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Car Tested: Hyundai Kona 1.0 GDi
Prices from: £16,195 – £25,500
With Thanks to Westover Hyundai.
Salisbury 01722 440583
By Dominic Parkes
To the man watching the CCTV covering the Southampton car park: ‘No, I was not trying to break into the Vauxhall Mokka.’ It’s just that it was the same shade of white and a very similar shape to the Hyundai Kona parked next to it which would unlock, when I finally realised that the first car having a different colour interior and an Ann Summers bag that most certainly was not mine. Ahem. New cars do look alike these days don’t they?
To compound my error the barrier refused to lift on exiting the car park due to a ‘ticket issue’. This required each of the seven cars behind me to reverse a little to allow me to do a ninety-five point turn and scuttle off to find assistance – good news is that the Kona passed the manoeuvrability test with flying colours…
Safely back on the road leading to the motorway I could laugh about it and enjoy the drive home. Both city and motorway driving is a pleasure in this little car. The suspension and steering allow you to enjoy roundabouts and urban routes as much as the motorway where I found the little one-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine more than capable of making progress and, as with every recent Hyundai I have driven, it is well-built and a very comfortable place to be.
I was driving the Premium SE model which has heated and fan-cooled seats, heated steering wheel, a superb sound system plus a host of other toys to make life just a little bit better. A special mention, however, has to go to the Sat Nav, which has to be one of the clearest and most informative I have ever used and my favourite the Head Up Display.
On starting the car a smartphone-sized piece of perspex rises from the dashboard binnacle which then has the vehicle speed, current speed limit plus simple Sat Nav directions projected upon it – very clever indeed. Sure, this is top of the range but the entry ‘S’ model is no discomfort either.
The Kona is one of the Korean giant’s first attempts at a rival for the Renault Captur, Nissan Juke or the Stonic from the sister brand Kia – and although it does look similar to other vehicles from certain angles it most certainly does look sharp and individual from the front.
The narrow headlights give it a rather futuristic look that I rather like, and as the small SUV market is currently more congested than Waitrose two days before Christmas, it has to be. Diesel engines are on the way later but for now the choice is the turbo-charged1.0 GDi which produces 118bhp or a turbo-charged 1.6 which has 175bhp. I think the one-litre engine reviewed here will be the favourite. On a long run I was achieving 46 miles to the gallon which really negates the need for a diesel in my mind.
In recent years Hyundai have been a little conservative when it comes to car design. The Kona is a breakthrough and I hope this continues as this little car should do very well.