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The Hyundai Kona Hybrid delivers on responsible driving fun with its sorted chassis and suite of driver assistance features.

21 Aug 2020


With the old petrol-only Kona no longer available from Komoco Motors, shoppers here still looking to get a bite of the eclectic styling of the Kona without the hassle of a fully-electric drivetrain will now have to opt for a hybrid drivetrain.

So how does the Kona fare as a hybrid?

Love at first sight?

Plastic cladding all around the Kona Hybrid can make it one busy thing to behold
Hardly.

First impressions are not great. You've probably already seen plenty of the regular petrol-driven and electric-only versions on the roads, so I'll spare you a run-through of the car's exterior.

Let's just say I think it is a barely cohesively designed thing. And the disappointment continues on the inside, where the Kona hybrid comes off as a bit drab.

Grey plastics dominate proceedings, a shame given the interesting red accents on the seats of the 1.0-litre petrol-driven version and the fact that the cheaper and smaller Hyundai Venue can be had with a two-tone interior on the higher-spec 'S' model.

The interior of the Kona Hybrid is dominated by shades of grey
Matched against the cheaper high-spec sunroof Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid with which this Kona shares its drivetrain, the interior of the 'Sunroof' spec Kona loses out on quite a few interior features.

Firstly, the stunning 7.0-inch full LCD Supervision driver's instrument cluster in the Ioniq is forfeited for a 4.2-inch one flanked by two regular roundels in the Kona. Secondly, the 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is downgraded back to Hyundai's 7.0-inch display in the Kona Hybrid.

Combined, some of the wow-factor of the crisp driving displays and the high-gloss bezel of the infotainment system in the Ioniq is sadly absent in the Kona Hybrid.

Getting to know you

7.0-inch infotainment lacks high-gloss bezel of the 8.0-inch system found on other Hyundai products
Thankfully, those that are willing to get over those first impressions will be richly rewarded.

The interior feels well put together despite its monochromatic scheme. The infotainment system pairs seamlessly and instantly with your phone, and the leather seats (standard on both specifications) are comfortable.

The headrests are generously cushioned, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel (only on the 'Sunroof' model) is a delight both to hold and squeeze.

Being a high-spec Hyundai also means you get the lovely ventilated front-seats to tackle the hottest afternoons, but rear occupants will feel short-changed without any air-conditioning vents or power outlets, while knee-room will be lacking for your taller companions.

Wanna grab lunch?

18-inch rims on the 'Sunroof' spec model are two-inches larger than those on the base spec car
But take the Kona Hybrid out and things get better.

The ride can come across as rather busy over poor roads but I suspect that those that opt for the base-spec car with the 16-inch rims (18-inches on this car) will find ride quality far more agreeable.

All hybrid Kona models come with a multi-link rear suspension, although the 1.0-litre petrol-powered version utilises a torsion beam setup at the rear, and on the go the added sophistication of the suspension can be felt.

The car soaks up larger bumps without issue and body roll is very well-controlled in the corners. This combines with a well-weighted steering wheel to make the Kona an agreeable car to tackle corners at speed with.

The driver assistance systems in the Kona Hybrid are a real treat to use
Acceleration is not as great as I remember in the Ioniq Hybrid, but is still brisk, quiet, and linear. You will still hardly ever find the Kona Hybrid lacking in daily traffic.

And while you're going through the daily grind, Hyundai's Smartsense assistance features continue their characteristic chatty but seamlessly helpful nature.

Driving on the highway, engine drone is well muted, but tyre roar will make itself heard.

Over the course of three days I managed an average fuel consumption figure of 17.4km/L, which is respectable for a hybrid crossover.

Should you commit?

Wheel wells eat into available boot space so make sure you are not transporting long items together with passengers
Should you get the Hybrid version of Hyundai's Kona?

If you don't need more than 361-litres of boot space (stingy next to the Honda HR-V's 431 litres but comparable to the Toyota C-HR's 316 litres) and are instead looking for a hybrid crossover that can deliver on driving dynamics, the Kona Hybrid makes for a convincing package.

And if you opt for the hybrid and you will also get the bonus of having an interesting drivetrain to pair with that wild exterior design.

Car Information

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Hyundai Kona Hybrid 1.6 DCT Sunroof (A)
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Price

: $120,999

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC

Engine Cap

:

1580cc

Horsepower

:

97kW (130 bhp) / 5700 rpm

Torque

:

265 Nm / 1500 rpm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A) DCT

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

11.2sec

Top Speed

:

160km/h

Fuel consumption

:

23.3 km/L

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