The 2019 Hyundai Kona continues the brand's notable value proposition by offering buyers competitive fuel economy, a class-above interior, an intuitive infotainment system and, for 2019, a range of advanced safety features that are standard on all trim levels. But it remains hampered by busy styling touches, a standard engine that offers only modest acceleration, and an interior that's on the small side for the segment.
An all-new model from the Korean brand this year, the 2018 Kia Stinger comes to market with a slick, bold design, while offering a powerful and practical alternative to European competitors at a bargain price. But its mission as a smooth riding grand tourer means track performance is only middling, while it lacks both a manual transmission and the brand cachet of its German rivals.
Still looking fresh five years after it debut as the third-gen model, the 2018 Mazda Mazda3 adds standard low-speed automatic emergency braking across the lineup to a slick design, stellar performance, and solid fuel economy figures. But we continue to have issues with the 3's cramped rear quarters, awkward and distracting infotainment system, and the fact that advanced safety features that are only available in an option package on the top trim.
The 2018 Hyundai Kona cruises onto the stage in a class already awash with solid entries from Subaru, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan, along with nearly every other automaker on the planet. What the Kona brings to the party is a solid value proposition, smooth ride, and a durable, practical interior. But it's also hampered by fussy exterior touches, a finicky optional dual-clutch transmission, leisurely acceleration, and limited availability of advanced safety features.