Bright Hyundai Kona compact crossover goes for bold
Hyundai has added a new SUV to the ever-popular crossover market. Aidan Rennie-Jones finds out how the Kona stacks up.
It might feel like just about every car manufacturer is entering the battle for sales in the fiercely-fought B-segment sport utility vehicle sector – and you’d be right.
Hyundai is looking to get noticed with its new Kona, complete with funky styling and bright paint shades.
The Kona is an entirely new model on a bespoke platform. Starting at £16,195, it comes packed with kit and clever technology, such as autonomous city braking, full LED twin headlamps and two-tone roof. What’s more, the SUV is available with four-wheel drive and the first Hyundai to get Display Audio, a new seven-inch touchscreen multimedia system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Under the bonnet
Buyers can choose between two turbo petrol models – three-cylinder, 120PS 1.0-litre or four-cylinder, 177PS 1.6-litre, the latter with four-wheel drive and seven-speed twin-clutch automatic.
Surprisingly, Hyundai is launching the Kona without a diesel option but next year there will be 114PS and 136PS 1.6-litre turbo diesels.
What’s it like to drive?
The Kona couldn’t hide its SUV roots, dipping and wallowing in bends with steering a little vague, so you’d never call it a driver’s car.
The suspension felt a little hard at times, even over small bumps – disappointing for an SUV. Our off-roading was limited to dusty tracks but it does feature locking differentials and hill-descent control.
How does it look?
Hyundai admits the Kona won’t be to everyone’s tastes but it stands out from the crowd – vitally important in this segment – and despite a fussy rear end, its chunky proportions and bold look are definitely loveable. Hyundai wants the Kona to be considered a serious SUV, not just a generic crossover, so the styling includes lots of bold black plastics and a raised profile that adds ground clearance and road presence.
Space and comfort
You get colour co-ordinated seatbelts that match the garish exterior colours, body colour piping on seats and matching accents on the air vents and dash.
Sadly, the infotainment system is clunky to use but we liked the heated and cooled leather seats, optional but standard on top trip, and the build quality is impressive. There is ample legroom in the front and a modest amount in the rear.
It has 334 litres of boot space with the seats up and 1,116 with them down.
The Hyundai Kona’s individual looks and plenty of standard kit make it a tempting alternative to the sea of SUVs currently swamping the market. At £24,995 for the top model, it’s a little more expensive than some rivals, but we’d argue the extra kit and five-year warranty make it worth the extra.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Hyundai Kona Premium GT 1.6 T-GDi 177PS DCT 4WD £24,995 (range from £16,195)
Engine: 1.6-litre, 177PS, four-cylinder turbo petrol with seven-speed automatic gearbox
Performance: 0-62mph 7.9 seconds; top speed 127mph
MPG: 42.2 combined
CO2 emissions: 153g/km