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I submit this review because ALL you see on the net is the top line Turbo versions reviewed. I replaced a 2007 Ford Edge with this little car. The Edge was a fine vehicle - big wagon. But my son needed a good reliable car and the Edge worked well for us for 3 years, so he gets it and I got the 2020 Kona SEL Plus. The Kona is a CAR to me. Not a CUV. I grew up with Pinto and Vega Wagons. Escorts in 5 doors. I test drove a Toyota Matrix once - not much difference other than the Kona has to be called a Crossover to sell? What makes this NOT be reviewed with VW Golfs and the like? We also have a 2020 Santa Fe Ultimate (?) wife's vehicle - has everything but turbo and AWD. My car is basically my commuter car for around 20 - 30 miles per day and quickie errands. THe Edge struggled to get to 19 in mixed driving. Kona is around 28 so far.

I am old enough that "boy racer" doesn't have appeal. Stop light bombing is of no value to me. So the Turbo whizbang DCT is of no interest. Nothing against anyone that does want that. But the DCT gets panned pretty much in the reviews. I don't need NAV to find work everyday. I can use the Android Auto if I need NAV on the display. To that end, we compared the blue link NAV with Android Aut and Google in the SF. Different ways of getting to the same palce. And Blue Link won't always tell you which side of the road the destination is on.

Nor do I need smart cruise. That is nice on the wife's SF when we take a trip, though. So the SEL plus checked the boxes for my car.

The 2.0 with AT is fine. I can hit 60 before I get in anyone's way. Usually without flooring it. (could be that Orange is the fastest color - LOL) Speed limit to work is no more than 55. Bringing it home up I-77, it held 79 mph with cruise on (+/- 2 mph) up and down hills. (33 mpg avg, btw) Better than the SF. It does occasionally struggle with the constant up/downs we have in NW NC. But that is any car with less than a V6 around here.

I can zip around town and bomb a backroad if I want. I like the semi manual trans option ("his & hers shifter" if you're old enough to remember that term). Handles nicely. Which brings me to a thing I have seen many times when these are reviewed - reviewers say the steering is twitchy and requires constant input. So I had my LKS set to warning only and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. However, when I set it to "normal" or "active", the car is making constant corrections, and then you correct, and the cycle goes on and on. If it seems like you are constantly correcting, try turning it to warning only. With it in normal or active, the car will mostly drive itself so long as I'm there for intersections. And it is much gentler and smoother than our SF. The SF will almost fight you if you try to change lanes without a signal.

AC is doing the best it can in the 90 degree weather of the last week. Stereo might not be quite as loud as the Edge (it had the factory good one). The EQ is a little different than the Edge which was dang good for my ears. But it does good enough. I can get it louder than I can sing so that's a good thing. LOL Bluesville and70s on 7 for me for reference.

I still don't care for the industrial polyester pants they call upholstery. My last two vehicles had leather. so that was a concession for the SEL plus. I can deal with the rest of the plastic. The old school manual handbrake is novel. Our SF has the electronic and last two cars were big enough to have a pedal. I have always liked the idea of small cars, However, the seats don't always fit my large person. The Tucson wife had before her SF had evil seats I thought. I couldn't wait for that car to go away. THe SF is very nice. The Kona fits me fine. Wife likes it as well. Surprisingly wide seats for a small car. Set it and forget it. no messing with seat memory or anything like that. My car. Very little sharing for this one. Can't attest to the heated feature yet.

No power liftgate option for any level, I think I read. Might be a consderation although the operation of hatch is pretty light compared to the Edge and our old Tucson. Oh yeah, it's tiny back there too. Not much room for much other than groceries. You're not going to Lowe's and bring home a weekend's worth of project materials like I could with the Edge. I put a STOVE in the back of the Edge with room around it for other junk going to storage. a 4' round dining room table once too. Kona? Never. The U in CuV should be a lower case letter. No factory hitch either for your bike rack, etc. Ther eis storage under the floor for a few items. And the cover up top will drop down and fit in the space on floor if you have like a tall skinny box (medium screen tv?) back there.

Halogen headlights are just ok. I'm trying to run over all the points I've seen here and on other places. We're old enough that we aren't out after dark that much, so no big deal. If we are on a trip, we'll be in the SF with LED lighting. We did drive the Kona up on the Blue Ridge Parkway for July 4 and the lights did fine after dark. We survived and had a good time. Not much else matters right? IF they are too dim for you, either upgrade or drive slower. Being this is a lease, I'll not be messing with it too much. Altough a set of silverstars might help?

What else? I tried to cover everything I have seen in reviews of the top lines. And some things I've seen on here. IF someone is looking for a review of a lower car, here ya go. And also, I am not the target for this car. Target market would be younger folks looking for a taste of adventure I guess? My step son likes theSubaru Crosstrek and this seems to beat it in other reviews. This seems to be a nice sporty little car that does a lot of things well in day to day life without having to make a lot of compromises. Highly recommended.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
pointless review of this car

Thanks. Pointless post to point that out.

When I was trying to find reviews before buying, I would have liked to have seen a review of a NON TURBO car, since Hyundai apparently only saw fit to release the Turbo version for review by the automotive press. I see you have a Turbo, so this review probably doesn't apply to you. But thanks for your comment. No surprise that folks like you are still out there.
 

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Thanks. Pointless post to point that out.

When I was trying to find reviews before buying, I would have liked to have seen a review of a NON TURBO car, since Hyundai apparently only saw fit to release the Turbo version for review by the automotive press. I see you have a Turbo, so this review probably doesn't apply to you. But thanks for your comment. No surprise that folks like you are still out there.
yeah i was thinking it and must've auto typed , didn't even realize I posted it, I erased it,
 

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Thanks for the review, Waterbug! I am in the market for an SEL PLus (have been for a while, but then COVID hit and there went savings for the car). I appreciate the thorough review of a non-turbo version. When the car first came out, I was like "yeah turbo"! However, as a city driver, and someone who gets caught in deep snow, I didn't want to deal with the DCT and lack of automatic torque converter.

I agree with you, I wish a non-turbo trim could have leather seats. Truly my only complaint.

You mentioned the speakers were just okay. Are they the premium Infinity speakers?
When you have a moment, would you be willing to provide an update on your experience?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey,

I guess an update is in order. As of this moring, 6158 miles, what is this 6 months. Still trouble free. Recently had first oil change and tires rotated. Had them swap the locking lug nuts for the regular ones. No recalls or anything. Nothing that felt like it needed checking.

As the car got a few more miles on it, it seems a little quicker to get up to speed - either the car or I learned how to accelerate better. LOL. When new it seemed a bit sluggish at around 30 mph, but that could've been where I was used to my old car. Still sporty enough for an older guy. I wouldn't dare try anything more than a smooth dirt road with it. That would be asking for getting it stuck.

I have not had it out in anything worse than rain - we haven'[t had enough slick weather to find out how it does.

The Infinity speakers are good enough I guess. The thing is, it doesn't go huge loud, but what it does remains pretty clear and not distorted all the way up. I listen to blues or classic rock on the Sirius and it stays clear all the way up. I don't think you're going to wake or annoy the neighbors with it. But it will go loud enough and stay clean to wail along with it. I'm guessing a stereo shop could make it even better if one were so inclined.

It steers itself nicely on the highway to work (LKA). It adjusts and remains in it's lane pretty well. It will try to keep you from killing yourself if you get too close to another vehicle. When the brakes apply automatically for the first time, it's kinda like the trans is falling out. But it's not - just the automatic braking kicking in. Just be careful trying to weave in and out of tight traffic.

Heated seats work well this winter so far. The SEL plus doesn't have any heated features that can be activated by the remote app. BUT, I have learned to turn the heat on when I get out at night. If I do that, the next morning when I remote start, it will be warm when I get in. I can turn on the seat heat then and be toasty in short order.

The My Hyundai app is not great. It works MOST of the time. But you do have to make sure the doors are locked according to the instructions. And recently, the app wouldn't log on. Turns out that it has a conflict with our home wifi. If I turn the wifi off before opening the app, it opens fine. But the wifi will not allow it to open. Hyundai blames ISP, ISP blames Hyundai. My wife's SF and daughter's Tucson also are quirky with the app.

One issue I have had is the head unit lost the time one morning and was acting weird. I reset it while driving - ball point pen in the little hole on the front. It reset and has been fine so far.

Storage space behind seats is minimal. AS advertised for adventuring - you can't take a lot with you. The way back will hold one large load of groceries and that's about it. Wife had a flat tire on her SF and to get the tire in to take for repair, I had to lay the seatbacks down. It's really tiny. Don't believe anything else. I did remove the rear headrests from seatbacks to [slightly] improve rear visibility in mirror.

Mileage is still great - 28+ overall average in 6000 miles. And it will achieve 33 pretty easily on the highway on longer jaunts in our hilly terrain. Still great fun to drive.

I love the Kona. However, when we took it in for service, my head was turned by a 2021 Elantra N line. Same basic platform. 50 more hp. But turbo and check the trans options - may not be for you. But Kona SEL PLus does everything well for a daily commuter car and short fun trip car. Would like to try it on a longer trip, but wife likes he SF for stuff like that; the extra features her SF has does make it a more comfortable vehicle for longer rides.
 
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