Hyundai Kona Review | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia

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Hyundai’s taken a bold step out of the conventional monochromatic automotive universe. They’ve presumptuously done a ‘Citroen’ and introduced actual vibrancy into the Kona range – 22 cumulative Kona colour combinations are available.
There’s one called Tangerine Comet and the one depicted here, called appropriately, Acid Yellow, which is actually the shade of green halfway between liver failure, and the Incredible Hulk. And – if you want – some of those distinctive colours can follow you inside.
But I’m not so sure I am passionately in love with these lime green seatbelts. One step too far, perhaps, on the ‘vibrancy’ front (in the direction of Kermit). But, you know – eye of the beholder. Thankfully, though, it’s only the ‘LSD flashback to the Sixties’ coloured lime-green Kona that gets the matching seatbelts. There are conservative options as well.
The exterior styling is bold, too – it could almost be French. (Just talking about the styling. We wouldn’t want to inflict legendary French engineering on a vehicle such as this. Nobody deserves that.)
On more objective grounds, there are three models – Active, Elite and Highlander – each with a choice two engines – a 2.0-litre atmo four with front drive and a six-speed auto, and a 1.6 turbo four with seven-speed dual-clutch and all-wheel drive. And we’ve seen both these powertrains before.
Suspension’s a surprise, too – at least it’s a surprise if you equate SUV’s with being ponderous and uninspiring. Driving a Kona – especially the 1.6 turbo – is sporty and car-like. Hyundai Oz has a small team of magicians who develop a bespoke suspension and steering tune for our uniquely crap Australian roads. They are proving very talented at this.
A space saver spare tyre is standard – and unfortunately, a full-sized spare doesn’t fit. I know they were working on a full-sized option, but that’s been given the official thumbs-down by the boys upstairs. You could probably dodgy one up – but the removable cargo floor would need to be raised to a non-factory degree.
There’s no manual transmission. Plus, you don’t get adaptive cruise control on Highlander – despite having the radar sensor for the forward collision warning and autonomous emergency brake system. Despite having adaptive cruise available on i30 SR Premium (and the diesel Premium). And you don’t get a diesel. And there’s no panorama sunroof available. And there’s no integrated, stand-alone GPS.
Let’s break down the Kona Range.
Active, Elite and Highlander in ascending order. 16, 17 and 18-inch alloys, respectively. Easiest trainspotter’s guide to the variants: Active’s don’t get the contrasting roof. Elite has 20-spoke wheels and Highlanders get five spokes. If you want to spot the variants 50 metres out, I don’t know, lasering the right one for an airstrike, that’s how you do it.
Let’s talk pricing, and this is BEFORE on-road costs. Here in ‘Straya it’s $24,500 for the base Active, and $28,000 for the Active 1.6T – and that adds the grunty engine, the dual-clutch transmission, and the all-wheel drive.
There’s a comprehensive safety pack for the Active – it’s worthwhile. You get blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, lane-keep assist and forward warning and auto emergency braking. That’s going to cost you another $1500.
It’s another $4000 more for Elite, and another $4000 more for the Highlander. The range tops out at $36,000 for the Highlander 1.6 turbo. Premium paint is about $600 and the two-tone roof is about $300 on Elite and Highlander only.
Servicing is dirt cheap – $259 a throw. Once every 12 months or 15,000km for the 2.0 atmo Kona, or 12 months or 10,000km for the 1.6T – remember, that’s time or distance, whichever occurs first. And there’s roadside assist for 10 years, plus a solid five-year warranty with unlimited kilometres.
Active variants get the 7-inch tablet in the centre of the dash, rear camera, tyre pressure monitoring, auto headlights, cruise control, roof rails, rear parking sensors, plus Apple and Android phone integrations – and Bluetooth.
Elite gets you a splash of leather, proximity key, climate air, privacy glass in the rear, fog lights, auto wipers, and a splash of carbon grey garnish.
Highlander adds front parking sensors, LED lights front and rear, auto high beam, a head-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, a better instrument cluster, power adjustment for the front seats, a wireless phone charging pad, and a heated steering wheel.
There’s no question Kona is a high quality compact SUV – and it’s a clear winner in this segment if you want performance. The 1.6 turbo sets itself apart nicely right there. Hyundai provides excellent customer support, too – which is very reassuring.

Comments

sumerolu says:

I was very interested in this car until 9.46 min in when John said ‘space saver tyre’ and that a standard does not fit. Space saver my ass, money saver for the manufacturer. I always insist on not only a full size tyre but that it is also alloy when buying a new car and included free. No car should have to have a shit tyre put on it and have to travel around looking dumb ugly. Then you have to get the alloy repaired, take off the spare and replace it with the alloy. Troublesome to say the least. Sorry Hyundai, think again.

bzacon says:

Just bought another Kyocera or “kaioh sarah” as you say :) Wish I had something profoundly unintelligent to say here if only as a way to sneak into your next video.

abz124816 says:

Good afternoon John C. I find you very enjoyable to watch on many levels.
First and foremost, you know a great deal more than the average consumer and you tell it straight to your audience. You are also a very clever comedianperformer that has a very attractive edge peppered with very witty quips which are sprinkled here and there with colorful, (and pleasant I might add), expressions like bullshit and other equally wonderful vulgarities which spice up you delivery by just the right amount. You share your opinion in public skillfully.
I hope that one day you may do such a show for us in the US with cars of your choice. There are already a few automotive related cable shows in the US, whose hosts are not in your league, in my opinion. Yet somehow they manage to succeed. You would be the equivalent of any of a few the famous late night talk show host for gear heads. Maybe your promoters are working on such a deal as we speak. I wish you continued success in your career path and hope to continue to watch you, at least on YouTube, for many years to come. Abraham

James Whyard says:

Heated? Steering wheel, seat or whatever, may be a selling point inn Europe or the USofA but surely not Oz? Cooling please Hyundai/KIA. Understand our climate…

Giorgio Licastro says:

I didn’t notice the shirt till you raised it. Great review(s), keep’em coming.

Alofzico says:

Excellent review and comparison. Very helpful indeed.

RPG Entertainment says:

New Mitsi Eclipse Cross will give this fun for the money, it probably has everything this can offer and more like double sun roof… and probably cheaper.

john brown says:

NOW SPOILER ALERT , The space saver spare is approx 610 mm overall diameter, BUT the diameter of the 16″ rim is 640 mm, this means your vehicle is going to be lop sided, Tried the Kona out for a drive with the Falcon rim, feels great and does not venture outside of the vehicle width which keeps it within legal limits.

Alex Howen says:

Expensive

Niko SikoDiko says:

It has a freaking 2.0L Multipoint engine! (assuming the same the Elantra wears) – Why can’t they just use the i30 GDi engine?

Thordur Hogna says:

Kona means woman in Icelandic

Angelo Brattoli says:

Kona is also a coffee blend.

john brown says:

Found that full size spare, it is probably BA Falcon 16″ steel 6.5 inch, only prob is it extends the tyre outwards about 10 mm, but if used on the rear will not be an “outward”menace, and not upset the steering geometry.

1976dropbear says:

i noticed you were driving around canberra….def shitsville…..lol

john brown says:

One thing I like about the Active series, a proper handbrake LEVER, not one of these el cheapo “Electric park brake” an egregious devise fitted to save the manufacturer money and assembly time, but they want us to think that it is a WOW GE WIZZ marvelous worthwhile improvement,Bastards more things to go wrong, particularly if you have a flat battery and can’t get at the bonnet to open it when all is locked up, a faulty switch could also leave you stranded at the lights. I also like the 16 inch alloys , all of these 17,18 and 19 inch things might be a selling features but really, the more rubber you have between the rim and road makes for a better ride and less chance of destroying a rim in a pothole,and the tyres are probably cheaper too, if safety was the answer then all models would have the same size, BUT HEY, would that not mean that my vehicle would look “down market” against my neighbours fancy other brand with those big fancy alloys, it’s all bullshit, mines bigger than yours applies just as much on the road as in the locker room.

James Allen says:

I like the “crap roads” … keeps the tourists away. You know? The city folks out for a rubber-neck, etc? The car Kona looks nice but would take the i30 if given a choice.

Charles Hart says:

Hohn, like the Kona. Regarding the turbo 1.6l. It’s derated in the Kona (revs limited) and the 2019 Tucson has dropped it. Do you think it’s possible Hyundai is seeing problems with the turbo?

Sergio Lourenco says:

Kona means vagina in Portuguese

manoman0 says:

Hyundai Pony!

wen li ritchie lee says:

Kona 1.6 turbo or santa fe 2.0 or oddessy rb1 2.3 faster??

MRDKastel says:

Surely a kona is beter than quashai

Brian Castle-Rees says:

Having read some of the comments I think people seem to forget beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are a lot of common cars and or makes I think are ugly etc. BMW for example, I’d never ever consider one. They are over priced and over rated and in the UK most BMW drivers seem to be extremely selfish who think the roads belong to them…. but I digress. The point is, it’d be really boring if everyone liked the same styling etc so be thankful there is so much choice out there. When I passed my test 37 years ago there was about a 1/4 of the choice so enjoy the variety even if you don’t like it visually

Hatem Elshafei says:

KONA, The CX3 Design Steeler, Shame on you Hyundai.

Stephen Butler says:

Wow 2l, im the UK were getting a 1L petrol or 1.6L petrol auto. 2L diesel coming later in 18. The 1.6L can be had in AWD for £1300 extra as will the 2ld when that comes.

Nassim Abed says:

I thought the Kona comes in a hybrid and an EV versions?

adelaideonthego says:

True Aussie.

James Allen says:

“Real men wear Italian tablecloths” hehe … good one!

john brown says:

Just throw out the “spare Bolts, Nuts, Washers etc foam tray above the spare wheel?”.and a 6.5 inch rim fits, you just have to “dolly” up a hold down bolt as the old one is too short.

Stinky Man says:

It is a STATION WAGON.
They are marketed as an SUV just like the E-Bike which is a “Moped”
On the bright side in the final analysis Rolling with a fat chicks isn’t all that bad.

Jad Ibrahim says:

Can we get that tuned suspension in Quebec? I guaranty that our roads are worse!

john brown says:

We have a new Kona in the family [sons car] Active Xtra, great car, only complaint I have is space saver spare, am going to check out other comparable steel rims to get around this, I would, if it were mine, try to see if the drivers seat runners could lift the seat by about 50mm, disappointing that as a vehicle that purports to be a mini SUV you sit DOWN into it instead of stepping up to get in like a proper SUV. as we get older stepping up to get in is the main reason for getting an SUV as our bones start to creak.

João Carlos says:

Kona is also “a rude word to mention a woman’s private parts” in portuguese, that is why in the portuguese market is called Hyundai Kauai. Just a small last minute marketing correction. Nice review, keep it up!

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