Ahead of the release of the MY21 Hyundai Kona range I got to spend some time with the outgoing Kona Highlander. Most of the cars I review are near-new when I get to drive them, but the Kona I drove had 14,000km on the odometer so it gave me an opportunity to see how well it had aged as well.
There were no real signs of wear on the plastics or seats and from what I could tell all the functions were operating as per normal. Where you could see the Kona was a little dated was the head-up display that used a screen that comes out of the dash to view it rather than a projection on to the windscreen.
On the plus side the safety features on the Highlander I drove have been enhanced on the new model and now include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist- City/Urban/Interurban/Pedestrian (camera + radar), Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic-Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist. All variants of the Hyundai Kona range have a 5-star ANCAP (2017) safety rating and come standard with six airbags; dual frontal, side and side head-protecting (curtain).
The front wheel drive Kona handles surprisingly well when it is pushed through the corners, but there is not a great deal of power from the 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder engine with just 110kW and 180Nm on tap coupled with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. There are three drive modes Eco, Comfort and Sport and the official combined fuel consumption is 6.2l/100km and for my week with the Kona I used 8.1l/100km
For a vehicle that costs $36k, there is a great deal of features included like power adjusted front seats with the driver getting two-way lumbar support as well, but no seat memory. In addition the front seats are heated and cooled, with the cooling being okay and on par with most other vehicles that offer this. Even the steering wheel is heated, but being it’s the height of summer I didn’t need to use it.
The infotainment system incorporates Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and like other Hyundai vehicles the voice control only works when you are connected to these using a USB cord. Also like many other car manufacturers the button for the voice control on the steering wheel has a silhouette of a masculine-looking face on it.
Other media options include USB music, AUX, Bluetooth, DAB/FM and AM and the input points for these are located at the front of the centre console where there is wireless charging for compatible devices, two USB ports, one 12V outlet and one AUX inlet.
The central screen also displays the standard rear view camera with the front and rear sensors displayed on the digital screen of the driver’s dash with is between the two analogue dials. Other notable features on the Highlander include auto lights and auto wipers.
There is just enough head and leg room in the rear seats for two adults to fit comfortably and there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points. But due to the width of the Kona only two car seats would fit. This allows the centre seat to be folded down as an arm rest where there are two rigid cup holders. There are also drink bottle storage cubbies in the doors, but these only fit small drink bottles.
My children particularly missed not having rear air vents and I think any car company that reasonably expects to be carrying rear seat passengers should have rear air vents as standard. There are also no USB ports and no mat over the transmission tunnel so they carpet may get worn over time if children are scrambling over it.
The manually opening boot is an okay size and would fit a stroller and a small shop. It comes with a cargo net and four tie down points plus a hook and there is an additional small storage area under the boot floor where you will also find a space saver spare tyre. If you need extra storage space the rear seats are 60/40 split folding.
Under the Hyundai iCare program new car customers receive a 5-Year Unlimited kilometre Warranty, complimentary Roadside Assist for 12 months, and a 1,500km complimentary first service. The service intervals for the Kona are every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever occurs first. Under the Pre-paid service plan owners can purchase the first five services in advance for $1,420. Customers will also receive a Roadside Support Plan for up to 10 years and 10 Year Sat Nav updates if they continue to service the vehicle through the Hyundai dealer network.
The 2021 Kona brings an eye-catching new look, extra standard comfort and convenience features, and additional SmartSense safety technologies as mentioned. The line-up introduces the sporty and fun Kona N Line and N Line Premium, which boast an all-new, 146kW SmartStream 1.6 turbo engine teamed with a DCT transmission and all-wheel drive, and a sports-tuned chassis featuring a multi-link rear suspension. The new Kona EV will be introduced as well in March.
The Hyundai Kona Highlander is a cute-looking small SUV that offers a lot for its $36,000 price tag (excludes dealer delivery and on-road costs). Premium paint adds $595 or you can go for the two-tone look at no extra cost (this deletes the sunroof). Visit your preferred Hyundai dealer for more information about run-out offers on the MY20 Kona models.
|The choice of petrol or EV power||No air vents for rear seat passengers|
|Low service costs||Old-style head-up display|
|Surprising amount of fun to drive||Voice control only works when Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is connected|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.