The Hyundai Kona (2023) is a good one. A silent force that never screams for attention. With its low consumption and acceptable price, it could well become a Dutch crowd favorite.
That it is not striking at all; the Hyundai Kona is pleasantly unobtrusive. Externally, the new Kona has made a huge growth spurt compared to its predecessor: it became 18.5 centimeters longer and falls exactly between the Bayon and the Tucson in the Hyundai hierarchy. At the front, the narrow light strip across the entire width of the car is striking. The Kona looks very different from a model like the Ioniq 5 or 6; the Hyundai models do not have a family face.
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What is striking is that it was not the petrol version, but the electric Kona that was developed first. The petrol and hybrid versions were created on this basis. The Hyundai Kona is built on the K3 platform on which the Be Niro which already appeared on the market last year. It is available as a 1.0 T-GDI mild hybrid (120 hp, with manual gearbox) and - like our test car - as a 'normal' hybrid (141 hp). An electric Hyundai Kona will follow later this year.
Nobody buys a Hyundai Kona to win traffic light sprints. It takes its time for the sprint to 100 km/h (10.9 seconds) and the top speed of 165 km/h is modest. But why would Hyundai go out of its way? Never for a moment are you waiting for faster sprints and more power on the busy Dutch roads with all their speed limits. A spacious, comfortable and economical car is much more useful to you during trips to the supermarket, to your (grand)children's sports club or on a weekend trip.
And that is where the Kona excels. When driving away and at low speed, it runs solely on the electric motor. You will notice it when the petrol engine kicks in, but it is done in a civilized manner. The 43.5 hp electric motor and the four-cylinder with 105 hp respond to each other like the choir and orchestra in Beethoven's famous Ninth. The electric motor helps to return power to the battery when braking. You determine how powerfully this happens with the paddle behind the wheel. Without driving like a cheapskate, you can achieve decent consumption figures. We achieve 4.8 l/100 km (1 in 20.8) and that is only 0.1 liter above the consumption stated by Hyundai.
The tuning of the chassis is comfortable: it neatly overcomes the many bumps in residential areas and on the highway you notice very little of the bumps in the road. Furthermore, you can easily travel with four adults and we have recently driven few cars where the controls are so logical. You do not have to delve deeply into the menu structure of the infotainment system for the most important functions, the many buttons automatically show the way.
It's a downside that we can't blame Hyundai; the brand simply follows EU rules. One button played a key role in every ride we took with the Kona. That button has an asterisk and when you press it, you can turn off the ADAS safety systems that assist the driver while driving.
EU legislation is now so strict that from July 2024, every new model must have a system that warns if you exceed the prevailing speed limit. Not with a modest light, but with clearly audible sound signals. In the Kona, a strict fatigue assistant also watches you, with its own beep sound. A third beep sounds when you approach a fixed speed camera, while beep number 4 warns overzealously if you drive too close to fellow road users. All systems treat you to a blistering beep concert during the entire ride.
Fortunately, it is also a piece of cake to switch them off and you can do that if you press the asterisk. You can then switch off each system individually via the screen. Peace returns, but temporarily, because with every new ride you have to switch everything off again. Get used to it if you have a new car in mind, because from the summer of 2024 the systems will be mandatory on every new car.
Even the prices of the Kona are reasonable. The 1.0 T-GDI costs at least 29,995 euros, for the 1.6 HEV you pay 4,000 euros more. And then the final agreement still has to come. The Kona Electric will be launched later this year - the car that is the basis of the hybrid we drive. There will be two versions, one with a 48.4 kWh battery (range 377 km) and one with a 65.4 kWh battery (514 km). It is not yet known how much the electric Hyundai Kona will cost.
The Hyundai Kona has remained very ordinary and that is what makes it special. Don't expect fast sprints, no fancy dashboards with colors and atmospheric worlds, but a comfortable car with good fuel consumption and lots of space. It is unpretentious and that is our sincere compliment to Hyundai.
This post was last modified on September 13, 2023 5:14 am
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