DRIVEN: 2018 Hyundai Kona 2.0l MPI

<i>Image: Robin Classen</i>
<i>Image: Robin Classen</i>
Robin Classen

Hyundai has grown leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and Naamsa figures for 2018 alone is a true testament to that.

Flanked by popular models like the i20 and Grand i10, the Kona is a funky new addition to the family, together with the likes of the Creta and Tucson.

In its first month it sold a total of 142 units - although it pales in comparison to the likes of the Creta (324) and Tucson (264) for October in 2018, on a bigger scale it shows how well the Korean brand is doing here in South Africa.

Such a fun thing to drive

Hyundai knows just what to do when it comes to comfort dynamics and effortless driving. I previously drove the Creta and Tucson and it was such fun.

The Kona evoked the same emotion. Its compact size makes it smaller than the likes of Opel's Mokka and Mazda CX-3, but what you get is worth more than how big it is compared to other examples in its class.

DRIVEN: Hyundai launches new Kona, another funky crossover in its SUV arsenal

Aesthetically and mechanically, the Kona has everything going for it. The smooth 6-speed automatic and sequential transmission is a gem, making city cruises or trips along the Cape Peninsula such a pleasurable experience.

The list of safety features is impressive. It has everything from blind-spot detection, rear-park assist with camera and rear cross traffic alert, all of which is an essential part of navigating traffic.

The list doesn't stop there though because convenience features are all around. USB and AUX connection? Check. Power supply point? Check. Height-adjustable headrests and seatbelts, vanity mirror and sunglass compartment tops off the impressive cabin.

2018 Hyundai Kona

                                                                       Image: Robin Classen

The Kona's unique 'Acid Yellow' colour also attracted plenty of attention because it definitely stands out and combined with the factory LED daytime driving lights, make for an awesome combination up front. The front of the car reminds me so much of a Citroen C4 Cactus with its head and foglight placement.

I expected the 2.0-litre engine mated to an automatic transmission not to be lenient on juice but I constantly managed to get 7.5 litres/100km, this with the aircon turned on. Surprisingly, Eco and Comfort drive modes aren't much different in terms of fuel usage, Sport on the other hand can run your economy as high as 10-litres/100km if you're not careful.

Engineered to be enjoyed

With so much shopping, loading and unloading to do during the festive season I needed something with sufficient boot space. While the 361-litre cargo area doesn't look huge upon first glance, it is a totally different story when you actually start loading it. Everything from Christmas gammon to camping chairs and five bags of groceries enjoyed their own spot without having the rear seats to be folded down.

READ: Meet Hyundai's new premium Kona SUV

Another thing I was curious about was the leg room and interior space available in the car. The Kona might look small from the outside but it is the complete opposite when you're sitting comfortably inside.

The signature Hyundai tone plays whenever you close the driver side door, a cool touch to let you know what you're driving. Three people can sit comfortably without having to ask front passengers to move their seats forward.

2018 Hyundai Kona

                                                                           Image: Robin Classen

I felt like a kid in a Toys 'R Us store with the cool infotainment touch-screen system making connectivity and driver functionality as easy as you'd like. I found myself almost playing a hand-held game because you can literally monitor and control things like tyre pressure and fuel economy per trip. Massive tick in the box for me.

Once you press the 'Drive mode' button found next to the shift lever you can feel the inner workings of the engine adjust itself accordingly from the driver's seat. Bends and steep inclines are no problem for the Kona. It sticks to the road like it should and if you require a bit more power, everything is readily available.

I was sad to have parted ways with such an awesome car.

Pricing starts from R379 900 and includes a 7-year or 200 000km manufacturers' warranty, a 5-year or 90 000km service plan and a 5-year or 150 000km roadside assistance. 

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