The 2018 Hyundai Kona’s outlandish styling isn’t the only thing likely to grab buyers’ attention when it goes on sale in the next few months. Front-wheel drive versions of the quirky, pint-size crossover will be rated at 30 mpg combined by the EPA, but there’s a big fuel-economy hit for opting for the Kona’s optional all-wheel-drive system.
Those wintry road-ready Konas come in at a thirsty 27 mpg combined. At least all versions of the Kona—SE, SEL, Limited, and Ultimate trim levels—are designed to run on regular unleaded fuel rather than pricier premium.
Here’s a look at how the numbers work out for both the 147-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 engine and the optional 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4, both of which are only offered with automatic transmissions:
- Kona 2.0 front-wheel drive: 28 mpg city, 32 highway, 30 combined
- Kona 1.6T front-wheel drive: 27/33/30 mpg
- Kona 2.0 all-wheel drive: 26/29/27 mpg
- Kona 1.6T all-wheel drive: 25/30/27 mpg
Those figures come up short compared to most of the Kona’s direct rivals. Front-wheel-drive Mazda CX-3 crossovers are rated at 31 mpg combined; adding all-wheel drive drops that to 29 mpg. The all-wheel drive-only Subaru Crosstrek is rated at 29 mpg with the optional automatic transmission.
However, the Kona is far thriftier than the Ford EcoSport that’s just now hitting dealer lots after a lengthy build-up. The Ford is rated on the EPA test as low as 25 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.