Dynamite comes in small packages

2019-01-30 06:01
PHOTOS: sourced

PHOTOS: sourced

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HYUNDAI’S sub-compact Kona crossover means business. Slightly smaller (105 mm shorter) than sister car Creta, it’s more luxuriously appointed and feels nicer overall — more solid, more European.

Common features include McPherson strut- and torsion beam suspension; anti-submarining seats in imitation leather; fog lamps front and rear; reversing camera; parking distance warning and the safety kit — six airbags, ISOFix mountings and four-channel ABS with EBD.

Kona adds rear disc brakes, cruise control, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and tyre pressure monitoring.

There’s also reach adjustment for the steering wheel, ESP, downhill brake control and hill start assist. Downsides include slightly smaller boot and fuel tank and 20 mm less ground clearance — 170 mm versus 190.

The 998 cc, three-cylinder, motor out of Grand i10 gets extra muscle from high-pressure gasoline direct injection (GDI) and a single-scroll turbocharger. Its electronically controlled wastegate optimises flow, resulting in stronger low-end torque and throttle response.

Plain English: This translates to maximum pulling power from 1 500 to 4 000 rpm, with 95% of that still available at 5 000. That’s when power output reaches 98% of its peak and keeps on delivering until just past 6 000 rpm, meaning that it’s flexible and requires fewer gear changes. A butter-smooth six-speed manual transmission makes that yet more pleasurable.

Infotainment: There are six-speakers, the usual connectors and a seven-inch tablet-styled touch screen that also mirrors the most commonly used apps on your smartphone.

There are two cautionaries, however: First, Apple CarPlay is built into the system’s OS but Android Auto is not. For reasons unknown, A-A is not officially available in South Africa, so Hyundai couldn’t build it in for this market.

Workaround: Search the web for “android auto APK download” and select the offering that looks best to you. Your phone needs to be running Android 5.0 or later.

The second cautionary is that both kinds of phone have to be tethered to the music station via USB cable. Bluetooth won’t do it just yet.

Getting dirty: On dirt roads the suspension does a good job of soaking up ripples and short, sharp impacts from embedded stones, all without skittering.

Luggage space: 72 cm above ground level, nicely shaped, one bag hook, light, four lashing rings, cargo cover and cargo net.

Compartmented storage tray under floor. Spacesaver spare.

Back seat: Adequate head- and foot room for 1.85m passengers. Knee space cramped. Armrest with cup holders, two seatback pockets, three seatbelts and head restraints, two ISOFix mounting sets, tiny door bins.

Front seat: Mechanical seat adjusters include elevation control for driver. Plenty of headroom but really tall drivers could fin

Single channel aircon has straightforward controls. Easy to use buttons, knobs and touch screen keep life simple. Handbrake placed for RHD has a firm and smooth action. Sockets include two USB ports, one of which is for charging, auxiliary and 12-volt/180 W.

Ambience: Black over black interior was relieved slightly on our test unit by red seatbelts and red trim around gearshift boot and vents.

Our taste runs more to “light and airy” but some folk like “dark”. Who are we to dictate?

Summary: Slightly smaller than Creta but better equipped at similar price. Feels good, too.

• Test unit from Hyundai Motor SA.

WINNING SUB-COMPACT: 2019 Hyundai Kona 1.0T-GDI

• Three “best car in category” awards – North America, Scotland and Texas

• Spain’s Car of the Year

• Three design awards – iF, Red Dot and IDEA

• SA COTY 2019 finalist


Price: R379 900

Engine: 998 cc, DOHC 12-valve inline three

Power: 88 kW at 6000 rpm

Torque: 172 Nm between 1 500 and 4 000 rpm

Zero to 100 km/h: 12.0 seconds

Maximum speed: 181 km/h

Real life fuel consumption: About 7.6 l/100 km

Tank: 50 litres

Luggage: 361 – 1 143 litres

Warranty: 5 years/150 000 km with roadside assistance

Additional drivetrain warranty: 2 years/ 50 000 km


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