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 five richly-equipped trim levels. There is the option of 4WD and it has achieved the maximum five stars for safety.
The goodLooks, handling and practicality
The badSo many excellent rivals out there
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.