Hyundai Kona Hybrid
By Bill McCarthy
HYUNDAI’S funky compact crossover is an eye-catcher in many ways, not least with the manufacturer’s move to electric power.
It has a bold, wide stance, cascading grille, full LED light cluster set-up, high ground clearance and wheel arch cladding protecting this model’s 18-inch alloy wheels, plus rear privacy glass and integrated roof bars.
There is a choice of petrol, full electric and now this hybrid as the firm charges towards full electrifcation. No longer bargain basement, but still excellent value for money, despite the still relatively high cost of electrified cars, with this model setting you back more than £27k. But it is lavishly kitted out.
Power comes from a 1.6-litre GDI direct injection petrol engine and electric motor producing a maximum of 141PS. This combined with the 1.56kWh lithium battery provides the urge for a motor clearly designed for economy rather than performance.
The key though is economy with a huge, claimed 72mpg, via the petrol/electric combination. It was difficult to judge accurately, but I reckon real world economy was nearer 60mpg.
To supplement this, the ECO-Driving Assist System (ECO-DAS) aims to reduce fuel consumption and minimise brake usage by charging and discharging the battery in uphill and downhill situations.
The hybrid also offers technological enhancements including the clever Bluelink app, a system which connects drivers to their cars through their smartphones.
Drivers can check the status of their vehicle, as well as offering a control mode function to make it easy for them to keep track of their car and send remote commands anytime, from anywhere. The app also allows users to lock and unlock car doors remotely.
They will also receive a push notification on their smartphone if they forget to lock the car. It can also switch on the car’s climate control before setting off on a trip to heat or cool the interior of their car on hot or cold days.
The system is built into the centrepiece on this model, the 10.25-inch split touch, multifunction screen. Smartphones can be displayed on screen via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also controls navigation, connectivity and and an excellent KRELL audio system with eight speakers,
In addition, a 4.2-inch cluster screen highlights dedicated hybrid-specific graphics for customers.
The interior is of high quality and spacious enough with part leather seats on this model, glossy black accents on the door handles, but soft touch finish is largely absent with sturdy plastic finish more prevalent.
Head and legroom are decent for a compact SUV and practicality is also excellent with boot space offers 334 litres with the seats in place, which increases to 1,116 litres with the seats folded. There are plenty of other useful little cubbyholes, drinks holders and side pockets for extra practicality.
This range topping model includes just about every gizmo, bell and whistle, including heated steering wheel, power front seats with heating and ventilation, climate control, steering wheel audio, automatic dimming mirror, USB connectivity and automatic headlights with dusk sensor
On the road the car performs well enough, I commented to the other half that is is one of the easiest of cars to drive, despite a slightly hesitant six-speed dual clutch transmission.
For a more engaging drive, you can switch to sport mode and engage the steering wheel paddles, which sharpens responsdes up. It does feel well planted on corners and the ride is extremely comfortable with little body roll.
Safety kit is comprehensive with the firm’s driver assistance system constantly monitoring the environment around the vehicle. The safety package can add the collision warning and avoidance assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection ability. In addition, customers can also choose the optional smart cruise control.
This goes further than standard cruise control by incorporating advanced safety features such as automatic braking. It uses a front radar sensor to maintain a constant speed and distance from the vehicle ahead by automatically accelerating and braking.
Hyundai is firmly on the road to electrification with the hybrid still a compromise for those who are still unsure about making the leap to full electric. Add the Hyundai five-year/unlimited miles warranty and the Kona is a fine option.
Hyundai Kona Hybrid Premium SE
Mechanical: 141PS, 1,580cc, 4-cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving front wheels via six DCT transmission
Max Speed: 99mph
0-62mph: 11.6 seconds
Combined MPG: 72
Insurance Group: 10E
C02 emissions: 99g/km
Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles