Review - Hyundai Kona
March 01, 2021
Hyundai might be a little bit late to the small SUV party with the 2018 Kona, but in its first few months on sale, it has bolted right out of the blocks.
The Kona seems to hit the sweet spot between conventional and distinctively styled. We say ‘distinctive’ because you can add exciting colours like Blue Lagoon, Tangerine Comet and Acid Yellow for the styling elements like wheel arch cladding.
The interior is can be just as distinctive. You can customise your vents and starter button with funky coloured highlights.
At 4165mm long, 1800mm wide and 1565mm tall on a 2600mm wheelbase, occupant space is decent in the front and back, providing more room and a less cluttered atmosphere in the front, compared to other cars in the same class.
Boot space is quoted at 361L with the rear bench in play, but moving some large items necessitated the removal of the large parcel shelf and folding down the (not quite flat) seats, opening it up to 1143 litres.
The infotainment and climate controls are all very easy to locate, whether on the touch-screen, steering wheel or centre stack. There’s wireless phone charging, heated and cooled electric front seats, blind-spot monitoring and legible dials and a high resolution reversing camera. We also love that there is plenty of storage and a centre differential lock for mild off-roading.
However, there are a few disappointments. The Kona has a space saver spare tyre in place of Hyundai’s usual full-size and there is no integrated navigation system as standard. You’ll have to use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
For manual fans, sadly it’s not available with the Kona. An upside is the suspension. You’ll really appreciate the suppleness on roads with sharp bumps and corrugations. We also like that the Kona doesn’t feel like a top-heavy car at all. In fact, the car’s narrow dimensions and ride height make it quite an effective gap finder in traffic.
It lacks a sporty feel but it’s pleasant to drive, and the 1.6 turbo is quite powerful for a car of this segment. What you might not expect, is that you don’t need premium fuel, and economic fuel consumption means you won’t refill it too often.
Hyundai has delivered a genuinely interesting and refreshing small SUV with the Kona. It has fresh and purposeful looks, a bold colour range and seems very well built. As with all Hyundais, the five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and free roadside assistance is an alluring drawcard.
If you want be a Kona owner, there’s only a few disappointments and you’ll stand out from the crowd.
6 specs you need to know
- Engine: 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder
- Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
- Drive type: All-wheel drive
- ANCAP: Five stars (scored 35.07 out of 37)
- Official fuel economy: 6.7L/100km
- 0-100km/h: 7.54 seconds*
* Figures as tested by Georgie on the day. Factory claims may be different
- Bold and purposeful styling
- Powerful 1.6 turbo and quick-shifting DCT
- Trendy colours
- Decent packaging and pricing
- Most powerful in the class with 1.6T
- Highlander is pricey, missing some features
- Rough plastics in some areas