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5 things you need to know about the Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona is Hyundai’s new, compact SUV and takes on the likes of Subaru’s XV and Mazda’s CX-3. Here are the 5 things you need to know about it.

THE HYUNDAI KONA went on-sale here last week and the ads have already hit TV screens… my kids love the car wash ad for it; but then they’re 5 and 8. Me? I’m not so sure that large car washing implements dry humping the bonnet of the Kona will have the sales effect the marketing agency might have thought… but, hey, I’m nearly 40 and I’m not so sure the Kona is targeted at me. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking this might end up rivalling the i30 as Hyundai’s best seller.

2017 Hyundai Kona Review by Practical Motoring

In terms of pricing, the Kona kicks off from $24,500+ORC for the Active 2WD (2.0L); and $26,000+ORC with SmartSense; $28,500+ORC for the Elite; and $33,000+ORC for the Highlander. The AWD variants with the 1.6L turbocharged motor start at $28,000+ORC for the Elite; $29,500+ORC with SmartSense; $32,000+ORC for the Elite; and $36,000+ORC for the Highlander. Premium paint adds $595 across the line-up and the two-tone roof on Elite and Highlander costs $295.

The eye of the beholder…

The slim, double-decker front headlights might look like a radical design change for Hyundai, but the Kona follows in the footsteps of the new Citroen C3 And C3 Aircross in that regard. And the Subaru XV beat it to the punch with its tack-on contrasting colour wheel arches, etc. But that doesn’t mean the Kona comes across as a bitsa. To my eyes, the thing looks good. Although it’s certainly a car that looks better in the metal and in certain colours than it does in pics, and despite its flared, contrasting colour guards the Kona isn’t trying to look a mini monster truck.

Like the new i30, the Kona runs the cascading grille but adds a secondary grille running between the day-time running lights. Unlike other vehicles, which usually locate the DRLs below the main lights, the Kona sees them placed above the headlights (LED on Highlander variant) and mated to the turn indicators. There are fog lights mounted low on the front bumper.

The front-end’s look carries over the rear of the vehicle where the same ‘cladding’ (black on Active, and grey for Elite and Highlander variants) continues from the wheel arches and up onto the rear bumper and the lower tail lights, a second set of combination lights sits just below the rear windscreen, and there’s a brake light up at the top integrated into the rear spoiler. There’s a grey skid plate at the back for Elite and Highlander variants.

There are nine exterior colours on the Kona palette – Phantom Black, Chalk White, Lake Silver, Dark Knight, Pulse Red, Tangerine Comet, Acid Yellow, Blue Lagoon and Ceramic Blue.

Active models match roof and body colours, while Elite and Highlander bring an optional two-tone roof choice of either Phantom Black or Dark Knight (dark grey) which is also used for the side mirror shells to add contrast and increase the uniqueness of each Kona.

Seven colours can be partnered with a Phantom Black roof and six with Dark Knight, giving customers a choice of 22 combinations in all. The Active runs 16-inch alloys, the Elite 17s and the Highlander on 18s.

And what about the inside?

The inside of the Kona bears resemblance to the i30. We’ll have a full review of the new Kona online later this week along with associated video content for you to take a good look around the interior for yourself. But, in the meantime, here’s how Hyundai describes it: “Roomy and ergonomically functional, the interior is designed to be stylish, simple and uncluttered with soft, fluid details and a focus on comfort”. The top-spec Kona Highlander offers heads-up display. The infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

2017 Hyundai Kona

Like the i30, there’s a tablet-style infotainment screen mounted on top of the dashboard, but it doesn’t look like it’s tacked on. Below that are the climate controls and because Hyundai’s aiming the Kona at a younger buyer profile that allegedly wants to be able to make the thing their own, so, Hyundai says “Kona Elite and Highlander can be specified with vibrant and fun acid yellow or red leather interior treatments which bring colour-matched piping and stitching to the seats, steering wheel, front armrest and gearshift boot”.

Front seat legroom measures 1054mm and rear seat legroom is 880mm. The rear seat has a 60:40 split-fold feature which, with the help of the dual-level load floor. Boot space measures 361 litres which grows to 1143 litres with the rear seat folded.

What’s Auto Link?

Hyundai Kona offers Hyundai’s Auto Link system which allows you to connect your smartphone via Bluetooth to your car and check on the ‘health’ of your car. It allows you to log and check on things like driving history, tyre pressure monitoring, driving information covering things like fuel consumptions, travel time, and fuel efficiency, as well as parking management which allows you to locate your vehicle in a high-rise car park and check on the time you’ve been parked. It also includes a crowd comparison which allows you to compare your driving with that of other Kona owners, and much more. More than this, Auto Link allows you to set-up servicing of your vehicle and even access roadside assistance easily.

Tuned here in Australia

There are two engines and transmission on offer for Kona in Australia, including a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol making 110kW and 180Nm of torque mated to a six-speed automatic and a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a seven-speed DCT. Kona can be had in either two- or all-wheel drive configuration. Fuel consumption ranges from 6.7-7.2L/100km depending on the variant.

2017 Hyundai Kona Review by Practical Motoring

Like the i30, there are different rear suspension set-ups, depending on the drivetrain, with two-wheel drive models getting a torsion beam bum and all-wheel drive variants running a multi-link rear suspension set-up. According to Hyundai, its local chassis development team tested “three sets of front and two sets of rear springs, 13 different front and 23 different rear shock absorbers for the all-wheel-drive variants and 13 front and 29 rear shock absorber combinations for the front-wheel-drive cars. Two different stabiliser bars were also tested before the final combinations were decided”.

What about safety?

The Kona doesn’t carry either an ANCAP or Euro NCAP rating, but offers six airbags as standard, reversing camera and rear parking sensors (the Highlander adds front parking sensors). In addition, Hyundai offers its Smart Sense active safety system as standard on Elite and Highlander variants and as a cost-option on entry-level Elite, it includes: autonomous emergency braking covering pedestrians between 8-64km/h and cars up to 160km/h, blind spot monitoring which operates above 30km/h, rear cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist which operates on two levels, one reactive and one proactive, both work above 60km/h only. There’s also driver attention warning and high beam assist.


  • John John

    I’m old, but I like the look of the Kona. For me though, Hyundai have left out two things that are important – satnav and a full size spare. I’ll take the i30, thanks, better equipped for my personal needs and cheaper too.

    That’s me though. I expect the target market for the Kona will love it – I reckon it’ll be a big success for Hyundai.

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.