HYUNDAI KONA: compact and roomy SUV joins the fray

1469822_Hyundai_Kona_060CUT-THROAT just isn’t an adequate word when it comes to the compact SUV market these days.

Crammed might be better, because you’d be hard pressed to find a manufacturer who doesn’t have one vying for your attention in the pages of their glossy brochures or on-line.

It’s been too good a gig to miss out on, and the British public just can’t seem to get enough of them. They’re all built on sound underpinnings – SEAT’s Arona is a pumped up Ibiza, Kia’s Stonic has morphed from the Rio and Hyundai’s Kona has its origins in the decent i20.

1469826_Hyundai_Kona_061And this is where it gets interesting. In Hyundai’s line-up you could go for the 1.0 litre three cylinder turbo petrol. But why would you when at the top of the range sits a 177ps 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol unit with a seven speed auto box and four wheel drive. Which makes it just a bit more interesting.

Like your cars to be compact yet roomy and zippy? Here it is, its only downside being the price is a bit stiff at £26,245 (as tested here). Still, you do get a five year unlimited mileage warranty to soften the blow somewhat.

1469382_Hyundai_Kona_075It’s taller than your average hatchback body means it’s a bit susceptible to leaning over – but not alarmingly so – if you’re too enthusiastic through corners, but the 4wd 1.6 hangs on well enough and its steering has that precision feel that gives you a good idea what’s going on at the front. Nicely weighted, it requires little effort to flick from lock to lock.

And with a seven speed auto box that changes swiftly the only thing that’ll really require your undivided attention – apart from everything else on the road – is the spongey nature of the brake pedal.

1469559_Hyundai_Kona_120A body with relatively thin pillars and tall windows means visibility isn’t hampered too much apart from looking over your shoulder when the C pillar proves a bit of a hindrance. Thank goodness for rear park sensors and a rear camera.

Seats in the Premium GT version here are all electric and offer a wide range of adjustment, meaning drivers of all shapes and all sizes should be able to settle down behind the wheel in relative comfort.

1469714_Hyundai_Kona_033Some cars seem to arrive in showrooms these days with steering wheels sporting more buttons than a big girl’s blouse, and Kona (a name that has unfortunate connotations in the homeland of a Portuguese friend) is no exception. Two big dials dominate the binnacle ahead of the driver, with the info at your fingertips displayed in between.

Top of the range models gets a eight inch touchscreen system, wireless phone charging, an eight speaker Krell sound system (never heard of that one before) and an interior that feels well put together, even if there is an overuse of hard plastics.

In the rear you get a 60/40 split to the seat which you might need to utilise as the boot measures up at below the class average.

1469690_Hyundai_Kona_027SE trim gets you get a 7.0in colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as 17in alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors and rear camera.

Premium trim adds 18in wheels, climate control and keyless start and entry, while Premium GT gibes you power folding door mirrors, a heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated front seats.

FOR: generous equipment level
AGAINST: top models a bit pricey

FASTFACTS: Hyundai Kona Premium GT; £26,245 (as tested); 1591cc four cylinder turbocharged, 177ps, 265Nmseven speed auto box; top speed 127mph, 0-62mph 7.9secs; combined mpg – 42.2; CO2 153g/km.

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