluetooth with six-speaker audio, but you have to look higher up the range for features like satellite navigation, digital radio, and Harman Kardon-branded speakers.

There’s also wireless charging and one single USB port in the first row of seating.

All variants of the 2022 Hyundai Kona range are worthy of a five-star ANCAP rating with a ‘tested in 2017’ badge.

In terms of standard-fit advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), the 2022 Hyundai Kona Active features high- and low-speed autonomous emergency braking with car, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keeping assist with line and road edge detection, and adaptive cruise control.

It’s well equipped considering the price tag.

For similar money, the 2022 Kia Seltos Sport is a good distraction. It comes in a few different versions with optional safety packages, but inherently the car is a bit larger in the boot and second row, has keyless entry and a larger screen.

It can become costly if you take all the options, however.

Another choice is the 2022 Mitsubishi ASX LS priced from $31,490 drive-away. Again, it has a touch more equipment and slightly bigger boot, but isn’t the newest car in the world nor the most stylish.

At a glance 2022 Hyundai Kona Active
Warranty Five years / unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $957 (3 years), $1595 (5 years)

Maintaining a 2022 Hyundai Kona Active is an affordable affair. Pre-paid servicing is available, with a choice of three years/45,000km of scheduled maintenance for $957, or five years/75,000km for $1595.

In terms of fuel use, our test car used 7.1L/100km, just under a litre more than the official combined claim of 6.2L/100km. While not on the claim, 7.1L/100km is still a good result, and it’ll happily sip 91RON fuel too.

Fuel Useage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 6.2L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 7.1L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane regular unleaded
Fuel tank size 50L

The 2022 Hyundai Kona Active has a simple job to do, and that’s to offer a comfortable ride with safety dynamics.

I know it’s simple, but it’s actually quite hard to get right, especially if you want the car to have big wheels for showroom appeal. Luckily, this 2022 Hyundai Kona has smallish 17-inch alloys, but even then it’s tuned quite softly and calmly.

It’s pretty good at managing poor sections of undermined road or poor repairs, but the ride can become crashy on the large, more gnarly stuff. By crashy I mean bouncy and bumpy, and met with some noise from the suspension.

Other than that small interference, it’s a pleasant car to drive. Out on country lanes a few hours from Sydney’s CBD, it felt composed and honest despite the rather light-feeling steering.

The Nexen tyres could be better at higher speeds and in wetter conditions too. Its 2.0-litre engine is spot on for the package really, and even loaded up with a child, another adult and a decent amount of luggage, it continued to perform.

Despite the CVT transmission feeling stretchy and a little CVT-like at times, it really gets the most out of the little and humble naturally aspirated four-cylinder.

Keeping the engine at peak torque while the CVT does its thing means it feels anything but underpowered, if a little unusual and not like the last auto car you drove.

Even on the freeways its performance met and exceeded expectation, as overtakes in 110km/h zones didn’t require too much from the motor. The only real downside from having to task it in faster speed zones is noise, as the engine is quite thrashy in the cabin above 4000rpm.

It’s not the quietest cabin either, with some road noise coming through the wheel wells and entering the cabin, similar to Kia’s small SUV too.

Both brands have work to do in that regard, but in the case of this specific Hyundai Kona Active, I reckon those Nexen tyres are partly to blame too. 

Key details 2022 Hyundai Kona Active
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power 110kW @ 6200rpm
Torque 180Nm @ 4500rpm
Drive type Front-wheel drive
Transmission Constantly variable transmission (CVT)
Power to weight ratio 86kW/t
Weight (kerb) 1280kg
Tow rating 1300kg braked, 600kg unbraked
Turning circle 10.6m

As an honest and affordable small SUV for your family to share, it’s a hard one to go past. Others offer a bit more tech, or maybe more space, but the Hyundai Kona offers some ergonomic joys alongside fun styling.

The year-old facelifted version looks much smarter than the outgoing 2021 Hyundai Kona, and the fact the Kona Active offers leather trim at this price point will make a young family weak at the knees.

If you like the way it looks, you’ll like the way it drives too. It’s not underpowered, and its powertrain is adequate for the job.

If you care more for the small details, it’s worth considering both the 2022 Kia Seltos Sport and 2022 Mitsubishi ASX LS as two other comparable starting points on your small SUV buying journey.

Ratings Breakdown

2022 Hyundai Kona Active Wagon

7.6/ 10

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Budget Direct

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After more than a decade working in the product planning and marketing departments of brands like Kia, Subaru and Peugeot, Justin Narayan returned to being a motoring writer – the very first job he held in the industry.

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