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3.9 out of 5 3.9
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Hyundai's smallest SUV bristles with appeal and funkiness

Hyundai Kona SUV (17 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £17,460 - £27,455
Lease from new From £211 per month
Used price £9,775 - £23,675
Used monthly cost £244 - £591
Fuel Economy 34.0 - 56.5 mpg
Road tax cost £135 - £145
Insurance group 9 - 20 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • A large number of personalisation options
  • Top models have loads of kit
  • Comfortable and satisfying to drive
  • Solid interior that's easy to use

CONS

  • Prices high if you want sat-nav
  • Coarse and thirsty 1.6-litre petrol
  • Love-it-or-hate-it styling
  • Tight rear seats and boot

Hyundai Kona SUV rivals

Written by Tom Goodlad on

The Kona is Hyundai’s smallest SUV, positioned below the very popular Tucson and seven-seat Santa Fe in the firm’s line-up. Hyundai is hoping to appeal to the style-conscious buyer with the Kona, with some distinctive styling cues dotted around the car.

That’s probably a good thing too, as the Kona is going up against a lot competition. Not only is there the equally stylish Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, there’s accomplished rivals like the VW T-Cross, Skoda Kamiq and SEAT Arona, plus Mazda CX-3 and Kia Stonic as well.

The Kona is off to a good start as it looks different enough to be interesting, but still offers a high-spec interior on higher-range models with plenty of standard equipment, the appeal of a five-year warranty and a good range of engines. Including an all-electric Kona Electric model.  

Funky style inside and out

It looks striking on the outside. The slim day-running lights (DRLs) are a new Hyundai feature, neatly house incorporated turn signals and are positioned in a stack, separate to the full-LED headlamps which come as standard on the top-spec models. At the back, you get a set of LED lamps on range-topping models, with the slim tail lights being supplemented by separate clusters housing the brake lights, indicators and reversing lamps. It’s a similar arrangement to that employed on the Kia Sportage, albeit to a neater degree in the Kia.

It’s de-cluttered inside, with a split-level dashboard that leaves the touchscreen media system display appearing to float above it. It’s a set-up that debuted in the i10 and i30, and which simplifies the way the heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls work. Hyundai has been working hard to perfect the ergonomic experience of its mainstream cars. It's not especially exciting inside unless you opt for some extra colour packs, but there's no arguing with how easy everything is to use.

Like the Nissan Juke, the Hyundai Kona allows you to personalise your car with bright paint colours, contrasting roof tones and zingy interior trim. Buyers can choose from a wide range of hues including lime green and bright orange to help make their car stand out.

On the inside coloured stitching and similarly saturated accents on the steering wheel, around the gearlever and on the seat belts should help you to tailor the Kona to your tastes.

2019 Hyundai Kona cabin design

Plenty of engine and trim options 

The Kona offers customers a broad choice of powertrains. There are a pair of petrol engines (118hp and 177hp) to choose from, while a hybrid model was added to the line-up in 2019. This combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 32kW electric motor. There were two diesel engines on offer as well - but they were discontinued in the summer of 2019. The petrol and hybrid options should cover the needs of most buyers, while the EV version also impresses with a long range. 

This is an important car for Hyundai, as it continues a number of new visual themes, introduced in the latest-generation i30 hatchback, albeit with a radical Citroen-esque vibe. It rides on a modified version of the i20 hatchback’s platform which is shared with the closely related Stonic.

Majoring on style and configurability, the Kona features controversial styling that some drivers will love and others will hate – like the Nissan Juke, which spearheaded the small crossover sector – in a deliberate move to draw new buyers to the brand. The twin-layer front lights, contrasting roof and side cladding are all now established small-SUV styling themes that Hyundai's really gone to town with.

Channelling its power to the road, the Kona comes with chunky alloy wheels up to 18 inches in diameter for a rugged look. Reasonably high ground clearance of 170mm for the Kona means that you should be a little less likely to scrape the underside of this Hyundai when negotiating steep, bumpy driveways or heading down rutted campsite roads than with a conventional hatchback.

There are a number of trims to pick from, kicking off with S and moving up to SE, SE Play, Premium, Premium SE and Premium GT. The Kona Hybrid is only available in SE, Premium and Premium SE offerings, while there's also a Kona Iron Man Edition that was created to celebrate Marvel's successful film franchise. It's a niche offering, but one that'll no doubt appeal to some fans. 

Which is better: petrol or hybrid?

As always with this question, it depends on your needs. The Kona comes with a range of turbocharged engines – consisting of 1.0-litre and 1.6-litre petrols plus, a hybrid. Cheapest is the 1.0-litre 120hp petrol, while the most economical is the 139hp hybrid. All engines have been tuned for low engine speed punch to make them easy to drive with palatable fuel economy. Expect just above 50mpg for the 1.0-litre petrol and just under 40mpg from the 1.6-litre.

The hybrid's official WLTP figure is between 52.3 and 56.5mpg, and on our test drive, admittedly within the flat confines of The Netherlands, it easily achieved this.

Meanwhile, the most powerful – the 177hp 1.6-litre petrol – comes with all-wheel drive and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard and is capable of accelerating to 62mph in a brisk 7.9 seconds. That makes this a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing, and an unlikely way of surprising hot hatch drivers on the road.

If you're after the most economical Kona that'll be the discontinued diesel. The lower powered diesel should return 67.3 mpg, making it the most fuel efficient of the lot.

Read on for the full Hyundai Kona review, and to see if it's worth choosing over its rivals.

Hyundai Kona SUV rivals