Associate Contributor: Mthuthuzeli Mpiti – Date: 18 Oct 2018

But What Is It?

Named after the Western District of the Hawaii, Hyundai Kona name is of similarities with something else in other markets, Hyundai had to actually change the name to one which suits other markets and had to call it Kauai and Encino, it’s always a challenge to name cars with full names as different places translating differently.

IMG-20181018-WA0022Kona is a B-SUV  and a car sent by the Koreans to fight and rival the likes of Nissan Juke, Ford EcoSport, Kia Soul and Mazda CX-3, we can even throw in Toyota C-HR and Jeep Renegade into the mix. Think of it as Hyundai I30 on heels, the car which it’s actually based on.

It’s outrageously sculptured stylish lines and edges, bold and with blackened body colour wheel arches and bumpers and lower body (body cladding) to show that it’s up for a challenge and an adventure as well as black roof rails.

IMG-20181018-WA0017Twin LED headlight design with LED daytime running lights as well as halogen fog lights, the front end reminds me of the design similar to the upcoming Audi A1. Congratulations Hyundai are in order from my part.

The interior is in the form of  hot red trim, with red seatbelts and red inlays and stitching to give it that red sporty look and ambience again that ticks the right boxes for me and reminds me of the Volkswagen GTI and Audi RS package styling stitching on seats and steering wheel, sorry Hyundai to be mentioning other brands a lot, I’m just trying to paint a picture on why I like this car…WHICH IS A LOT!

You also get the lively lime interior with lime matching seatbelts. This very vibrant interior caught my attention and partly because its styling can be specced in a similar nature to style by Porsche design and the likes of the Aston Martin Vantage! Hint, hint, Acid Yellow Color Scheme is unique in this segment and stands out incredibly well.

The interior is good and well proportioned with connectivity in the form of a clear 8-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and multifunctional intuitive steering wheel.

IMG-20181018-WA0023Safety and technology come in the form of 6 airbags, blind spot warning systems and cross traffic alert, park distance control (PDC) with rearview camera, hill descent assist, 2 USB ports even though the other one is mainly for charging and not for media connection. Convenience is in the form of 361 litres of luggage loading space, and with the seats folded flat, you have a very cavernous 1,143 litres of space for weekend escape.

But how does it drive?

Having spent half the day driving through the Stellenbosch area to the other Side of Riebeek Kasteel, Wellington and Paarl, my first stint was in the Natural Aspirated 2.0L NU Executive 6 Speed Automatic box (R399 900). I found the engine be a tad noisy when worked to pinch the power out of its genes, maybe I’m just so much used to the turbo petrol engines for cars in this segment, however, my face lighted with joy when I switched to the peppy 3-cylinder 1.0 TDGI Executive mated to fun and engaging Manual 6 speed box (R379 900). This will be my engine choice and pick while enjoying the benefits of better fuel consumption and saving some few bucks while at it!

Don’t get me wrong, nothing is so wrong with the natural aspirated 4-cylinder power plant, I just happen to prefer the turbocharged 3! In both instances the ride quality is good, handling is on point and the brakes are functional an work very well.

On launch we were told that there are no plans to Bring the Diesel version to the market, apparently that 1.6L Diesel engine can be pricey and have the potential of pushing the envelope to Hyundai Tucson Range, so Hyundai is playing it safe. Also, no immediate Plans to bring the all wheels drive versions nor the electric propelled Kona, we can only hope and wait what on what the future holds!

IMG-20181018-WA0007I’m not a fan of those halogen fog lights , it just takes things a step back in the LED lights Era,One would have expected the Navigation to be available as standard on that top of the range asking price as some rivals offer that as standard, however, even those rivals falls short on more technology that the Hyundai Kona Brings to the table

So it’s a win-win situation, what I just said are not deal breakers honestly and the Kona certainly impresses on so many fronts.

Wait, I think I just have given you the verdict in my last few lines? Buy Kona! If you still not convinced go drive the two derivatives and decide on what excites you, make sure it’s bright, unique and stands out!

The all-new Kona is priced in SA at:

Kona 1.0 T-GDI Executive Manual – R379 900

Kona 2.0 NU Executive Automatic – R399 900

The Kona includes a 7 years/200 000 km manufacturers’ warranty (comprising the 5 years/150 000 km warranty with a 2 years/50 000 km drivetrain warranty); a 5 year/90 000 km service plan; and 5 years/150 000 km roadside assistance.

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