We’re so used to traveling far and wide to bring you the latest First Drives; but, we certainly don’t mind playing a home game from time to time. And that’s exactly what we did when Hyundai invited us to sample the all-new 2024 Kona, waiting just a short jaunt down I-83 in Baltimore’s historic Fells Point.

The Kona Electric is also making its return and we’ll have more on that soon. This time we spent our day with the new internal combustion model, so we’ll focus on that.

All 2024 Konas ride on a 104.7-inch wheelbase, carrying a total length just over 171-inches, growing about 2- and 6-inches respectively.

And we’re happy to report that the increased length means increased interior volume: 25.5 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the second row, expanded to 63.7 cubic-feet seats down. The rest of the interior is simplistic in design, yet properly appointed with a 12.3-inch infotainment screen and a matching digital gauge display.
Under the hood, entry-level SE and SEL trims receive a 2.0-liter inline-four, rated at 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The sporty N-Line and top-trim Limited gain a 1.6-liter four, turbocharged for 190 horses and 195 lb-ft. The 2.0-liter is paired to a CVT; the 1.6, a true 8-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, with HTRAC all-wheel available for an extra $1,500.

“So, I’m driving the 1.6-liter turbo-4 and this is the more powerful powertrain that you can get here in the Kona. It also has a new 8-speed automatic and it’s pretty noticeable how smooth it can shift. I have to press a little bit on the throttle in order for it to go but when it does, it goes.”

Although bigger, cruising in and out of Charm City was a breeze in these charming subcompact utilities. And buyers will be happy to hear that competitive pricing remains a key characteristic. Internal-combustion Konas will start around $25,000, working up to the mid-30’s. They’re available at Hyundai dealers now, with Kona Electrics arriving later this year.