In-depth reviews

Hyundai Kona review

The new Hyundai Kona is comfortable, refined, spacious and overflowing with technology

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

£25,700 to £45,395
  • Comfortable and refined
  • Spacious cabin
  • Choice of petrol, hybrid and EV power
  • Not especially fun to drive
  • Hybrid version is slow
  • Too futuristic-looking for some
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The new Hyundai Kona is a fantastic example of how a brand can listen to feedback and act upon it. Hyundai has grown its small SUV sensibly, delivering just enough additional practicality in this model to satisfy those looking for their next family car and to go along with a far more polished cabin feel compared with the original Kona. Overall the interior is smart and logical, and features neatly integrated and intuitive technology.

Admittedly, the daring, sci-fi-inspired styling might not be for everyone, and there are cheaper compact SUVs out there, but right now the Kona – and the Kona Electric in particular – looks extremely good value for such a mature, well equipped and well rounded car. It’s one of many reasons why we crowned the new Hyundai Kona as our Small SUV of the Year and Car of the Year for 2023.

Our choice: Hyundai Kona Electric Advance Comfort Pack

About the Hyundai Kona

The first Hyundai Kona arrived in 2018 and proved to be a big hit. Its funky styling certainly helped it stand out in the sea of small SUVs it was competing against, while the selection of petrol, hybrid and all-electric powertrains meant that there was a Kona to suit all tastes and almost every budget. There was even a fast version in the form of the Kona N. It had its flaws though, with the cramped rear cabin and relatively small boot being the biggest.

However, when it came to developing its replacement, Hyundai says it listened carefully to feedback from Mk1 Kona owners and it shows. The all-new, second-generation Hyundai Kona is bigger, more spacious and more practical than the original, thanks in part to the K3 platform (also used by the latest Kia Niro) that sits beneath the almost extra-terrestrial bodywork.

The Kona may have grown in size, but its key rivals remain the cream of the crop in the small SUV and crossover segment. Among them are the Jeep Avenger, Ford Puma, Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Roc, plus the Kona’s Niro sister car. A few of these are also offered with a choice of combustion and electric power, such as the Peugeot, Jeep and Kia.

The Kona has stuck with the same choice of powertrains, which means entry-level models are powered by either a 1.0-litre or 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that can be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic

Next up is the Kona Hybrid. It uses a 1.6-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine and a six-speed automatic, assisted by a single electric motor and a modest 1.32kWh battery. As this is a full-hybrid, you don’t have to plug it anywhere to charge, but fuel economy is improved over the regular petrol variants.

Sitting pretty at the top of the range is the Kona Electric. There are two versions available: the standard-range model is powered by a 48.4kWh battery that’s good for 234 miles on a single charge, according to Hyundai. Meanwhile the long-range Kona Electric passes the 300-mile mark, with a claimed maximum range of 319 miles. Like the rest of the Kona line-up, the EVs are front-wheel drive.

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Once you’ve picked the model you want, there’s also the matter of trim levels; entry-level Advance (the only option for the standard-range Kona Electric), sportier-looking N Line and N Line S, plus range-topping Ultimate spec. Pricier trims add luxuries like leather upholstery, a sunroof and a Bose stereo, but even the base Kona is generously equipped with a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, large central touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, alloy wheels, keyless entry, parking sensors for the front and rear, plus a reversing camera.

There are various option packs available too, such as the Comfort Pack for the Kona Electric, which adds heated front and rear seats, and a wireless charging pad to entry-level Advance-spec models. Lux packs are offered for all three Konas, adding different kit like ‘Premium Relaxation’ front seats and remote smart park assist, depending on which trim level you’re combining them with.

Prices for the regular Hyundai Kona start from below £26,000, rising to more than £33,500 if you get the top-of-the-range version with the more powerful 1.6-litre motor and seven-speed DCT auto. The Kona Hybrid has a starting price just north of £30,000, but can rise to over £34,000 if you want all the goodies that come with Ultimate trim.

Finally, the standard-range Kona Electric currently starts at a fiver under £35,000. Upgrading to the long-range model, with its bigger batteries and extra range, adds £3,600 to the Kona Electric’s price tag, bringing it to nearly £38,600. Top-of-the-range models are priced at over £43,000.

For an alternative review of the Hyundai Kona, visit our sister site

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