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2023 Hyundai Kona Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2023 Hyundai Kona Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SE vs SEL and N-Line, Limited vs N

What 2023 Hyundai Kona Trim Should You Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

Hyundai has gone all-in when it comes to the SUV craze. They offer one of these vehicles in just about every size. The 2023 Hyundai Kona is a subcompact option that feels decently roomy inside. Other than the Venue, the Kona is also the smallest member of the family. This makes it one of the most affordable, something that should attract a variety of drivers.

Several upgrades have been made to the Kona for 2023. This vehicle now has blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert standard across the board. Heated side mirrors have been added to all trim levels as well. The N Line model also received more standard tech.

There are five trim levels available for the 2023 Hyundai Kona. Despite the relatively low price, consumers will want to carefully examine each of their options to prevent overspending on features they do not really need. To assist with this, the following guide will highlight the differences between all five of the new Kona models.


Compare the Kona SE vs. SEL Trims. What is the difference?

Every new Kona is a subcompact SUV with seating for five. The entry-level SE is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. This creates 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, which will not thrill drivers but can get them where they are going. Front-wheel drive is standard, but drivers can also upgrade the SE to all-wheel drive.

Models of the 2023 Kona with the base engine get phenomenal gas mileage. Buyers can expect 30mpg in the city and 35mpg on the highway, which is excellent for the class. Upgrading to all-wheel drive will drop those numbers slightly, but 28mpg city and 33mpg highway are still pretty impressive.

There are 16-inch alloy wheels located underneath the Kona SE. This model is given halogen headlights and heated side mirrors with turn signal integration. Otherwise, the exterior of this entry-level trim level is relatively plain. There are eight exterior paint options for the base model, including Teal Isle, Pulse Red, Ultra Black, and Cactus Fern.

The entry-level SE has cloth upholstery and a six-way manually-adjustable driver's seat. Air conditioning is standard, but it is single-zone and manually controlled. The Kona SE has a 4.2-inch gauge cluster and a 12-volt power outlet. It also has dual USB ports up front.

Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also included when buyers bring home the base Kona. They are controlled on an 8-inch touchscreen. Multiple high-tech safety features are also standard here. It has blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic avoidance assist, and forward-collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection.

Choosing the Kona SE will also mean getting driver attention monitoring. This SUV also boasts standard lane-following assist, lane-keeping assist, and safe exit warning. Rounding out the standard safety tech for this trim level is a rear occupant alert designed to prevent children or pets from being left behind.

The SEL is up next, and it has the same engine underneath the hood as the SE. It upgrades to 17-inch alloy wheels. This is also the first Kona trim level to get roof rails and tinted rear windows. Otherwise, there are no mechanical or exterior upgrades made by the SEL.

A few significant changes are made to the cabin of the Kona SEL, starting with an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat. Keyless entry and ignition are also standard here. This trim level and higher and further equipped with both HD and satellite radio, ensuring drivers can enjoy whatever music they love.

The starting price for the entry-level SE is just over $22,000. This is quite affordable, but going up to the SEL costs approximately $1,800 more and brings a lot of desirable features.

Compare the Kona SEL vs. N Line. What is the difference?

The 2023 Kona N Line has a sportier look, plus a few performance upgrades to back it up. This trim level gets a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder engine along with a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission. This engine is certainly more fun, but it is not quite as efficient. Buyers can expect 29mpg in the city and 35mpg highway. Opting for all-wheel drive instead means getting 27mpg city and 32mpg highway.

The N Line has an exclusive design for its 18-inch wheels as well, plus unique bumpers and grille. While the previous trim levels had body-colored side mirrors, the N Line shows off gloss black ones instead. Rounding out the exterior changes for this trim level are unique N Line badges and a twin-tip exhaust.

There are fewer options when it comes to the paint job of the N Line. Buyers can not choose some of the more adventurous options but instead must choose from more classic colors, such as Lunar White, Blue Wave, and Ultra Black.

This model has N-Line cloth upholstery. The steering wheel is also designed a bit differently, and it is wrapped in leather. A 10.25-inch touchscreen is standard for this trim, which is nice. The Android Auto and Apple CarPlay features become wired rather than wireless, however, which is less nice. Dynamic voice recognition is included in this trim.

The Kona N Line comes standard with the Hyundai digital key feature. As for the gauge cluster, it grows from 4.2 inches to 10.25 inches. Automatic climate control finally joins the standard feature here list as well.

When comparing the SEL to the N Line, the difference is just about four grand. Buyers should be aware that the SEL has an available convenience package that bundles the non-performance-oriented upgrades added by the N Line. These upgrades include things like the sunroof, the larger touchscreen, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel. This package costs $2,400, and it is an enticing option for anyone who does not necessarily need turbocharged power but wants a few added features.

Compare the Kona N Line vs. Limited Trim. What is the difference?

The Limited trim level may not be the most expensive version of the 2023 Kona, but it is undoubtedly the most luxurious. All of the N Line-specific styling features are missing, but the engine and transmission remain the same. This model also has an electronic parking brake with auto hold. The Kona Limited also has 18-inch wheels to roll around on, but they look a bit different here than they do on the N Line.

If buyers are looking for LED headlights and taillights, the Limited has them. Automatic high beams are also added here. Once inside, drivers are greeted with leather-trimmed upholstery. The steering wheel is still wrapped in leather, but it loses the sporty flair found in the N Line.

A Harman Kardon audio system with eight speakers is standard for the Kona Limited. The cabin shows off fun LED ambient light. Further adding to the luxury of the Limited is the auto-dimming rearview mirror with a universal garage door opener.

Several noteworthy upgrades are made to the Kona's list of advanced safety features for the Limited trim. The forward collision-avoidance assist driver aid gains cyclist detection to go along with pedestrian detection. Rear parking sensors are gained by the Kona Limited, which also is equipped with a highway driving assist feature.

Jumping up from the N Line to the Limited will mean shelling out an additional $1,100. It is actually easy to see how this can be justified, considering the variety of both safety and comfort features that are new.

Compare the Kona Limited vs. N. What is the difference?

While the Kona Limited is all about sophistication, the N is all about performance. This is the only model that gets a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that churns out 276 horsepower along with 289 lb-ft of torque. It gets an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. While every other Kona can be upgraded to all-wheel drive, the N is front-wheel drive only. Not surprisingly, the N is the least efficient Kona, getting 20mpg city and 27mpg highway.

The Kona N gets a brake upgrade, sits on 19-inch wheels, and shows off performance tires. A variable sport exhaust helps up the excitement level, and the N also is given a variable sport exhaust. Hyundai goes so far as to give the Kona N an aerodynamic body kit. The larger rear spoiler helps distinguish the N from every other trim level, and it also rounds out the exterior changes made for this model.

While the N gets to keep most of the upgrades made by the Limited, there are a few safety features that get the ax. The N does not have cyclist detection, rear parking sensors, or the highway driving assist.

There are a few interior upgrades that are unique to the Kona N. For example, it gets suede inserts in its leather upholstery. There are also blue accents inside the cabin to give the N its own style. The seats add extra bolstering to enhance the experience inside of this Kona as well.

The N model of the Kona is almost $5,000 more than the Limited. While this may seem ridiculous to some folks, others who crave a sportier driving experience may be intrigued.


Final Thoughts

The right version of the Kona will depend on the priorities of the driver. Those who are shopping on a budget will likely stick with the SE. It is very nicely equipped for the price. If there is a bit of wiggle room, the SEL offers even more comfort and convenience at a reasonable price. With both of these options, the fuel-efficient powertrain will help drivers save money down the road.

Those who want more luxury may be drawn in by the Limited. When it all boils down, however, the Hyundai Kona is meant to be a wallet-friendly option. The features of the Kona Limited are nice, but they simply do not justify spending that kind of money on this smaller SUV. As for the pumped-up N, it is certainly appealing, but that appeal will only work on a select few shoppers

For the best balance, most drivers will want to choose the 2023 Kona N Line. It provides ample power, plus most of the features that drivers really need.

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Previous Year Trim Configurations:

2022 Hyundai Kona Trim Levels