2023 Hyundai Kona Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine, powertrain issues, and electrical system issues are the cause of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Just 5 years after it was launched in the U.S., Hyundai brought in the first second-generation Kona SUV. The automaker maintains that it’s bigger, with smarter interior space and technologies that promise more convenience. But owners who are experiencing electrical system failures and engine or powertrain issues aren’t impressed. They are complaining about transmission problems, engines that lose power, rear cameras not switching off while driving, and various other relatively minor electrical system issues. 

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Most Common Problems with the 2023 Hyundai Kona

There aren’t many complaints to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about the 2023 Hyundai Kona, but owners with problems are frustrated and very concerned. On the face of it, the numbers show that electrical system problems are the most prevalent. But the engine, powertrain, vehicle speed control, the fuel/propulsion system, and exterior lighting of the SUV are all implicated in complaints.

The Kona losing power is the most common problem owners are voicing in formal NHTSA complaints.

2023 Hyundai Kona Complaint Summary

Complaint Category Number of Complaints
Electrical System
16
16
Engine
8
8
Unknown Or Other
7
7
Power Train
6
6
Vehicle Speed Control
6
6
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
5
5
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
4
4
Electrical System:horn
3
3
Steering
3
3
Fuel/propulsion System
2
2

Engine Problems

In a complaint listed as an engine and vehicle speed control problem, an owner from Nevada describes what happens when the Kona is set on a speed for cruise control.

“For no reason it loses power. After a while it returns (to the) speed as set. At the beginning the doors weren’t working for locking and unlocking by the handle.” Additionally, the rear camera stays on while driving, which is likely to be an electrical system problem.

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Powertrain Problems

The problems described by an owner in Las Vegas, Nevada, are varied, but clearly relate to the engine as well as the powertrain. The complaint is listed as a combined powertrain, electrical system, and fuel/propulsion system.

Losing power was the first problem. “Pretty much since the day I (got) my 2023 Kona SEL on 9/3/2022, the car has had an issue where, after I start the car and begin driving it for about 20 or 30 seconds, the car will lose power entirely.” The engine shuts down, and various warning codes come on. These include the immobilizer, check engine, battery, and oil lights. Then “the car prompts me to restart it. Sometimes an alarm will also sound, flashing red.”  Other messages that display include, “Engine Off! Shift to N, then start engine” and “Shift to P and N to start engine.”

The complaint states that this initially happened once or twice a day, once or twice a week, “usually after the vehicle has been powered off for 12 or more hours.” But it got progressively worse, sometimes happening 4 times in one day. The first time was in the morning “while I was driving the vehicle at low speeds and applied the brakes, and the other 3 times in the evening, also while I was driving at low speeds and applied the brake.”

While the Kona had always shut down at low speeds, “I feel unsafe driving the car, because I am not sure if the issue will worsen and the vehicle will lose power while it (is) being driven at higher speeds and public roads.”

Transmission Issue

Clearly, also a powertrain problem, an owner with a 2023 Kona SEL describes his issue on the Hyundai Kona Forum. He noticed that “when driving at low speeds, a yellow light (showing a picture of a car with a key) will illuminate. Then a message will pop up on my dashboard screen, ‘Shift to P and N to restart vehicle.’ When I do this nothing happens, and I end up having to press the engine start/stop button to restart my car. Honestly, this is quite nerve wracking for me as this happens once to twice a week, usually in the mornings as I am driving to work.

“I understand there has recently been a recall on certain 2022 Hyundai Kona N models equipped with a DCT transmission (October 2023). After doing some research about the recall and symptoms, they seemed very familiar to me. Might there be similar technical issues with Konas equipped with IVT transmissions?”

There is indeed a recall for the 2022 Hyundai Kona N. Due to a powertrain problem that causes a loss of drive power, Hyundai Motor America issued a recall for 56,148 vehicles on October 6, 2022. Kona N is one of several that are affected. The recall notice, NHTSA Campaign Number 22V746000, states that the vehicle’s “fail-safe” limited-mobility drive mode may be impaired. What this means is that “when prompted by a transmission oil pump malfunction” there can be “a complete loss of drive power.” And, of course, “a loss of drive increases the risk of a crash.”

Electrical System Problems

An owner from Florida states in an NHTSA complaint that there have been “electrical issues since I bought this car. The radio screen goes black for no reason, the clock changes time on its own, the Android auto only works intermittently. The tire lights come on and say there is 0 psi in the tires. Right now it says that 1 tire is low but the psi is the same in all 4 tires. I think this car was damaged during Hurricane Ian and the dealership still sold it to me. I have already brought it to the dealership to be fixed and it still has issues.”

Another complaint from Florida states that there “is obviously some kind of electrical issue.” In addition to the lights randomly turning on and off when driving, there are issues with the radio, tire pressure lights, and the camera. “The radio/GPS screen cuts out and goes completely blank and I can’t turn it off or down or do anything with the radio. The tire pressure lights come on and off at random times. The backup camera randomly stays on when I’m driving and I can’t get it to go back to a regular screen.”

What if your 2023 Kona is a Lemon?

When problems persist and can’t be rectified, this may be an indication that you have bought a lemon. It doesn’t mean that all 2023 Hyundai Konas are problematic, but if yours is, Lemberg Law will assess your case free of charge. We are a legal firm that specializes in lemon law cases and we have helped many vehicle owners get settlements from automakers because their vehicles were indeed lemons.

Every year automakers pay back, replace or trade in vehicles that are proven to be lemons. And the law makes the automaker, in this case Hyundai, pay the legal fees.

If you have a problem and need our help, call our Helpline or fill out a contact form, and we’ll see what we can do to help you.

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
2 COMMENTS
  • Mary L

    Have consistent problems with the idle stop/start with my 2023 Hyundai Kona SEL. Battery had to be replaced within the first year. My last trip to the dealership about the idle stop/start feature, the service representative told me I had to drive it 30 minutes a day to keep the battery charged since the idle stop/start has its own battery which drains the main battery. That was never revealed to me when I was buying this car. I am elderly, not in good health and do not drive everyday. Bought this car new with the hopes that I would not have any car issues for a while and now I am plagued with the problem of having to keep this battery highly charged in order for the car to run properly. I have been hospitalized twice in the last year, so couldn’t drive then. Wouldn’t this be considered a defect in a car? I would have never bought it had I known the problems I would be having. Have taken it in 3 times for this idle stop/start – once the battery had to be replaced (within one year) and the other two times, the technician said they could not duplicate the problem with the idle stop/start I was having (which is bewildering to me). I have a great fear of having to have the battery replaced every year because of this issue. And, I was hoping to have a reliable car and not worry about the battery dying on me. I do not feel safe driving this car. Having to drive a car everyday for a certain amount of time should not be a prerequisite for any car.

  • Jill c

    Just bought my 2023 Kona SEL 6 mths ago. It has 15500 miles on it and got a check engine light. It’s at the dealership getting worked on the code was for a powertrain issue and the mechanic said has something to do with the cooling system. Had to Uber home at my expense and miss a day or two of work. Very unhappy a brand new car I paid 27,500 for is already having issues

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