CAR REVIEW: Hyundai Kona Premium GT – Bradford Telegraph and Argus

The distinctive Kona is one of the bright new breed of fashionable mid-sized SUV crossovers.

Here, Hyundai has created a sharp-looking car that stands out from the crowd, with the added appeal of owners being able to personalise their vehicle.

It also comes with generous kit levels and a decent amount of interior space, further enhancing its appeal.

If there’s one criticism of the ever-expanding mid-sized SUV sector, it’s that it seems to give rise to cars that look more exciting than they are to drive.

In general terms, there are a number of examples that boast eye-catching aesthetics, but lack power and any real driver engagement once you get behind the wheel.

But the Kona does better than many of its rivals in that respect, with my test car feeling quite nimble and sprightly.

With a turbo petrol engine that offers 177PS, the Kona can go from a standing start to 62mph in under eight seconds – and feels a good deal swifter in real world driving conditions than the figures would suggest, helped by slick-shifting seven-speed DCT transmission.

Emissions of 153g/km are arguably a bit disappointing when compared to some rivals.

If this petrol range topper isn’t to your liking, there are other engine options available, including a 1.0-litre petrol model, a diesel or an electric model.

The Kona, named after a district of Hawaii, feels well balanced through the corners, with body roll well contained.

The steering gives enough feedback to keep the driver fully engaged, while the four wheel drive system ensures excellent grip levels in most circumstances.

In terms of looks, the Kona has an eye-catching and adventurous appearance from all angles.The front grille has a dividing strip across the top of it, making it distinctive, while the slim headlights add to the front end’s sleek appearance.The rear end is even more attractive, with confident lines giving the Kona a purposeful stance on the road.

While the colour-scheme applied to the test vehicle was understated, the opposite is true of some of the vivid options available to drivers who want to personalise their vehicle

Indeed, would-be buyers can choose a Kona to suit their personality with a wide range of exterior colours – from Pulse Red to Acid Yellow – and a colour-contrast roof, on Premium GT models.

And the potential to express individuality extends to the car’s cabin, with interior colour packs being available on Premium SE and Premium GT trims.

It means you can get coloured trim around the gearshift, air vents and start/stop button along with coloured stitching on the seats and the steering wheel.

Standard equipment across the Kona range includes 16-inch alloy wheels, which give the vehicle further appeal, LED daytime running lights and a wide range of safety equipment, including lane keep assist, hill start assist and downhill brake control.

The range-topping Premium GT, tested here, includes four-wheel drive, full LED tail lamps and headlamps with high-beam assist. It comes with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which is user-friendly and has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and wireless charging support.

The Kona’s seat is high-mounted and the driving position is comfortable, with the pedals lining up neatly with the steering wheel.

There’s decent space in the front, with storage space including two cupholders between the seats and a cubby hole below the front centre armrest.

However, things are a little tighter in the back, meaning rear seat passengers over six foot tall may find journeys rather cramped.

With its decent engines and infotainment combined with its appealing looks, the Kona is a good addition to this class, making the field even more competitive.

Hyundai KONA Premium GT

PRICE: £26,245 on the road

ENGINE: 1.6-litre turbo unleaded 177PS

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and max speed 127mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: 42.2mpg combined

EMISSIONS: 153g/km

TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed DCT, four wheel drive

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