The Hyundai Kona handles tidily and is well equipped, but has uncomfortable suspension and an average boot
The Hyundai Kona is a small SUV that’s available in eye-catching colours, but doesn’t have the same feel-good factor as the Citroen C3 Aircross. The Hyundai’s interior design is a little ordinary compared with the Citroen’s, although you can specify some bright coloured trims on more expensive models to add a hint of wow factor.
No matter how you jazz things up, though, more of a problem is the Kona’s practicality: it has a relatively small boot, and rear-seat knee room, while good, isn’t as generous as you’ll find in the C3. The Hyundai also misses out on the sliding and reclining rear seat that you get in the Citroen.
There are fewer complaints when it comes to the Hyundai’s infotainment. So long as you avoid entry-level S models you get a relatively large infotainment screen that can mirror the display of your phone – for satellite navigation – and a handy reversing camera. The latter makes up for the slight blind spot you get out the back of the car, but aside from that you get a good view out and the controls are light – making it a good car for town driving.
However, one of the Hyundai Kona’s biggest issues is comfort while driving. The Kona isn’t as comfortable as alternative small SUVs such as the Renault Captur or Seat Arona, feeling too firm across UK roads. That said, it counters by at least being good to drive for a small SUV, with steering that’s nicely weighted and very little body lean in tight corners.
The Kona’s exterior looks a bit like a granny wearing a multicoloured shell suit and hiking boots – it’s eye-catching and rugged but not hugely stylish
The range-topping 1.6-litre petrol model is the best to drive thanks to its more advanced suspension, but you’re better off with the 1.0-litre petrol that’s easier on fuel and doesn’t sound so strained when you rev it. That said, it’s still noisy for a petrol engine, making more of a din than similar engines in other small SUVs.
There’s also a pair of diesels to choose from, but they feel more sluggish than the petrols and make even more noise when you accelerate. They are more frugal, however, and suit long-distance drivers much better as a result.
Hyundai’s automatic gearbox – that’s standard fit with the 1.6 petrol and higher-powered 1.6 diesel – is also slow to change down gears when you want a quick burst of acceleration and can be a little jerky at slow speeds. The manual fitted to all other models is light and easy to use.
Out on the motorway, the Hyundai Kona is a quiet cruiser and should also be pretty safe – Euro NCAP has given it the full five stars. Top-of-the-range cars come with automatic emergency braking that can sense people and other cars – it will slam the brakes on hard if it detects an imminent collision.
Arguably the Hyundai’s biggest selling point – if you want years of hassle-free motoring – is its unlimited-mileage/five-year warranty. But the Hyundai Kona is hard to recommend when the Kia Stonic is basically the same car, is more stylish and has a longer seven-year warranty.