Hyundai Kona Problems: 7 Common Issues (Explained)

The Hyundai Kona is a subcompact crossover SUV that offers a unique driving experience. It is affordable, eye-catching, and practical.

But, ike any other car, the Hyundai Kona has its problems.

What’s more, it is one of the easiest to drive SUVs. Even first-time drivers wouldn’t struggle driving it.

The 2022 Hyundai Kona starts at $26 625.

Still, the Hyundai Kona comes with its fair share of problems. In this article, we will take a look at some of them. 

1. Engine problems

The very first part that most Kona drivers complain about is the engine. According to one of the owners, the engine stalled three times while driving the Kona.

Another driver said the problem started as soon the “check engine warning light” started showing.

Without wasting time, the driver took the car to a local dealer, where technicians diagnosed the engine and said the driver needed to consider replacing the battery.

CarComplaints registered 145 complaints about the 2019 Kona. Whereas NHTSA received 145 complaints and one recall.

Many drivers reported abnormal knocking noises coming from the engine.

At some point, the NHTSA had to recall the engine of the Kona. So Hyundai had to recall nearly 160,000 Hyundai Kona models with a 2.0-liter Nu MPI engine.

If you leave the engine defect unattended, your Kona will consume excessive oil. Sometimes it will create a knocking noise that will lead to stalling or even seizing the engine.

If the engine of the Kona stalls at an inconvenient time, it could put you and other drivers at risk.

Another risk is that the engine can cause the connecting rod to puncture through the engine block.

Failure to act fast may cause an oil leak, creating a vehicle fire.

Unfortunately, Hyundai can’t replace the engines fast enough. So car owners have to wait. As a result, a couple of Hyundai owners decided to seek legal representation to process claims.

According to the drivers, Hyundai is far too long to repair or replace the engine.


Experts suspect the Kona’s piston oil rings leak to be the leading cause of engine failure.

This complaint was confirmed by some drivers who registered complaints on NHTSA.

Possible solution

We recommend that you take your Hyundai Kona to your nearest Hyundai dealer.

In 2021, Hyundai notified car owners about this issue.

The auto manufacturer requested drivers to visit their local Hyundai dealership. Once they get there, technicians will look at the engine and update the motor’s engine control software.

3. Problems with the airbags

Another potential problem with the Hyundai Kona is with the airbags. Drivers reported various issues with airbags that couldn’t deploy.

According to one driver, the airbag of the Kona did not deploy during a collision. Other than that, the automatic brakes of the Kona failed, and cruise control continued to attempt to drive the vehicle despite a collision warning.

At the same time, another driver said the Kona crashed into a traffic light pole, went uphill, and flipped before stopping.

In this event, the airbags deployed.

Another driver on Edmunds revealed that he was in a tragic accident. As a result, the car was written off.

According to this driver, the Kona was hit from the front and back but none of the airbags deployed.


Airbags can’t deploy in every accident. But they can still generally be deployed during certain types of accidents.

Possible solution

All the airbags of your car must work perfectly well.

Hence, we recommend that you take your Kona to your nearest dealer.

3. Problems with the Electrical System

Drivers are also complaining about the electrical system of the Hyundai Kona. Car owners have recorded many complaints about this problem. 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022 seem to share this problem.

One driver of the 2022 Kona said the problem with the electrical system started with Kona dying at the traffic lights. And there were no warning lights about this.

After several attempts, the Kona started, but the accelerator didn’t work. Then the warning light for pressure came on.

When the driver took the car for diagnostics, nothing wrong was found on the vehicle.

Then the Carplay couldn’t stay connected or doesn’t connect at all.

Another driver reported that the blind spot monitor on the right side of the Kona lit up and beeped at random times. Even when there was nothing in the blind spot itself.

Another car owner said, while driving on cruise control set for 45mph, the Kona accelerated to 53 mph! The headlights seem to have an issue, too. At times, failing to operate as needed.


Several factors contribute to this problem.

For example, when the car battery no longer allows the car to drive, the electric system would usually stop working due to the failure of the battery to power the vehicle.

Possible solutions

Take your Hyundai Kona to an auto electrician to take a look at it.

Additionally, make sure that you only use quality batteries. If you use low-quality batteries, your Kona will likely have electrical system issues.

4. Problems with the transmission

The Hyundai Kona also has problems with the powertrain. One driver said on Edmunds, that the 2020 Hyundai Kona started having powertrain issues within weeks of buying it.

After hearing clunking sounds from the back end, the driver decided to accelerate, but the Kona made a whirring squeal.

The driver took the Kona in for inspection, but the technicians couldn’t find any issue.

When this article was published, Hyundai hadn’t issued any information about the powertrain. (We will update this article as soon as there is new information about the powertrain.)

Some Hyundai Kona transmission problems include delayed shifts and a gear that gets stuck occasionally.


One of the major causes of this problem is the lack of transmission fluid.

You must ensure that you replace your fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

Possible solutions

Always Make sure that you only use the transmission fluid recommended by Hyundai. Furthermore, service your car at regular intervals.

5. Forward collision avoidance (FCA) system malfunction

Drivers also complain about the Forward collision avoidance system of the Hyundai Kona, which tends to malfunction.

Sometimes, the Kona fails to alert drivers of an impending collision.

Often, the Forward collision system will come on unnecessarily.

Another car owner said, the 2020 Kona SE would make a “ding” sound, then the large message that said, “check forward collision sensor” will appear on the dashboard. Soon after, the Kona will apply the brakes. Then it will shut off and have to be restarted.

According to this driver, when this happens it will feel like a collision.

When the FCA is not working properly, the FCA warning light should illuminate. Still, car owners say the FCA stopped functioning without sending a warning message.


You can trace back this problem to the battery of the Kona. If the battery Kona is low, it is likely to cause malfunction of some safety features.

Possible solution

Always keep your battery fully recharged. Only replace the old battery with the new one.

Fortunately, Hyundai has made some improvements with the all-new 2022 Kona. It comes with an excellent Forward Collision-Avoidance Assistant with Pedestrian Detection.

The FCA system is not designed for particular stationary objects like trees and poles.

Hyundai insists that the system is a driver assistance system and is not a substitute for safe driving. Therefore, drivers still need to exercise caution when they drive on the road.

6. Low gas mileage and battery problem

Other car owners of the Hyundai Kona are complaining about low gas mileage issue.

Usually, the Kona will get bad gas mileage after the driver switches on the air conditioner. It’s hard to confirm if the cause is problem air-con or the engine.

They are also instances when drivers have to jump-start their Konas.

The battery problem alone has left some stranded on the side of the road.


A faulty transmission and bad engine are responsible for the low mileage issue.


We recommend taking your Kona to the nearest mechanic to resolve this problem.

Hyundai released the 2022 Hyundai Kona N Line, which has an impressive EPA rating of 29 in the city and 35 on the highway MPG.

Although, the actual mileage varies with driving options, road and weather conditions, driving habits, and the 2022 Hyundai Kona’s condition.

7. Oil Burning Issues

Another problem that drivers seem to complain about is the oil burning issues.

One of the drivers had to change the oil three times under 7300 miles. But Hyundai recommends changing the oil between 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

Because of the oil-burning issue, drivers find it hard to accelerate on the highways.

The Kona can sometimes shut off while you’re driving at low speed.

Hyundai faces a lawsuit from drivers alleging that Hyundai Kona makes them check their oil levels frequently.

Drivers also say driving a Kona forces them to add oil to the engine more than the owner’s manual recommends.

Adding too much oil can’t be a solution as it may submerge the crankshaft, added the drivers.


Experts suspect the engine issue to be responsible for the unusual reduction in engine lubrication.

Crankshaft submersion and gaskets, and seal damage could be another cause.

Possible solution

To remedy this problem, Hyundai recommends that drivers check the Kona’s oil levels at 1,000-mile intervals.

We say, take your Hyundai Kona to your nearest dealer. Technicians will diagnose the cause and come up with a solution.

Is the Hyundai Kona Reliable?

The 2022 Hyundai Kona has an impressive reliability score of 82 out of 100. J.D. Power gave the Kona a reliability score of 91 out of 100, making it one of the best.

The above score confirms what we’ve known about Korean cars for reliability.

With its standard engine, the Kona delivers an EPA rating of 30 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway.

Those are excellent ratings for a subcompact SUV.

Add to the fact that the new Kona comes with all-wheel drive, you’ll agree that it is a family-friendly SUV.

Final Thoughts

Should you buy a Hyundai Kona?


Hyundai Kona is of the most affordable cars on the market. There is now also Kona EV (an all-electric version) that boasts a rugged design and agile performance.

Not only is the Kona fuel-efficient, but it comes with a myriad of features that will make commuting from home to work a breeze.

We recommend that you avoid old models of the Hyundai Kona, as you are likely to purchase them with problems.

Preferably, buy your Hyundai Kona new and take good care of it – this will also help your Hyundai SUV hold its value.

To ensure that the Kona is always in good condition, you should try servicing it. Lastly, only use engine oil, and the battery auto dealer recommends.

GO BACK: See problems for all Hyundai models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.