Hyundai Kona Hybrid Review & Prices

The Hyundai Kona Hybrid has lots of kit and looks quite smart, but the interior is a bit dull and the boot could do with being larger

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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

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

What's not so good

  • Small boot
  • Bland interior
  • Feels slow

Find out more about the Hyundai Kona Hybrid

Is the Hyundai Kona Hybrid a good car?

Have you ever chosen peace of mind over excitement? Say, putting extra money in your pension rather than spending more on the family holiday? That’s a bit like picking the Hyundai Kona Hybrid over the funkier-looking Citroen C3 Aircross or the fun-to-drive Ford Puma.

You can sleep easy knowing that you’re going to benefit from low running costs and Hyundai’s excellent five-year warranty, but you won’t wake up with a spring in your step knowing you’ll see the Kona when you pull back the curtains.

The trouble is, neither the exterior nor the interior designs are nearly as funky as those of the Citroen or the Kia Stonic. 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 handles well enough, although it won’t satisfy keen drivers like the Ford Puma. 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

The Hyundai Kona Hybrid links a 105hp four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 43hp electric motor, which 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 arguably more stylish and has a longer seven-year warranty.

Still, have a look at the latest Hyundai Kona deals and used Hyundais for sale to see how much you could save. Or check out the full range of new Hyundai deals. And you can now sell your current car through carwow, too.

How much is the Hyundai Kona Hybrid?

The price of a used Hyundai Kona Hybrid on Carwow starts at £14,750.

The entry-level SE Connect makes a very smart buy. It’s a lot cheaper than the flashy Premium and Ultimate models, but still comes with all the must-haves and a smattering of nice-to-haves as well. Air conditioning, cruise control, and lane keep assist are included in the price, and with smaller alloys than the high-spec cars the ride is a little smoother.

Premium adds a larger touchscreen infotainment system and bigger wheels. These do help the car look a bit more imposing, but make the firm ride even stiffer. Ultimate spec adds all sorts of goodies but starts to nudge the price towards that of bigger and better cars.

Performance and drive comfort

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

In town

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 blind spot – 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 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. You can’t buy a manual version of the Kona Hybrid, but at least your left leg isn’t getting a work-out edging along a gummed-up one-way system.

The Kona is a full hybrid, which means the engine and the braking system recharge the batteries, so you don’t have to plug the car in.

There’s enough power to keep up with traffic and stop-start urban driving tends to suit hybrids as all the slowing down helps keep the battery charged up.

On the motorway 

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. There’s not a huge amount of power in reserve if you want a quick burst of acceleration when you change lanes, but the Kona certainly isn’t out of its depth.

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.

Lane-keep assist and lane-follow assist are both standard, which should help you stay in lane safely on a long motorway drive. These driver aids also helped the Kona score a maximum five stars in its Euro NCAP safety tests.

On a twisty road 

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 good to drive, enthusiastically bounding into corners with very little body lean. It doesn’t handle with the same verve as a Ford Puma, but compared with most small crossovers the Hyundai is agile and composed on country roads.

The trade-off for 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.

Space and practicality

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

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. Cooled seats are a great feature you don’t often see on a car of this size and price.

The Kona Hybrid has enough interior storage to keep the cabin tidy, even if you have 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.

Space in the back seats

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. There’s no facility to slide the rear seats back and forth as you can in a Volkswagen T-Roc. Instead, you simply get a 60:40 split folding rear bench.

What’s more, the door pockets in the back are a lot smaller than those in the front.

The next generation of the Kona is going to be bigger than this model, promising more space in the back.

Boot space

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 alternatives such as the Peugeot 2008, 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 rear seats fold almost completely flat which makes it easier to load something awkward such as a bicycle.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

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

There hasn’t been much effort to inject a sense of style into the Hyundai Kona Hybrid interior, which is a shame for a model that is supposed to be an alternative to the genuinely stylish Peugeot 2008.

Sadly, there aren’t many positives to be drawn in terms of quality either. The centre of the dashboard has a large swathe of soft-touch plastics, but the rest of the interior looks and feels ordinary and although the glovebox has a damped action, its lid feels flimsy.

On the upside, the dashboard is straightforward to operate with two large knobs for the ventilation system that are easy to use when you’re driving. All Kona Hybrid models get a smart-looking colour touchscreen as standard.

In terms of seat materials, SE Connect and Premium models get perfectly acceptable black cloth upholstery while the Ultimate has black leather.

The Kona Hybrid’s standard features include a Bluetooth phone connection, DAB digital radio as well as USB and Aux plugs for playing music and charging your phone. All models come with steering-wheel-mounted controls for skipping tracks, changing radio stations and adjusting the volume.

SE models have a 7.0-inch colour screen that also has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring – so you can seamlessly use the sat-nav and music apps on your smartphone on the Kona’s screen, which is much easier to use than the Hyundai’s native set-up.

Step up to a Premium or Ultimate model and there’s a 10.25in touchscreen, which is bright, clear and easy to use.

The high-end infotainment system includes an uprated eight-speaker Krell stereo with an amplifier and a sub-woofer. Although it’s certainly louder than the basic six-speaker system, it doesn’t offer the rich depth of sound you get in, say, the B&O Play stereo fitted to the Ford Puma.

Also worth mentioning is the head-up display fitted to Ultimate models. It projects information such as speed and sat-nav directions into your eyeline so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road as you drive along.

MPG, emissions and tax

Every Kona Hybrid comes with the same petrol engine and electric motor, so there is no big difference in economy and emissions across the range. The official tests suggest around 55-58mpg, depending on the exact spec. Top-end cars with larger alloys use a little more fuel than entry-level models with smaller wheels.

That economy is there or thereabouts compared with similar cars like the Kia Niro and Toyota’s slightly larger C-HR. Any of these small hybrids will be cheap to run.

Emissions are reasonably low, too, although if you want to avoid exhaust emissions altogether you’ll want to take a look at the fully electric Hyundai Kona.

Your first year’s Vehicle Excise Duty is included in your on-the-road charges, so you won’t really notice paying it. From the second year onwards the Kona Hybrid is charged at the slightly lower rate for alternative fuel vehicles, so you’ll pay £170 rather than £180.

No Kona Hybrid costs more than £40,000, so the £390 annual VED supplement for cars costing £40k or more doesn’t apply.

If you are looking at the Kona Hybrid as a possible company car, modest emissions and sensible pricing mean the taxman won’t be taking a huge chunk from your monthly pay packet. For the lowest benefit-in-kind tax bill, though, you’ll be better off running a Kona Electric.

Safety and security

Those clever safety boffins at Euro NCAP tested the Kona back in 2017 where scored the maximum five-star score. Adult occupant protection was rated at 87% and child occupant protection 85%. In terms of pedestrian protection, the Kona scored 62%, while the safety assistance systems scored 60%.

It’s worth remembering that Euro NCAP tests have become more stringent in recent years, so while a five-star rating from 2017 is impressive the Kona wouldn’t necessarily score as well if tested today.

Every version of the Kona Hybrid comes with autonomous emergency braking. On high-spec models, the system is more sophisticated and can detect cyclists as well as other motor vehicles.

Reliability and problems

Reliability is one of the reasons a Hyundai is such a sensible buy. These cars rarely go wrong, and if they do there’s the reassurance of a five-year warranty to fall back on.

Some buyers worry about the battery in a hybrid, and what will happen if it no longer holds as much charge as when it was new. While no battery is going to last indefinitely, the one in the Kona Hybrid is covered for eight years and 100,000 miles.

Buy or lease the Hyundai Kona Hybrid at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
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