Test Driving the All New Hyundai Kona

Test Driving the All New Hyundai Kona
  • Written by
  • Matt Lee

Bold on the inside and out, with a unique, confident look and the armour and attitude of a superhero – here’s the newest addition to Hyundai Taupo.

Promising many new innovative features, outrageous style, and total comfort while driving, we were curious to experience it for ourselves. So I got behind the wheel and took it for a test drive.

If you’re an active urbanite who needs to stay in arm’s length of a latte, but not a hard-core adventurer, this one’s for you.

My first encounter with a Hyundai was a Tucson in 2010. I don’t have fond memories so let me first state that there may have been some brand misconceptions going in to this test drive. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. The Kona is annoyingly good.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you may have noticed that nearly every millennial is hopping out of their pint-sized SUV clad in active wear ready to hit the local café for some smashed avocado on toast. Hyundai seems to have been caught with its pants down in this segment until now, and with the feature list on offer you could say they are last, but definitely not least.

Distinctive and Stylish

Where other brands have gone for a smaller version of its bigger brothers, it seems the Kona has a completely different mother and father to any of the models in the Hyundai lineup. Bold in its styling, Hyundai has kept with the fashion of these small SUV’s. There are nine colours to choose from and even a two-tone roof option. Just don’t tick that box if you go for black because no one will notice.

Clever Safety Features

Where the Kona stretches out in front of the pack is with safety. Even that Nordic brand that you associate with safety charges you extra for some safety features. Hyundai has taken a different approach here. With SmartSense, you get all of them – even on the base model; heads up display, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. I tried to see how active the lane keep assist is by taking my hands off the wheel. It will keep you in the centre of your lane like a pro but it will soon remind you to put your hands back on the wheel. If you’re on the road a lot hammering out the k’s, this could keep your drive just that little bit more relaxing. The lane departure warning became a bit of a game to see how far you can travel without it beeping at you when you get close to the lines. I think I would turn this one off eventually. The heads-up-display prevents the need to look at your dashboard so often, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. In fact, you kind of forget the traditional dashboard is even there.

Innovative Technology

With the target market in mind, Hyundai has loaded this vehicle with more tech than KITT on Knightrider. You can customise everything even down to what is displayed on the heads-up-display. Wireless charging for your phone still amazes me. The technology has been in use on your toothbrush for a long time, but it is somehow not even near as impressive. Place your handset in the designated area and hear the nice ‘ding’ from your phone as it starts to charge. This should be standard in any car until phone manufacturers can produce something that lasts longer than a few episodes of Netflix and a session on candy crush.

Perfect Sound

I’m a bit of a sucker for decent sounds. This is no audiophile setup nor would you expect it to be at this price but it would rival many others I have heard from more expensive brands. Turn it up and the bass doesn’t distort. In fact, it has quite a punch. Stream spotify through Apple Car Play or Android Auto and you may find yourself getting snapped at the lights singing along to your favourite tunes.

Comfortable Driving

Driveability will not disappoint you. Quick steering makes the car feel nimble and the 1.6 turbo engine as tested gives you the confidence to overtake. Hit Hatepe Hill and get in front of the slow-moving traffic without feeling like your fuel is being used to make more noise than power.

Robust Engines

Two engines and two options / packages to choose from keeps the decision simple. Choose from Entry or Elite with the 2.0 litre naturally aspirated or the 1.6 turbo.


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