The 2021 Kona builds on Hyundai's signature strengths—high value and excellent transferable warranty—with a fun-to-drive character and standout design. Those qualities are largely lacking among subcompact crossover SUVs, though we'll admit the Kona's styling might be too bold for some. But when it comes to equipment, this Hyundai is persuasive. Even the SE entry-level model offers a generous level of standard features, including Apple CarPlay®/Android Auto™, a 7-inch touchscreen, automatic air conditioning, alloy wheels, and a suite of useful driver aids.
Impressive as that entry-level SE trim is, we'd recommend jumping up to the new-for-2021 midlevel Night trim. It's the first point in the range that comes with the better of the two engines Hyundai offers. It's a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 174 hp and uses a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. We also recommend going for the all-wheel-drive option because its more sophisticated rear suspension setup improves both handling and ride comfort. Overall, the Kona's good enough to be considered a top choice, brought down only by a slightly plasticky interior and those divisive looks. If you can live with that, it's well worth your attention.