The Hyundai Kona was part of the Korean firm's rapid expansion into the SUV market. It uses a platform that's shared with the i30 hatchback, and slots in beneath the Tucson in the line-up. It was the smallest SUV that Hyundai made until the Bayon arrived in 2021. Petrol and diesel powerplants were offered at launch in 2017, while four-wheel drive was reserved for the highest-spec models. The Kona Electric arrived in 2018, and a Hybrid model was launched around the same time, while the whole range was facelifted in 2021.
What's it like?
The Hyundai Kona is a five-door model, while most cars are petrol, although diesel was offered early in the car's life. Turbocharging is common across the range, including the 1.0 T-GDi petrol three-cylinder and 1.6 T-GDi four cylinder petrol. The diesel was a 1.6 CRDi unit. The majority of cars are front-wheel drive, while four-wheel drive came with the 1.6-litre petrol and DCT twin-clutch automatic gearbox in a top-spec trim.
The hybrid models are more fuel efficient and are all fitted with DCT twin-clutch automatic gearboxes. These are all front-wheel drive. At the top of the range, the high-performance Kona N uses the same running gear as the i30 N hot hatchback, with a twin-clutch DCT gearbox, front-wheel drive and bespoke suspension settings.
The Kona Electric is available with either a 39kWh or 64kWh battery, with the latter capable of 415km on a single charge. It's available in the same range of trim levels as the combustion models.
Which model to go for?
Choose the Kona Electric if you are able to charge at home and only cover medium to short distances. It's a quiet and refined car to drive, although it does have a firm ride.
If you need longer range, then the hybrid models are worth seeking out, although a Toyota C-HR is a better option for similar pricing. The Kona N is fun, but it's not quite as much fun as the i30 N on which it's based – and it’s seriously rare in Ireland.
Whichever Kona you choose, be prepared to sacrifice some back-seat practicality. It's not the roomiest SUV in the back, although boot space is adequate.
Does anything go wrong?
Hyundai offers a five-year warranty on all of its cars, which shows confidence in its products. On top of that, the Kona Electric has an eight-year warranty for its drive battery. There has been just one recall for the Kona, and it was relating to a short circuit affecting the drive battery of the Kona Electric, so if you’re looking at older examples, make sure that work has been done.