Funky Hyundai does a sterling job

Hyundai’s funky Kona has a lot going for it – not only does it bring a welcome edge to the middle of the brand’s utility range, but it also does so using some quite special tech to get the job done. 

Cruising along at the 120km/h and needing to floor it to pass a truck as many wheels as it is metres long and perhaps travelling too fast itself, and without all that much space to pull it off, I reminded myself that this car only had 999cc at its disposal as I puckered up to take the gap. But it did so with consummate ease – the sort of ease you’d expect from a 2-litre at least.

In fact, throughout our quite extensive driving time with it that included a bit of city and a lot of country work as we travelled to and followed the Cape national rally, something that tends to use all the utility of a vehicle like this offers, I was continually reminded by how well Kona punched so far above its downsize capacity. 

The little turbo lump is a gem, truth be told, delivering a wave of surprisingly creamy and usable torque to back up its buzzy powerband, while sipping an impressively small quantity of fuel to chase its claimed average quite adequately, in spite of being pushed pretty hard all along.

I like that daring styling – all those sparkly little lights conspire to illuminate your way pretty impressively, mind you – and Kona makes a proper little statement. Its cabin is spacious and quite practical and while it is daring enough, our tester seemed pretty sober inside versus its quite risqué outer appearance. 

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong at all inside, it’s just not quite as adventurous as it is outside, but its pleasantly and brightly stitched together and indeed spacious, versatile, practical and quite user friendly too. Never mind that it packs a whole pile of  cool stuff in to match its exuberant promise.

All in all, Kona brings a really cool twist to the Hyundai range – it’s a premium model in a brand sense, yet still a hell of a lot of car for the money and you will find some pretty compelling, if a little less daring alternatives alongside it on the dealer floor if that much is still too much for you. Kona you believe it!

ROAD TESTED: Hyundai Kona Kona 1.0T Executive
Engine: 88kW 172Nm 999cc turbo petrol I3
Drive: 6-speed manual FWD
0-60km/h: 4.55 sec
0-100km/h: 10.55 sec   
0-160km/h: 28.26 sec
400m: 19.1 sec @ 134km/h
80-120km/h:         7.34 sec
120-160km/h: 14.02 sec       
VMax: 181km/h 
Fuel: 6.8 l/100km
CO2: 138 g/km
Warranty/Service 5y 150K/5y 90Kkm
RATED:                    81%