Hyundai
Kona

The Hyundai Kona is a five-door compact SUV that is available with a choice of punchy petrol engines with manual or automatic transmissions and is offered in richly-equipped trim levels. There is the option of 4WD and it has achieved the maximum five stars for safety. It is now available in EV format too.



The good

Looks, handling and practicality

The bad

So many excellent rivals out there

Tech Specs

Price from
£16,450
Combined Fuel up to
54.3mpg
0-62 from
7.9 seconds
max speed up to
127mph
co2 from
0g/km (EV model)

Test Drive

Hyundai Kona Electric Premium SE (2020)

Two of the biggest concerns voiced by potential electric car buyers today are range anxiety and the extra high cost of new models, but the Hyundai Kona EV does a worthy job of addressing both those issues.

It costs from £30,150 (including the Government Plug-in Grant) and the five door model boasts an impressive real world driving range between charges of 278 miles. Customers can choose from trim levels called SE, Premium and Premium SE trim and all versions are easy on the eye and loaded with technical kit. We opted for the range-topping Premium SE model costing £38,250.

The car offers pure e-mobility through a 64kWh battery with 204hp and 395Nm of torque and it has some impressive performance stats sprinting to 62mph from a standing start in just 7.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 104mph. And with zero carbon emissions, there are numerous financial savings too such as zero Vehicle Excise Duty costs for the first 12 months.

The Kona is the Korean car maker’s small SUV and it looks neat from any approach thanks to its curvaceous lines, roof rails, LED daytime running lights, privacy glass, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, wraparound rear light clusters, two-tone roof and 17-inch alloy wheels. As the car is pure electric there is no need for a front grille.

The inside is ultra-modern in its layout with a clutter-free feel and lots of techno treats to explore. There is an eight-inch touchscreen, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, an eight-speaker KRELL premium sound system, Bluetooth and live navigation services.

A head-up display keeps the vital driving data in your line of vision at all times and the heated seats and heated steering wheel are perfect for fending off the winter chill.

As the Kona EV is single speed there is no gear lever. Instead you select from buttons labelled D, R, N or P and off you go. The car has instant power and acceleration so will leave far flashier-looking vehicles standing at the lights.

It quickly reaches national speed limits and there is a constant stream of power at your disposal to attack steep hill climbs or overtake slower moving vehicles. The driver can flick through the different drive modes called Eco, Comfort and Sport which are fairly self-explanatory with Sport really livening up the reactions.

The Kona EV feels nicely balanced with plenty of grip through sweeping bends and most bumps and dips are smoothed out along the way. The regenerative braking system, which can be adjusted via steering wheel-mounted paddles, works well and in its most effective setting can bring the vehicle to a complete standstill without the need for braking at all.

Comfort levels are good especially up front, but like most compact SUVs rear legroom is a tad limited especially if the front seats are pushed right back. The boot can accommodate 332 litres worth of kit – a limit that increases to 1,114 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped down. And there is an underfloor compartment to store away the charge cables etc.

When it comes to charging the Kona’s Electric lithium-ion polymer battery it takes approximately 75 minutes using a fast charger to boost it up to 80 per cent or nine hours and 35 minutes on a standard 7.2kW home-charger.

Safety specifications on the EV are high with the likes of autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane follow and lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot detection, high beam assist, electronic stability control, hill-start assist and a full suite of airbags.

And the Kona EV has a virtual engine sound to warn pedestrians, cyclists or anyone with a vision impairment that the car is there.

All in all, the Kona EV is further proof that the drive towards an electrified future is gaining momentum at quite a pace. Long gone are the box-like vehicles that ran out of juice after a short trip whilst sounding like an overworked sewing machine. In their place are quality cars that look good, deliver outstanding driving dynamics and have high mileage ranges too.

Test Drive

Hyundai Kona 1.6 T-GDi 7-speed DCT 4WD Premium GT

Compact SUVs are in high demand these days and rarely a month goes by without a new crossover model being launched. And Hyundai has recently added its own snazzy newcomer to the mix in the shape of the all-new Kona.

Boasting a muscular, athletic stance the five-door Kona looks the business and the range-topping Premium GT car certainly stood out from the crowd thanks to its smart 18-inch alloys, black roof and wheel arches, body-coloured bumpers, a rear spoiler with integrated LED brake light, roof rails, silver skid plate and a chunky black grille proudly housing the Hyundai emblem.

Move inside and the Kona is elegantly designed and oozes class. Admittedly the Premium GT model does carry a fairly hefty £25,415 price-tag so you would expect there to be a wealth of built in technology – and there is. It has an upmarket, premium feel with leather seats that can be heated, cooled and electrically adjusted. There is an 8-inch colour touchscreen, a head-up display, full phone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a wireless phone charging pod, Bluetooth, heated steering wheel, sat nav and a pitch perfect eight-speaker Krell sound system.

The interior of the Kona is beautifully laid out in a clutter-free manner with an ultra-modern feel to it. There is plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment so it’s easy to get a comfortable driving position and the slightly elevated seating results in excellent all-round visibility.

All the controls are ideally positioned for ease of use and I particularly liked the simplicity of the touchscreen which meant programming destinations into the sat nav system was very easy (unlike some cars where a degree in computer programming is essential).

Being a compact crossover, the space in the back of the car is a little restricted for taller passengers who may find the leg and head room limited. But, that said; youngsters will find the dimensions fine with room for three to stretch out.

And although the boot is not the biggest in class with a capacity ranging from 361 to 1,143 litres, it is ample for a family’s weekly shop or a few overnight bags.

The test car was powered by a 1.6-litre 177PS petrol engine mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox. It could sprint to 62mph from  a standing start in 7.9 seconds and topped out at 127mph. According to official figures, it could deliver combined fuel economy of 42.2mpg with carbon emissions of 153g/km.

Not only does the Kona look great, it handles beautifully too. It’s a very easy car to drive and is just as happy ambling around town as it is eating up the motorway miles. The automatic transmission is both smooth and responsive and there is a constant supply of power on tap from the punchy petrol engine.

Then when faced with the open road, the Kona can be pushed hard and enthusiastically into tight bends with a degree of confidence. The steering is nice and precise and there is very little sign of any body sway. The driver can switch through driving modes called Comfort, Eco and Sport which alter the car’s handling and the 4WD is a most reassuring asset to help deal with any unexpected cold snaps.

When being driven at faster motorway speeds, a little wind and road surface noise can be heard, but generally the cabin is well insulated against outside sounds. Another plus factor is the highly efficient suspension system which irons out the undulating road surfaces and any bumps and dips along the way.

A comprehensive list of features helped the Kona achieve the maximum five stars for safety when it was Euro NCAP tested. These include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, lane keep assist, rear traffic alert, driver attention alert, blind spot detection and plenty more besides.

All in all, the Hyundai Kona is a very welcome addition to the fastest growing segment in the motoring industry. It’s neatly styled, packed with techno treats, handles beautifully, it’s safe and also offers lots of practicality along the way – all features that make it quite the all-rounder.

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