Motoring: Hyundai Kona Hybrid




Everybody seems to want the SUV treatment nowadays – even those driving the smallest hatchbacks.

As a result, there’s an increasing demand for mini-crossovers – basically, a tiny hatchback that’s slightly raised up and typically has some roof rails and dark grey cladding around the wheel arches to give a more rugged appearance. That describes the Hyundai Kona quite nicely.

Its looks won’t win many awards, but diagonal lines of bodywork surrounding an arguably Lexus-inspired corset-shaped grille exudes some personality, along with thinned-out day-running lights and a funky rear.

The entry-level SE Connect gets 16-inch alloys, an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster.

The Premium adds 18-inch alloys, a larger 10.25-inch infotainment screen with navigation, a wireless phone charger, heated front seats and steering wheel, keyless entry and an engine start/stop button. It also boasts a KRELL premium sound system and electric folding door mirrors.

The flagship Ultimate grade offers electric front seats, leather seat trim, a tilting/sliding sunroof and LED headlights.

There is also an all-electric model, while on the non-hybrid petrol version, there’s another trim called N-Line. This grade adds some sportier bodywork, which sets the tone nicely for the full hot-hatch version, the 280PS Kona N.

However, sensible trousers are being worn here, so it’s the self-charging hybrid version in mid-range Premium trim on test for this review.

There is only one powertrain available: a 1.6-litre petrol engine connected to an electric motor for a combined 141PS. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic gearbox are also mandatory features.

The Hyundai moves away well, with the electric motor providing an extra helping hand. Mind you, zero to 62mph still takes 11.3 seconds, which is only marginally quicker than the petrol non-hybrid.

It will also go a short distance with the engine off, as long as you don’t make excessive demands of the throttle.

The acceleration is good for nipping in and out of traffic around town, while the Kona feels accomplished at motorway speeds, too.

The suspension setup is firm, which helps with the handling, meaning it’s agile, limiting body roll well around bends at speed.

However, pushing the limits is difficult because the Kona’s steering doesn’t weight up sufficiently at higher speeds. The result is that the bias towards handling over ride comfort feels excessive.

Inside, the cabin is nice and the infotainment system is pleasingly simple to use. The screen is clear and responsive – and the KRELL audio system sounds impressive.

The driving position is raised slightly, the visibility is reasonably good, and the seats are comfortable thanks to adjustable lumbar support.

You will find the interior space is a touch tight if you’re a very tall driver. But it’s sufficient for most, while the rear isn’t overly generous.

Boot space measures 374 litres, expanding to 1,156 litres with the rear seats folded in a 60/40 arrangement.

The Kona manages 56.5mpg, emitting just 114g/km of CO2, while a five-year unlimited mileage warranty is also on offer (eight years for the hybrid system), with Hyundai being one of the most dependable brands for reliability.

The model is also very safe, with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Overall, the Kona Hybrid is okay, but it’s getting a significant refresh in the coming months, which will undoubtedly catapult it up the ladder of desirability. In which case, I’m tempted to wait for that.

Fast Facts – Hyundai Kona Hybrid (1.6GDi 6-speed auto, Premium trim) as tested:

Max speed: 115 mph

0-60 mph: 11.3 secs

Fuel economy: 56.5 mpg (WLTP)

Engine layout: 1.6-litre four-cylinder with electric motor and front-wheel drive

Max. power (PS): 141

CO2: 114 g/km

Price: £29,115

Main Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hyundai Kona Hybrid

Tim Barnes-Clay

Tim Barnes-Clay is Sorted Magazine’s Motoring Editor. He test-drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches around the world. The dad-of-three has a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism and has been a presenter and producer at ITV Central. He has also worked as a radio reporter and undertakes video and voiceover work. You can follow and interact with Tim on Instagram @tbarnesclay

You may also like

Sorted Magazine

Sorted discusses the big issues of the day – focusing on subjects as diverse as culture, sport, cars, health, faith, gadgets, humour and relationships. We aim to be positive and wholesome in all we do. And we have been achieving this since 2007.

Every printed issue of Sorted is read by more than 100,000 men in 21 different countries – while digitally, the number of people reading our online content (free and via subscription) continues to soar.




Follow Us



Visit our shop for great gift ideas