By Amanda Mfuphi
There is a new entrant in the compact SUV market in South Africa and it has the right ingredients to potentially ruffle some feathers in this market. The Hyundai Kona was recently launched in South African and its tagline – “Decidedly Different!” – fits the description of the vehicle. The Kona comes in 2 engine derivatives being the 1.0-litre TGDI turbocharged engine and the 2.0-litre MPI turbocharged engine. The 1.0-litre TGDI is a 6-speed manual transmission and the 2.0-litre MPI is a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Hyundai Kona is not the greatest looking car out there and more than a few people were equally up to the task of telling us that it is not a good looking car. All we can say about the exterior of the Kona is that it is not a typical SUV design (and it is either you like it or not); the design of the Kona is edgy, vibrant, different and bold to throw out just a few adjectives. For us the design of the Kona grew on us and we appreciated the boldness of Hyundai in this non-conformist design and certainly caution potential buyers from allowing the design detract from the merit of the vehicle.
The Kona comes with a large grille and air vents, futuristic exterior stylings with its lit-eyed headlamps, sports lights, LED daytime running lights, roof-mounted rear spoiler and a distinctive rear-end. The Kona range is offered in vibrant colours such as Blue Lagoon Lake, Silver, Acid Yellow and Pulse Red. Our Kona came in the Thunder Gray colour meshed with black finishes and roof rails which made it look ready for a trip to the Cape Argus Cycle Tour
The inside of the Kona is packed with beautiful interior finishes, technology and safety features that may very well make up for the “not-so great” looks. The Kona has impressive features such as automatic air-con, a multi-function steering wheel, leather interior trim, cruise control, electric folding side mirrors and a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen situated in the middle of the upper dashboard, which is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Bluetooth voice prompts enabled. The interior of the Kona is full of colour as the steering wheel, the gear shift and the seats are colour coded with bright coloured stitching. Our Kona was a blend of black and red colour coding and the contrast made the interior quite appealing. Our Kona also came with an on-board StaNav system.
The cabin of the Kona is spacious enough and is capable of sitting 3 adults comfortably at the backseat, or alternatively, 2 adults should they choose to use the foldable arm-rest with the cup holders. The boot space of the Kona is a bit compact when compared to other SUVs as it comes at 361 litres but it does expand to about 1 143 litres when the back seats are folded. The Kona is also solid when it comes to safety features as it comes standard with features such as 6 airbags (dual front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags), park assist with a rear-view camera and blind spot monitoring.
Our test Kona was the 1.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine with 89 kW of power and 172 Nm of torque. The Kona was an enjoyable drive and we found the 1.0 litre engine to be quite punchy particularly at take-off, however, it does require downshifting on some inclines when the approach speed is low. The Kona is also quite a stable drive and handles itself well at high speeds with the driver always feeling in control of the situation. We mainly drove the Kona on short-distance drives to and from the office and we found it to be a practical and easy daily drive. We were also impressed with the fuel consumption of the Kona as we managed to get to about 6.6l / 100km on highway driving just slightly below the claimed 6.8l by Hyundai.
We certainly found the Kona to be a vehicle of great merit in light of the standard features it brings on offer to consumers in this segment of the market. We understand most of us typically judge cars by its looks, but we will definitely advise potential consumers to look beyond the looks of Kona (as the looks may not be for everyone) and judge the vehicle on its merits and what it offers.
- 1.0 TGDI Executive M/T – from R379,900
- 2.0 MPI Executive A/T – from R399,900
The Hyundai Kona comes with a 5-year/100 000 km warranty with an extra 2-yr/50,000 km drivetrain warranty. The service plan is valid for 5 years or 90,000 km.
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