Everybody loves a new car. The look, the smell, the latest technology. But over the long haul, that experience can easily be sullied by repairs, breakdowns, build quality issues, etc. That term you're hunting for is "reliability", which largely has to do with the frequency and extent of visits to dealer service. Consumer Reports recently released their list of the most reliable vehicles, and we're thrilled to see one of our favorites show up in the #7 spot (out of 10). It's the Hyundai Kona crossover, and the good news is that it's been refreshed for the 2021 model year. The 2022 Kona even adds a sportier N Line trim to the mix.
So, what does reliability actually entail? The Consumer Reports rankings reflect the magazine's predictions of 2021 model-year reliability that's actually based on 300,000 owners' feedback in terms of problems reported over the past twelve months for models over the last three years. The fewer the number of reported problems, the higher the score. So, if numerous owners report an engine problem, an issue with brakes, technology problems, etc. for a specific model, that reliability score drops. Get too many of them, and the model might just end up on CR's least reliable vehicles list, which is no bueno.
What tends to ding current vehicles, according to Consumer Reports, are issues like fussy infotainment systems that don't function as planned. Touchscreens, for instance, tend to have problems. This is part of the reason why Mazda ranks at the top for reliable brands. They have a great infotainment system that's controlled by a knob and buttons located in the center console between the seats. Their screen doesn't operate by touch, which simplifies the technology. That's one less problem to worry about. Faulty transmissions are also a reason why vehicles don't do well.
While the base Kona is still a hoot to drive thanks to its precise steering and nimble handling characteristics, we would opt to upgrade to the new N Line trim thanks to its bigger 1.6-liter turbo engine that churns out 195 horsepower. It also benefits in the looks department with a unique, sportier front fascia with three vents, body-colored cladding, and premium 18-inch wheels that give the N Line a more ferocious look.
The Kona N Line's interior also gets special trim bits like contrast stitching, an N Line steering wheel, a digital gauge cluster that changes based on the driving mode you select (red for Sport mode!) and racy aluminum pedals. It also gets an optional vivid 10.3-inch touchscreen and convenient wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability as standard equipment. What's more, the 2022 Kona actually gets a bump in rear legroom (Now 35.2 inches versus 34.6 in the 2021).
The 2022 Hyundai Kona, including the new N Line and the Kona Electric, will be in showrooms this spring starting at just over $21,000 base MSRP and near $30,000 for the N Line. The Kona Electric will come in at about $40,000, and the high-performance, 295-horsepower Kona N will be priced at about $35,000. Whatever model you choose, you're sure to get one of the most reliable vehicles made today, and that's always good news.