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Car Reviews, Crossover

Hyundai Kona Review

20 Oct , 2017  

It seems the onslaught of crossovers continues. Hyundai are the latest to join the fray, looking to distance themselves from their sister brands ‘Stonic’ and carve out their own niche in this ever crowding segment.

Competitors include the all new Citroen C3 Aircross, the ageing Nissan Juke and the epically handling Mazda CX3. But how does it compare?

 

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Looks

Some will say the design is fussy, but by Hyundai’s own ‘in store’ labelling on their website this is aiming at a far younger market. The 20-35 year olds who want something a bit more stylish and ‘look at me’ than a bog-standard hatch.

The cut and slash styling really works, maybe it’s not quite as revolutionary as the Juke was when it hit the streets, but it’s certainly eye catching.

Chunky plastic side arches help give it a wider stance and overall it looks better than its more subtle and subdued sister, the Stonic.

Although apparently they are built on different platforms anyway. One is a European car, the other worldwide.

 

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Hyundai Kona Price UK

Model    Fuel CO2 (g/km) OTR Price    P11D Value
S 1.0 T-GDi 120PS 6 speed manual Petrol 117 £16,195.00 £15,980.00
SE 1.0 T-GDi 120PS 6 speed manual Petrol 125 £17,495.00 £17,280.00
Premium 1.0 T-GDi 120PS 6 speed manual Petrol 125 £18,795.00 £18,580.00
Premium SE 1.0 T-GDi 120PS 6 speed manual Petrol 125 £21,195.00 £20,980.00
Premium GT 1.6 T-GDi 177PS 7 speed DCT 4WD Petrol 153 £24,995.00 £24,440.00

 

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Drive

The teeny tiny 1.0 litre three cylinder may sound a little gutless, but with 118 BHP and 172 Nm of torque it pulls really well, at any speed. Things get rather noisy the higher the revs, some more sound deadening wouldn’t’ve gone a miss…that goes for both engine choices.

A more powerful 1.6 litre is available on the range topping Premium GT model. You’ll also get four wheel drive, but that comes at the cost of higher emissions and a £500 first year tax rate. It will also set you back £25k.

Oh, and it can only be had with an auto ‘box. Which is fine for the most part, but a little choppy at lower speeds. At least it was in ‘Sport’ mode.

Testing the Kona’s off road abilities we took to a gravel road leading into the Spanish hills. On road tyres it performed admirably, not slipping once. Even on rather steep descents the downhill brake assist kept everything well controlled.

 

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Ride wise the Kona feels firm. Speed bumps had to be taken very slowly, although they do seem rather more savage than ours. The larger 18” alloys didn’t help the situation, but sadly only the 16’s are available on the lowest spec S model.

There is a 17 inch option but only for SE, the majority of trims make do with fancy big wheels.

Steering is devoid of feel, there’s really no feedback at all of where the wheels are pointing or what they’re doing. Even off road. The wheel is rather heavy in hand, but goes with the sportier nature of the Kona.

Less sporty is the throw of the manual gearbox. The gears seem far apart, a much tighter slicker, sportier shift would have better matched the Kona.

Overall the Kona is a pretty engaging drive, its damn close to that given by the Mazda CX-3. You can carve into corners with minimal body roll, and the stiff chassis set up really shines through. The Kona drives more like a small hatch than a jacked-up crossover.

It’s a shame the engine choice is so limited, as the higher power 1.6 would be a hoot with a crisper manual gearbox. Maybe a Kona N model will make an appearance one day.

 

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Hyundai Kona Dimensions

Overall Length (mm) 4165
Overall Width (mm) (Excluding Door Mirrors) 1800
Overall Width (mm) (Including Door Mirrors) 2070
Wheelbase (mm) 2600

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Interior

Hyundai have really upped their interior quality of late and this continues with the Kona. All of the switchgear is solid and sturdy, whilst plastics in the visible range are either nice and squidgy or easy on the eye.

The door trims are a little more rough and ready, as are the plastics lower down. But overall it’s a decent effort.

The tiny little armrests on the doors could do with more padding, and the static middle armrest that didn’t slide forward was an annoyance too.

Depending on the exterior colour you may receive matched interior trim, stitching and seat belts. They’re a smart addition and help to brighten what is otherwise a cabin of black.

Rear seat leg and head room is pretty decent, a full size adult would sit in the back without issue.

Boot space is a little compromised though at 361 litres. Nearly the smallest in its class.

 

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Conclusion

Hyundai have pretty much nailed the young crossover buyer with the Kona. The looks are on point, handling is surprisingly sporty and the levels of kit are decent from SE level upward.

It’s a shame the engine choice is limited to just the 1.0 litre really. If the 1.6 petrol was offered with a tight, manual gearbox it would no doubt be sublime.

 

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Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter