Hyundai Kona Forum banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am looking to purchasing a KONA and I am not sure whether I should go for the AWD or FWD model. I kept reading many articles differentiating the two and explaining the benefits of AWD however I am still having a hard time figuring out what would be better for my use case.

I just moved to California and looking to live somewhere in the Santa Cruz mountains, so need something to drive up windy, mountain roads (most of them paved, but there will be the occasional gravel ones). I only drove small economy cars before in my life (I am also quite small hehe), but the rental company here gave me a Kona which I've been driving in the mountains for 2 weeks (in my house research). I absolutely love it, it's bigger than anything I drove before, but I really like that I am a bit higher up and not feeling as small between the huge cars in the US (I am coming from Europe where cars are smaller....). It drives like a small car and I felt quite stable in it on the windy mountain roads (it's a FWD model).

I will need the car for:
  • regular trips from the mountains to the city or beach every few days
  • exploring the mountain regions in california, sometimes going in more remote and uneven roads (i do like a good hike, and not sure what % of good hiking spots are reachable on paved roads)

In principle I don't anticipate driving in snowy or icy conditions too often if ever, but might be on gravel occasionally (as I am not a confident driver I will probably not go fully off-road unless it feels safe). The most important thing for me is to have a car that improves my confidence while driving, is easy to manouvre and feels stable on mountain roads. Would AWD give me that additional safety and stability or will it feel clunkier in turns?

Any help would be appreciated :)

Thank you,
Alexandra
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
If cost is not a terrible concern then AWD will have its benefits. When you’re going through a twisty mountain road the AWD will provide some extra traction…. The trade off for that is the car will feel slightly heavier, but I think you’ll appreciate the extra confidence having power to all four wheels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If cost is not a terrible concern then AWD will have its benefits. When you’re going through a twisty mountain road the AWD will provide some extra traction…. The trade off for that is the car will feel slightly heavier, but I think you’ll appreciate the extra confidence having power to all four wheels.
What do you mean by heavier, will I feel that it doesn't drive as smoothly? What I love about the FWD Kona I'm driving now is that it feels so easy to manouvre, it's also very responsive. Curious if the AWD will have the same feeling (I have a drive test on Friday but unfortunately because I am not insured yet I can't go in the mountains and have to drive a bit in the city with the dealer in the car).

Thank you so much for the response!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
What do you mean by heavier, will I feel that it doesn't drive as smoothly? What I love about the FWD Kona I'm driving now is that it feels so easy to manouvre, it's also very responsive. Curious if the AWD will have the same feeling (I have a drive test on Friday but unfortunately because I am not insured yet I can't go in the mountains and have to drive a bit in the city with the dealer in the car).

Thank you so much for the response!
Adding the AWD drivetrain system will add some 200 lbs to the car. It might not sound much, but in a small car like the Kona you CAN feel the difference if you drive them back to back. The FWD Kona will feel more nimble and agile on its feet relative to its heavier AWD sibling. The AWD will perform better in situations where the extra traction is beneficial, such as inclement weather or tight cornering situations.

Honestly, if you’re not going to see much snow and you’re not too concerned about carving canyon roads, the FWD might be a better choice for you. Let us know what you think after your test drive!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I bought an AWD Kona a few years back. A bit of snow in CT where we live. The reviews at the time said that the AWD and FWD have diffrernt rear suspensions because of the different drive trains, an the AWD is more comfortable. WE average 30mpg city and highway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
I was also debating between AWD and FWD when looking at the Kona as well. Ended up going with FWD. I do mostly highway driving in the midwest and take a trip or two out west a year. I wasn’t concerned about snow as I have always driven FWD cars through winter with minimal issues. A good set of winter tires on a FWD beats an AWD with all season tires in my opinion. Plus, I have a beater car for winters.

98% of the time in the Kona is highway driving, so it made sense to buy based on what I mainly use it for. FWD offers over 40mpg on average out here.

The other 2% I’m in the Kona on road trips out west (still mostly highway driving with a handful of remote mountain roads). When I find myself on a remote road where AWD is highly recommended or the road is scattered with large rocks and ruts, I’m not likely to even bother since the Kona doesn’t boast much ground clearance. I made the sacrifice here for that other 98% of my driving.

If you did anticipate finding yourself in snowy conditions in the mountains, AWD will have its benefits. Otherwise FWD would be more than enough. The Kona is not designed for off road use, but is more than capable on maintained mountain roads.
 

·
Registered
2021 Limited 1.6T AWD
Joined
·
66 Posts
I went with AWD because my family has an annual tradition of going to northern Michigan around christmas time to ski. Snow traction on hills are important for those several days. Besides, I travel between Indiana and NJ every month, including winter. There will be snow on the streets and highway during those months.

AWD reduces gas mileage by about 1mpg, but I think it’s worth the cost. I feel that it’s not a true crossover / SUV without AWD. If you have even a slight possibility of driving off-asphalt, I think AWD is worth it.

In my opinion the sister car Kia Soul is better if you don’t need AWD. It’s slightly cheaper, very close to the same size, has the same engine, but has more room for passenger & cargo due to the boxier shape.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I went with AWD because my family has an annual tradition of going to northern Michigan around christmas time to ski. Snow traction on hills are important for those several days. Besides, I travel between Indiana and NJ every month, including winter. There will be snow on the streets and highway during those months.

AWD reduces gas mileage by about 1mpg, but I think it’s worth the cost. I feel that it’s not a true crossover / SUV without AWD. If you have even a slight possibility of driving off-asphalt, I think AWD is worth it.

In my opinion the sister car Kia Soul is better if you don’t need AWD. It’s slightly cheaper, very close to the same size, has the same engine, but has more room for passenger & cargo due to the boxier shape.
Thanks for the response! I don't like the looks of the Kia Soul unfortunately. The other one I am seriously considering is the Mazda CX-3 (2021, which is AWD) as it's also small and people say it's easy to drive. I am still leaning towards Kona but gonna do a test drive with the Mazda as well to see how it feels.
 

·
Registered
2021 Limited 1.6T AWD
Joined
·
66 Posts
Thanks for the response! I don't like the looks of the Kia Soul unfortunately. The other one I am seriously considering is the Mazda CX-3 (2021, which is AWD) as it's also small and people say it's easy to drive. I am still leaning towards Kona but gonna do a test drive with the Mazda as well to see how it feels.
Between CX-3 and Kona, I would definitely go with Kona. The Kona is generally more reliable and it has longer warranty on top of it. The CX-3 is the smallest of all crossovers, because it’s based on the tiny Mazda 2. Despite having less internal room, the CX-3 is actually a couple of inches longer than the Kona, making it less easier to parallel park.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Between CX-3 and Kona, I would definitely go with Kona. The Kona is generally more reliable and it has longer warranty on top of it. The CX-3 is the smallest of all crossovers, because it’s based on the tiny Mazda 2. Despite having less internal room, the CX-3 is actually a couple of inches longer than the Kona, making it less easier to parallel park.
Yah, I somehow liked the more snugly feel of the CX-3, makes me feel safer 😅 However I feel like in the CX-3 the seat is a bit lower than in the Kona (I would likely need a cushion on the seat) so Kona will probably end up being the winner. Also I would need to get a pre-owned CX-3 (as the CX-30 is too big) whereas I can easily find a new Kona around here for the same price. It's a tough choice though as the interior design of Mazda is nicer.
 

·
Registered
2021 Limited 1.6T AWD
Joined
·
66 Posts
Yah, I somehow liked the more snugly feel of the CX-3, makes me feel safer 😅 However I feel like in the CX-3 the seat is a bit lower than in the Kona (I would likely need a cushion on the seat) so Kona will probably end up being the winner. Also I would need to get a pre-owned CX-3 (as the CX-30 is too big) whereas I can easily find a new Kona around here for the same price. It's a tough choice though as the interior design of Mazda is nicer.
The common theme is that Mazda is more stylish for the same price. As for safety, I feel that the bigger the car the safer, because there’s more room between me and the chassis. If you get a Kona with a power seat, it can be raised quite far. I’m not particularly short, but I enjoy better visibility in the tallest position, so I always cranked it up to the max.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Don't forget that with AWD you get the much better independent rear suspension which is head and shoulders better than the torsion beam in the FWD.

Pat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Yah, I somehow liked the more snugly feel of the CX-3, makes me feel safer 😅 However I feel like in the CX-3 the seat is a bit lower than in the Kona (I would likely need a cushion on the seat) so Kona will probably end up being the winner. Also I would need to get a pre-owned CX-3 (as the CX-30 is too big) whereas I can easily find a new Kona around here for the same price. It's a tough choice though as the interior design of Mazda is nicer.
CA's road closures are more restrictive than most states with snow. If you go to the mountains in winter, get AWD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Hello, I am looking to purchasing a KONA and I am not sure whether I should go for the AWD or FWD model. I kept reading many articles differentiating the two and explaining the benefits of AWD however I am still having a hard time figuring out what would be better for my use case.

I just moved to California and looking to live somewhere in the Santa Cruz mountains, so need something to drive up windy, mountain roads (most of them paved, but there will be the occasional gravel ones). I only drove small economy cars before in my life (I am also quite small hehe), but the rental company here gave me a Kona which I've been driving in the mountains for 2 weeks (in my house research). I absolutely love it, it's bigger than anything I drove before, but I really like that I am a bit higher up and not feeling as small between the huge cars in the US (I am coming from Europe where cars are smaller....). It drives like a small car and I felt quite stable in it on the windy mountain roads (it's a FWD model).

I will need the car for:
  • regular trips from the mountains to the city or beach every few days
  • exploring the mountain regions in california, sometimes going in more remote and uneven roads (i do like a good hike, and not sure what % of good hiking spots are reachable on paved roads)

In principle I don't anticipate driving in snowy or icy conditions too often if ever, but might be on gravel occasionally (as I am not a confident driver I will probably not go fully off-road unless it feels safe). The most important thing for me is to have a car that improves my confidence while driving, is easy to manouvre and feels stable on mountain roads. Would AWD give me that additional safety and stability or will it feel clunkier in turns?

Any help would be appreciated :)

Thank you,
Alexandra
I much prefer the AWD and a Turbo Kona. It's not heavy to me, it holds the curves better, it allows that extra power when needed, and you'll need it. I average 36 mpg on combo road trips... An AWD Turbo may hold it's value better as well. I'm 5'2" and being able to raise the seat higher is a huge plus. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I have a 2020 Kona with AWD, my daughter has a 2019 Kona with fwd. we live in the Midwest and get a fair amount of snow but that's not why I got the AWD as I have been driving fwd cars since the 80s and know how to drive in the snow. I test drove the AWD and drove my daughter's car on multiple occasions and liked the feel of the independent rearsuspension better for handling
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Hello, I am looking to purchasing a KONA and I am not sure whether I should go for the AWD or FWD model. I kept reading many articles differentiating the two and explaining the benefits of AWD however I am still having a hard time figuring out what would be better for my use case.

I just moved to California and looking to live somewhere in the Santa Cruz mountains, so need something to drive up windy, mountain roads (most of them paved, but there will be the occasional gravel ones). I only drove small economy cars before in my life (I am also quite small hehe), but the rental company here gave me a Kona which I've been driving in the mountains for 2 weeks (in my house research). I absolutely love it, it's bigger than anything I drove before, but I really like that I am a bit higher up and not feeling as small between the huge cars in the US (I am coming from Europe where cars are smaller....). It drives like a small car and I felt quite stable in it on the windy mountain roads (it's a FWD model).

I will need the car for:
  • regular trips from the mountains to the city or beach every few days
  • exploring the mountain regions in california, sometimes going in more remote and uneven roads (i do like a good hike, and not sure what % of good hiking spots are reachable on paved roads)

In principle I don't anticipate driving in snowy or icy conditions too often if ever, but might be on gravel occasionally (as I am not a confident driver I will probably not go fully off-road unless it feels safe). The most important thing for me is to have a car that improves my confidence while driving, is easy to manouvre and feels stable on mountain roads. Would AWD give me that additional safety and stability or will it feel clunkier in turns?

Any help would be appreciated :)

Thank you,
Alexandra
awd drive is a no brainer, independent suspension. get the 1.6 awd limited!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
The AWD costs more and is said to use 1 or 2 MPG more then the FWD. Kona FWD has a much more basic rear suspension torsion-bar versus independent for the AWD cars. If cost is the motivating factor then I'd FWD only if total city and highway driving as a second family car. Snow, heavy rain, dirt roads or anywhere traction may be in question AWD. The driving performance of the AWD with independent traction and suspension for me on curvy backroads makes sense over a stiff backend wagging behind. I have an AWD and the few times every winter or on an unimproved road with ruts even in heavy rain or a fast maneuver at highway speeds feeling a wheel slip only to be compensated by the others is worth the piece of mind. I like the sporty feel of the AWD and should you decide to put a Class I a trailer hitch (Kona is not rated for towing in USA) and take on a load AWD became my only choice. The resale of the AWD may factor in but I don't plan to ever sell mine as my last Subaru I had for almost two decades. Good luck on your choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
What do you mean by heavier, will I feel that it doesn't drive as smoothly? What I love about the FWD Kona I'm driving now is that it feels so easy to manouvre, it's also very responsive. Curious if the AWD will have the same feeling (I have a drive test on Friday but unfortunately because I am not insured yet I can't go in the mountains and have to drive a bit in the city with the dealer in the car).

Thank you so much for the response!
Go with the limited AWD. It has all the safety features, better stereo and of course AWD. My previous Hyundai was a 18 Elantra GT sport which was FWD. and many times I wished it had AWD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Heavier as if an extra you were riding in the back passenger seat of the Kona. Reading you are an "less experienced driver" you'll have to sample more viechile to get an understanding and appreciation of driving feel as it is subjective based on experience and what you are looking for. That is how the auto market works. In my opinion the AWD is going to be a little forgiving when you need stability and traction. Putting all co$t aside; I doubt you will hear evidence that a FWD is a better option or that with AWD you loose something. I'd agree if you can afford it get the fog lights as another safety feature along with AWD trim; think about it. Best of luck on your decision as I am only a typical driver of many years when RWD and 4WD were the majority of all the choices. When a manual transmission was called a standard. I long for the stick shift and clutch pedal, yet that is very subjective to my experiences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
I was also debating between AWD and FWD when looking at the Kona as well. Ended up going with FWD. I do mostly highway driving in the midwest and take a trip or two out west a year. I wasn’t concerned about snow as I have always driven FWD cars through winter with minimal issues. A good set of winter tires on a FWD beats an AWD with all season tires in my opinion. Plus, I have a beater car for winters.

98% of the time in the Kona is highway driving, so it made sense to buy based on what I mainly use it for. FWD offers over 40mpg on average out here.

The other 2% I’m in the Kona on road trips out west (still mostly highway driving with a handful of remote mountain roads). When I find myself on a remote road where AWD is highly recommended or the road is scattered with large rocks and ruts, I’m not likely to even bother since the Kona doesn’t boast much ground clearance. I made the sacrifice here for that other 98% of my driving.

If you did anticipate finding yourself in snowy conditions in the mountains, AWD will have its benefits. Otherwise FWD would be more than enough. The Kona is not designed for off road use, but is more than capable on maintained mountain roads.
This echoed my sentiments and experience. I drove Subarus for years, thinking that I needed AWD for either off-road or New England winters. AWD can also help a little for jack-rabbit starts on wet roads or aggressive cornering since wheels are both pushing and pulling. After a while though, I realized that 98% of the time, I didn't need AWD and went back to FWD and have managed just fine during some snowy conditions. (I now have the Kona EV, which is FWD only.) For off-road, Kona's don't have the ground clearance for rocky, muddy, or sandy conditions where you would need AWD.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top