With its rugged body style, rear skid plates, and large grille, the 2022
Hyundai Kona certainly looks like it belongs in the backcountry—but with only 6.7 inches of ground clearance, it doesn’t quite stack up to the competition.
In addition to their generous cargo space and high safety ratings, SUVs are loved for their off-road-ready look—but how do you know which ones are the true trail warriors and which ones should stick to dirt roads and gravel?
In this guide from the
super app and
car insurance expert,
Jerry, we’ll go over the Hyundai Kona’s ground clearance, tires, drivetrain, and other important specs that can help you decide if this small crossover meets your needs.
Can the 2022 Hyundai Kona go off-road?
Yes, the 2022
Hyundai Kona is capable of driving off-road—but it’s only suited for level terrain such as well-maintained dirt roads or gravel paths. For car buyers that want a small crossover that can handle the occasional camping trip or grass parking lot, the Kona can be an excellent choice.
For a starting price of just $22,545 the Kona is one of the most affordable crossovers on the market, and comes standard with a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a seven-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. But upgrading to the optional 195-horsepower turbocharged engine can boost its off-road capability.
Let’s take a closer look at the 2022 Hyundai Kona and how it handles off-road driving.
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
When it comes to rolling over rough terrain, you need a lot of space under your car to reduce the risk of expensive frame damage. That’s why ground clearance, or the distance between the lowest part of your car’s chassis and the ground, is the most important factor to consider before taking your car off-road.
Unfortunately, the 2022
Hyundai Kona only offers 6.7 inches of ground clearance, falling far short of the recommended 8.8 to 10.8 inches of ground clearance needed for safe off-roading.
That doesn’t mean that the Kona can’t leave the paved roads at all, but compared to true trail warriors like the
Jeep Wrangler and
Ford Bronco that offer over 9 inches of minimum clearance, the Kona doesn’t compare to the competition.
If you ever want to drive your car over rocky ground or up a steep hill, turning power is more important than speed—so vehicles that can achieve high torqueat low rpm perform better on off-road trails.
If equipped with the optional turbocharged engine, the
Kona makes a maximum torque of 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm. With the assistance of its all-wheel-drive system, this lower-end torque means that the small crossover performs relatively well on terrain where traction is difficult to maintain,such as loose gravel, sand, or snow.
Hyundai Kona comes standard with N Priz S Grand-Touring all-season tires. These tires offer good performance on paved roads in areas that experience a four-season climate, but they aren’t a great choice for off-road driving. For difficult or uneven terrain, you’d want a set of
all-terrain tires instead, which offer improved traction and better cornering control.
If equipped with the stock tires, the Hyundai Kona shouldn’t have a problem driving on relatively level grass or dirt—but if you’re thinking about driving on tougher trails, you’ll need to look into a set of aftermarket off-road tires with a deeper tread depth to keep you from getting stuck.
While not as powerful as four-wheel drive, the Hyundai Kona’s standard all-wheel drive system makes it easy to maneuver the vehicle on light-to-moderate off-road terrain like dirt, grass, gravel, or sand. All-wheel drive gives the
Kona an edge over any front- or rear-wheel-drive vehicle—which wouldn’t be suitable for off-road driving at all—but it still isn’t powerful enough to handle intense trails without the risk of getting stuck.
If you want to drive over rocky or very uneven ground, then it’s a good idea to be aware of your car’s approach angle and departure angle. If you’ve never heard those terms before, here’s what they mean:
Approach angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference
Departure angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
Hyundai Kona has an approach angle of 17.5 degrees and a departure angle of 16.7 degrees. This means that it should be able to handle some uneven terrain—but trying to drive over large obstacles like boulders or logs is certain to damage your car.
Off-road rating: In a pinch
Still not sure if the 2022
Hyundai Kona is right for you? Let
Jerry's super-technical DIRT rating system help you decide. Here’s how it works:
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
We give the 2022 Hyundai Kona an I rating. Between a ground clearance that’s comparable to some sedans, subpar tires, and low approach and departure angles, it’s clear that the Kona wasn’t designed with the open trail in mind.
But depending on the type of off-roading you need to do, the Kona can still be a good pick! If you’re looking for a daily driver that can also handle the occasional camping trip or dirt road, this small crossover could be exactly what you need.
The best off-road alternatives to the 2022 Hyundai Kona
If you’re not quite sold on the
Hyundai Kona, here are some similarly-priced options to consider:
Best eco-friendly alternative
For drivers concerned with fuel economy, the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid gets an impressive 58 mpg.
Best comparable alternative
Another great option in the subcompact crossover segment, the Volkswagen Taos is a good daily driver that can handle light off-roading.
Best alternative for off-roading
With a maximum ground clearance of 8 inches, the Mazda CX-30 performs well on moderate off-road trails.
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare and find out in 45 seconds.
How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles
Off-road vehicles come with some great perks—like exciting backroad adventures and weekend camping trips—but they also have one major downside: they’re expensive! Not only are they more expensive to buy, but they’re also more expensive to insure. To put it simply, off-roading increases the risk of damage to your vehicle, a risk that insurance companies will factor into your premium.
But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with an expensive insurance policy! Download the
Jerry app to find the lowest rates on your off-road vehicle
car insurance. Just answer a few questions, and you’ll be browsing affordable policies from name-brand insurance companies in under a minute.
And once you make your pick, Jerry will handle all the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals so you don’t have to. They can even help cancel your old policy! So why do all that extra work when Jerry can do it better?
Jerry made switching over to new insurance so quick and easy! My monthly payment went from $469 to $362 by switching me to Progressive. 10/10 would recommend!” —Luanne T.
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍