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Hyundai Kona Hybrid review

The Hyundai Kona Hybrid has lots of kit and looks quite smart, but the interior is a bit dull and the boot is a bit small.

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wowscore
6/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Plenty of equipment
  • OK to drive
  • Five-year warranty

What's not so good

  • Small boot area
  • Bland interior
  • Feels slow

Hyundai Kona Hybrid: what would you like to read next?

Is the Hyundai Kona Hybrid a good car?

If you’re after a practical family SUV that has funky looks combined with great fuel economy, you may be thinking that the Hyundai Kona Hybrid should be on your shopping list – alongside the likes of the Kia Niro or Toyota C-HR.

Well, maybe… or maybe not. You see neither the exterior nor the interior designs are nearly as funky as those in the Toyota. That said, you can specify some bright coloured trims on more expensive models to add a hint of wow factor. Unfortunately, that’s like adding red food colouring to water – it might look like strawberry juice but it’s still going to taste bland.

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 Peugeot 2008, for example.

There are fewer complaints when it comes to the Hyundai’s infotainment. You get a 10-inch infotainment screen with  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a handy reversing camera. The latter makes up for the slight blind spot you get out of 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.

The Kona Hybrid has relatively firm suspension for a small SUV. This means it feels a touch on the sporty side for this type of car. The flip side is you feel the bumps in the road a lot more than in a Peugeot 2008, which focuses more on comfort, which may be more important to most people buying one.

The Kona Hybrid does the sensible things well, such as economy and low CO2, but it's quite dull to live with.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

Thy Hyundai Kona Hybrid links a 105hp four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 43hp electric motor. These drive the front wheels through an automatic gearbox. The Kona Hybrid is a full- or self-charging hybrid. This means that you don’t have to charge the car up, but it can’t go any great distance on electric power alone. Still, the official fuel economy is nearly 60mpg, though you may struggle to get near that in everyday driving.

The Kona Hybrid covers the 0-62mph dash in 11.3 second and tops out at 100mph, which all sounds a bit ho-hum, but it can keep up with traffic just fine.

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 Hybrid is hard to recommend when the Kia Niro is similar yet is arguably more stylish and has a longer seven-year warranty.

Still, have a look at the latest Hyundai Kona deals to see how much you could save.

How practical is it?

There’s plenty of space for the front-seat occupants, but things get slightly more cramped farther back.

Boot (seats up)
361 - 374 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,143 - 1,156 litres

Even basic versions of the Hyundai Kona Hybrid get a wide range of driver seat and steering wheel adjustment. Even if you’re small you can get the steering wheel exactly where you want it, and the seat can be cranked up high to make full use of the Hyundai’s generous headroom.

All Kona Hybrids also have the added comfort of electrically adjustable lumbar support to reduce back ache on long drives. Top-of-the-range Ultimate models get electrically adjustable seats that are heated and also (very effectively) cooled to help you feel comfortable on swelteringly hot days.

The news isn’t so good when you investigate the back seats. They have just enough room for tall passengers (even if you and your front seat passengers are big) and impressive amounts of headroom, but lack the adjustability you get in some rivals.

The Kona Hybrid has enough interior storage to keep the cabin tidy even if you have two children and the vast array of accessories that come with them.

The glovebox is large enough to swallow a 1.5-litre bottle of water and there’s space for a can of juice underneath the front centre armrest, although it is a shame that the lids on both feel flimsy.

On the centre console you get a tray for your smartphone – complete with a USB and Aux connection (and wireless charging on Premium models and above) – and you also get a couple of cupholders and a cardholder.

Add to that large front door pockets, slightly smaller rear ones, a sunglasses holder in the roof and a clip on the back of the sun visors for parking tickets, and the Hyundai’s interior storage is unlikely to leave you feeling hard done by.

The Hyundai doesn’t get the impressively large boot that you might expect from a small SUV.

The 332-litre space is big enough for a few carry-on cases, but it’s smaller than the load areas in rivals such as the Peugeot 3008, which offers 410 litres. With the seats folded the Kona Hybrid offers 1,156 litres, whereas the Peugeot beats it with 1,400 litres.

Still, the Kona’s boot has a reasonable number of features, both the adjustable boot floor – that has space underneath for a soft bag – and the hooks for your shopping are very handy.

The variable floor is also a big help when you’re loading – in its highest setting there’s no load lip to worry about so luggage can simply be slid into place.

The Kona’s rear seats split 60:40 – so you can carry up to two passengers and have something longer poking through from the boot. Better still, the seats do fold almost completely flat which makes it easier to load something awkward such as a bicycle.

What's it like to drive?

Looks pretty dull and boring on paper, but it keeps up with traffic and doesn’t use much fuel. Firm ride, though.

The Kona Hybrid combines a 105hp four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 43hp electric motor. These drive the front wheels through an automatic gearbox.It’s a full hybrid, which means the engine and the braking system recharge the batteries, so you don’t have the plug the car in.

The Kona Hybrid covers the 0-62mph dash in 11.3 second and tops out at 100mph, which all sounds a bit ho-hum, but it can keep up with traffic just fine.

SE Connect models emit 112g/km of CO2 and do an average of 57.6mpg, while Ultimate models emit 115g/km and 55.4mpg, doubtless due to having larger alloy wheels.

Around town, the Hyundai Kona Hybrid feels entirely in its element. The raised driving position gives you a decent view out, but looking over your left shoulder means you’ll see the car’s biggest blindspot – the large pillars and small rear side windows at the back of the car restrict your view.

This blind spot makes reverse parking a little tricky, but every version of the Hyundai Kona Hybrid comes with a reversing camera, so it isn’t really an issue. Premium and Ultimate models add front parking sensors.

The Kona’s sharp steering helps you nip through city streets but it really comes into its own on country roads where the Hyundai Kona is actually quite a lot of fun – enthusiastically bounding into corners with very little body lean. The trade-off of this good body control is a firm ride that starts to frustrate on particularly poor roads. For a more comfortable journey, you’ll be better off in a Renault Captur or Seat Arona.

On the motorway the Hyundai Kona Hybrid is reasonably quiet with little wind noise and precious little engine noise once you have settled down to a cruise.

Bear in mind, though, that Premium models and above have large 18-inch alloys, and suffer from more road noise than SE Connect models on their smaller wheels.

All versions have automatic emergency braking that detects people as well as cars and full LED headlights that dip automatically. Lane-keep assist and lane-follow assist are both standard, too. All that helped the Kona score a maximum five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test.

What's it like inside?

Equipment is not in short supply, but it’s all a bit dull in the cabin.

Hyundai Kona Hybrid colours

Solid - Dive blue
Free
Special solid - Atlas white
From £300
Special solid - Ignite red
From £300
Metallic - Cyber grey
From £565
Metallic - Galactic grey
From £565
Metallic - Surfy blue
From £565
Pearl - Dark Knight
From £565
Pearl - Jungle green
From £565
Pearl - Phantom black
From £565
Pearl - Pulse Red
From £565
Next Read full interior review
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