Hyundai Kona (2017) Review

Hyundai Kona (2017) At A Glance

3/5

+Affordable crossover SUV. Five year warranty as standard. Five star Euro NCAP rating.

-Cramped and cheap cabin. Poor ride quality on larger wheels. Uninspiring engine choices.

New prices start from £19,900, brokers can source from £17,653
Contract hire deals from £195.90 per month
Insurance Group 10
On average it achieves 83% of the official MPG figure

The Hyundai Kona is an affordable and quirky rival to the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc. However, while good to drive and value-packed, Hyundai's smallest and cheapest crossover falls short on quality with its cramped interior and poor ride making it an underwhelming daily driver.

Built in South Korea (not Europe), the Hyundai Kona crossover does have has some golden feathers in its cap when it comes to all-important value. Prices start in the region of £16,000 plus it gets a five year unlimited mileage warranty as standard. Equipment levels are good too with even basic models getting LED daytime running lights, DAB audio, touchscreen infotainment, a parking camera and cruise control. 

The Kona should be relatively inexpensive to fuel too, thanks to its efficient range of petrol engines. Most buyers will opt for the excellent turbocharged three-cylinder 1.0-litre T-GDI, which provides 120PS and 50+mpg according to the official figures. A more powerful 1.6-litre T-GDI is also offered, with 177PS, but lowers advertised economy to 42.2mpg. From mid-2018, Hyundai added a 1.6-litre diesel to the range - while there's also the excellent Hyundai Kona Electric for those looking for zero-emission motoring.

Whichever engine you opt for, the Hyundai Kona is surprisingly rewarding to drive. The steering is smooth and direct and the chassis stays flat though the corners, which means things generally are calm and composed, even when tackling the tightest of turns. However, owing to the rather firm set-up of the chassis, the ride quality can get bumpy and uncomfortable on 18-inch wheels. 

The interior is something of a mixed bag. The cabin is logically laid out and easy to use, but the abundance of thick and dark plastics give the Kona a low-rent, hire car feel. Buyers can spend extra on optional styling packs, to add coloured surrounds to the air vents and gear stick, but they do little to distract from the general cheap and dreary feel of the interior.

Legroom is poor for those sitting in the back too - and it's unlikely that adults will enjoy a long journey in the rear seats. To make matters worse, the front seatbacks are covered with more hard plastics which press uncomfortably on the knees.

As a value-focused crossover, the Hyundai Kona gets lots of things right, with its low running costs and comprehensive warranty being its two standout selling features. However, the cramped interior and so-so ride quality leave the Kona feeling distinctly short on quality and comfort compared to its rivals. 

Real MPG average for a Hyundai Kona (2017)

RealMPG

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

83%

Real MPG

30–49 mpg

MPGs submitted

47

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Was I missold a car because it's not getting the mpg I was told?
"What do the WLTP phases mean in real terms? Is the extra high phase just motorway driving? Basically, I bought a new Hyundai Kona 1.6 hybrid as I wanted an economical car. I was told I'd get over 50mpg on the motorway. I drive 120 miles a day for work, and 105 of that is motorway driving so as an overall average i would expect 50+mpg, however, I'm getting 46mpg at best. I'm trying to get Hyundai to take the car back as it was missold, but I cannot do that without knowing if the extra high phase mpg figure is for the motorway."
Car manufacturers publish figures based on official WLTP fuel economy tests, but real life driving usually offers lower (sometimes significantly lower) fuel economy figures. For high mileage motorway drivers, like yourself, diesels are usually a better buy. Hybrid vehicles offer good fuel economy for mixed driving as they regenerate battery power at low speeds, like around town. You can check our Real MPG stats here for most models: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/real-mpg/ Our understanding is that Extra High Phase means motorway-like driving at a max of 81mph. However, saying that, I'm not sure you'll have much luck with Hyundai as having missold you the vehicle - especially if you don't have a record (like an email) of an employee telling you explicitly that the car you bought would get 50mpg on the motorway. Although, it's worth a try. What you could also try is using more premium fuel - like Shell or BP rather than supermarket fuel. We get reports from some readers that this improves fuel economy.
Answered by Georgia Petrie
What's a good hybrid or electric small SUV?
"I'm looking for an automatic SUV with a very high seating position. I am a learner driver and prefer something small. I'm also leaning more towards electric and hybrid?"
A Hyundai Kona would be a good option if you want to go down the electric or hybrid route. It's available as an excellent electric car with a long range, although demand is currently exceeding supply. Hyundai's just announced a hybrid version of the same car which is due to go on sale in September: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/news/new-cars/2019-08/hyundai-kona-hybrid-565mpg-crossover-on-sale-next-month/. Also look at the Toyota C-HR hybrid.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What should I replace my Ford Fiesta with?
"Can you recommend a car to replace my Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost? I enjoy driving it but it has given me problems since new. I've looked at your website and so many of the new smaller cars show issues that it's difficult to choose a reliable one. Your help would be appreciated."
Best protection: Kia Rio 1.0 T-GDI or a Kia Stonic 1.0 T-GDI (7-year warranty), Hyundai i20 1.0 T-GDI or a Hyundai Kona 1.0 T-GDI (5-year warranty). Also, look at a Toyota Yaris 1.5 or Toyota Yaris hybrid (5-year warranty). In cash terms, Kia's 7-year warranty is worth about £1250 above anyone else's 3-year warranty and there are comparatively few claims on it.
Answered by Honest John
Is an electric car a good choice to replace our ageing Vauxhall Corsa?
"We are looking to replace our elderly Vauxhall Corsa that is a second car and usually only does short journeys of 5-10 miles. It will do around 5000 miles a year. My husband is 6ft 5in so it can't be too small. We are wondering whether we should go electric or hybrid but know nothing about them? "
Electric cars make the most sense if you can charge at home (i.e. have a private garage or driveway with electricity). If you can, it sounds like one would suit your requirements well. The Nissan Leaf is the UK's most popular electric car and it's been around for a number of years - so if you're looking secondhand, it'd be a good choice. If you're looking new, we really rate the Hyundai Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric. If you can't charge at home, a small petrol or hybrid probably makes more sense. The Toyota Yaris is available as an economical hybrid version.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Hyundai Kona (2017) cost?

Buy new from £17,653 (list price from £20,865)
Contract hire from £195.90 per month