2019 Hyundai Kona Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, fuel system. brakes and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

This vehicle is subject to a recall. Find out if your Hyundai Kona is included in the recall.

Small SUVs have been the latest rage on the roads. One of the popular models is the 2019 Hyundai Kona. It even won the “AutoPacific 2019 Ideal Vehicle Award,” but customers have found it to be anything but “ideal.” This SUV suffers from trouble with the service brakes, electrical system, fuel system and powertrain.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2020   2021   2022   2023

Problems with the Brakes

One of the most vital safety systems on any vehicle is the brakes. This system has been around for years but continues to become more sophisticated. However, there are some major problems with the Kona.

Within this Edmunds review, there are braking complaints addressed. “I bought this SUV in December 2019 and I am very sorry that I did. I recently retired, so I downgraded my vehicle to a small SUVs. I was attracted by the ratings, the reviews, the price, and the warranty, but I would not recommend this car to people. I am trying to think of something I like about it, but the only thing I can think of is that I sit higher up than I did in either of my Subarus or my Infiniti (which I would in any SUV). My complaints include: the acceleration, which is jerky in any condition and nearly impossible when going up a hill (even if there is no one but me and the minute trunk is empty); speaking for the trunk, you cannot even fit a carry-on bag back to front in the tiny cargo space without putting down the back seat (do not plan on even going in a short family trip in this thing); plus, the brakes are terrible (I had to bring it back and have the rotors shaved with 250 miles on the car) because of the throbbing when braking–it is better since, but it has never totally been fixed and I have no confidence in the braking system; the whole car feels cheap inside–everything is plastic and feels fragile; I also do not like the steering, which does not feel as stable as I would have liked. All in all, this car is complete bust and I will almost certainly be trading it in as soon as I can.”

Service Bulletin #20-AT-012H goes beyond talking about the brakes to discuss related issues. It states that there could be a Check Engine Light with DTCs that requires the replacement of the input/output speed sensor, as well as the oil pressure harness. These malfunctions alone make it ineligible to be considered an “ideal” vehicle.

2019 Hyundai Kona Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Fuel/propulsion System
Power Train
Service Brakes
Lane Departure: Blind Spot Detection
Air Bags
Exterior Lighting

Problems with the Electrical System

It turns out that the Kona also suffers from numerous electrical system concerns.

Here is yet another Edmunds review. “Sensor problems seems to be an uncomfortably common thing. Sometimes the screen just goes black when you connect iPhone to USB for Apple play, and it won’t display anything unless you turn off the car and then turn it on. Steering wheel peels quite easy so it seems, even though I use my bare, clean hands for driving.”

Again, this is just the beginning. Service Bulletin #20-BE-001H says that there could be connection issues with the USB, multi-box and head unit. Are these problems that most new car buyers want to deal with? Not normally. It also proves why there should be a 2019 Dud of the Year Award.

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Problems with the Fuel System

The fuel system works in conjunction with the engine to provide power. When there is a malfunction in this system, the car has trouble accelerating and running correctly.

That’s what is seen with this NHTSA review. “Delays in acceleration, not changing gears properly. Sometimes when accelerating the vehicle will just rev the engine like it’s in Neutral. Acceleration delays very scary when merging, accelerating from full stop and passing. Bought April 2019.”

This is one topic that Hyundai doesn’t want to talk about. Instead, there are no communications related to the fuel system, as if everything is operating as it should. Basically, the automaker is saying, “Nothing to see here – look at the award the Kona won instead.”

Problems with the Transmission

Another essential system is the powertrain. Without a properly working powertrain, shifting becomes difficult.

One NHTSA review states, “When leaving home the vehicle had little acceleration and poor shifting. Took too much time merging into traffic. After contacting the local dealership the problem cleared up as it had bone before. Drove to the local Hyundai dealership. OBDII code read P0193.”

In this situation, Hyundai goes overboard and talks about a long list of powertrain concerns. It appears that this Small SUV can suffer from many complaints, as outlined with Service Bulletin #20-AT-018H. This communication states that it could exhibit as a Check Engine Light, a transmission that gets stuck in fourth gear and harsh shifting into Drive and Reverse. If the “ideal” vehicle is a bucking bronco, then the Kona is a true winner.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Hyundai pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Bertrand S

    Translation: In March 2022, I purchased a 2019 Kona for $20,491 with 20,516 km on the odometer. Since then, I have returned to the dealership for the same problem 3 times, namely regarding the “Check engine” light on for a throttle body problem that is said to have been fixed, but the light reappears immediately. There are fluctuations in the RPM at low speeds and I have to be wary every time I hit the road.

    Original: J’ai acquis en mars 2022, un Kona 2019 au coût de 20491.$ avec 20516 km à l’odometre. Depuis, à 3 reprises je suis retourné chez le concessionnaire pour le même problème, à savoir le voyant « Check engine » allumé pour un trouble de trotte body qu’on dit avoir changé, mais le phénomène réapparaît aussitôt. Il y a des fluctuations au RPM à basse vitesse et je dois me méfier à chaque fois que je prend la route.

  • Rod

    I am the owner of a 2019 Kona and I can’t say anything negative about the drive. I find the handling is tight, the steering is solid and the acceleration is excellent. I also have had to apply the brakes in an urgent manner a few times and felt them grab and slow the vehicle very smoothly. I will say, that the cargo space is quite small.

  • ian f

    i have a 2019 elite done 66000 kms and no problems

  • Hayam b

    Very bad car . Kona 2019 was owned by me. The electrical cruise lane control system stopped out of a sudden. And the car flipped over. Now its cancelled and the hyundai company says that its not their problem. They are very bad and the car had so many issues they were unable to fix them even👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

  • Diana Y

    I have a 2018-2019 Kona sport. Since I purchased this vehicle after the death of my mother I have had weird mechanical issues. The fuel jets thought replaced continue to be a acceleration problem. I was told they weren’t clean, bad gas, fan needs to be changed evt. In other words I’ve been told everythimg except the fuel injectors aren’t working. They finally replaced them and I immediately started having the same problems. The vehicle also out of the blue windshield wipers stop working. I can’t turn car off or on. Odd momentary electrical oddities. I paid almost 30,000 for this suv new but unfortunately my forever vehicle seems to be my scary vehicle.

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