The 1.0-litre is expected to prove the most popular engine in the Kona, with middling SE and Premium trims proving the most sought after. That’s because the 1.0-litre engine is a better choice for most drivers than the 1.6-litre petrol and prices are a bit more palatable than top-spec models.
It’s not the cheapest, especially compared with rivals such as the SEAT Arona, but you get kit including sat-nav, which is lacking on the less pricey versions.
Spending more on the top-of-the-range Konas, however, feels a bit reckless, however, as you can get larger, more spacious and more powerful SUVs for similar money.
The 1.6-litre petrol, meanwhile, feels like a niche choice for those who adore the looks of the Kona and have to have an automatic gearbox or all-wheel drive. But the price is too high, the engine too coarse and the interior too cramped to warrant the steep price.
The Best Hyundai Kona SUV models
Hyundai Kona SE 1.0 T-GDI - tested November 2017
Despite the Kona’s comprehensive range – made up of S, SE, Premium, Premium SE and Premium GT – it’s the second-rung SE that’s expected to be the most popular of the lot, paired with the turbocharged 1.0-litre T-GDI three-cylinder petrol.
In this guise it’s a reasonably-priced crossover with a huge amount of competition, taking on everything from the SEAT Arona and Kia Stonic, to the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.
The 1.0-litre petrol engine is available across most of the Kona range, and feels a suitable fit.
Despite the small capacity, it’s more than capable of hauling the Kona around town, feeling nippy and responsive at lower speeds, but is up to the job of making quicker progress on faster roads – just as long as the car isn’t full of passengers and luggage, as the 12.0-second 0-62mph time is already quite leisurely.
On a twisty road, the Kona’s stiffer suspension set-up (compared with other small crossovers) means body control is very good, with little roll felt through the bends.
Couple that with well-weighted steering that feels responsive, and it’s an enjoyable car to chuck around. The slick manual gearbox helps with this impression, too.
However, that stiffer set-up equates to a firm ride, even on smoother road surfaces. The Kona picks up a lot of bumps in the road, but it’s never too jarring or uncomfortable – just more noticeable than in something like a SEAT Arona.
Stick with an SE for smaller 17-inch wheels compared with higher-spec 18s, as this offers a slighty more balanced and compliant sensation.
SE trim brings a good amount of equipment for the money, though. Outside, it comes with a body-coloured roof (higher-spec models get a contrasting black top) and LED daytime-running lights, while inside there’s a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity, while manual air-conditioning, rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera also feature on the kit list.
Quality inside is good, if not class-leading. It all feels solid and like it’ll last a long time, but there aren’t many softer-touch materials and it can feel quite grey and unexciting.
If you want some splashes of colour then you’ll need to move up the trim level hierarchy. It’s all very easy to use, though. The infotainment is bright, slick and well-placed, it’s easy to find a good driving position and the cloth seats on SE models are particularly comfortable.
All models feature a driver attention alert system, lane-keeping assist, hill-start assist and downhill brake control, with more becoming available as you move up the range.
Space inside is decent for a small family, however taller adults may struggle slightly with legroom in the rear seats behind a taller driver.
Luggage space is 361 litres before you fold the seats down, so it’s not the most spacious (the SEAT Arona’s is 400 litres). It’s well-shaped though, and easy to access thanks to a square opening and a loading lip that isn’t too high to access.
The expected best-seller, the 1.0-litre T-GDI Kona SE could well be the sweet spot in the range. While it doesn’t have as much desirable kit as other models in the range and does without a two-tone paint job as standard, it does offer good value at less than £18,000.
It’s striking, one of the best crossovers to drive and offers enough space for a small family, making it worth a look if you’re in the market for such a car.
Hyundai Kona SUV model history
- November 2017 – Kona goes on sale with two engines available – a 1.0-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre petrol. The smaller engine comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive, while the larger unit features an automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive as standard.
Buying a new Hyundai Kona SUV
Hyundai is known for offering strong customer service, so shopping for a new Kona should be a pleasant experience. There are enough dealers, too, that finding one within a reasonable distance shouldn’t be overly tricky.
Hyundai’s PCP offers aren’t always the best value, though. This means that you’ll have to push hard to make sure you get the best deal.
Meanwhile, if you are paying cash and intend to sell on your car in a few years, don’t go crazy with odd colour combinations. You might like orange paint with green interior trim, but this may make things tough when you come to sell.
Before shopping for a PCP finance deal, make sure you know what deposit you can afford, how long you want to keep the car for and how many miles you’re likely to cover over the length of the contract – as each of these affects your monthly payments.
It’s also good to have an idea of whether you might want to make the optional final payment to buy the car when the contract ends. Write these all down and take them along to dealers when looking for quotes to ensure they give you suitable quotes.
This should also ensure that you can compare quotes from one dealer directly with those from another.
Click to find out more about how to get the best price on finance and how to avoid dealers’ sneaky sales tricks.
Buying a used Hyundai Kona SUV
With a five-year transferable warranty, even those picking up a three-year old model get two years of cover, where they’d get nothing with numerous other brands. Hyundai has a good reputation for reliability, so even older models should prove reasonably trusty.
Approved used Hyundais make cost a little more, but they should be prepared to a high standard. The company also offers used car PCP finance with lower rates of interest than many other non-manufacturer dealers, which means these may be better value than expected, with reasonably low monthly payments.
Make sure you carry out a Parkers Car History Check to uncover any hidden history you should be aware of.
Selling your Hyundai Kona SUV
With a reasonable number of Konas vying for attention with yours, you’ll want to make sure you’ve cleaned it thoroughly and take a number of high quality photographs. Nothing puts off potential buyers like dark, grainy photos that only show small parts of the car.
Writing a short but detailed advert which shows info such as how many miles the car has covered, how many times it has been serviced and what equipment it has should also help.
If the car has any minor damage, getting this fixed could also give you a better chance of selling the car quickly – and for a higher price. The newer or more valuable the car is, the more benefit you should get from paying to have damage put right.
It’s worth getting a Parkers Valuation to make sure you price your car right, to avoid losing out.