A style that charms viewers
“Targeting millennial drivers chasing an energetic, fast-paced lifestyle.”
“Kona is named after an iconic coastal area of Hawaii; famous among thrill-seeking travelers.”
“Kona makes a strong first impression due to its shark-eyed, big-grille forward styling, curving profile and bumpy rear,” said Issam.
Hyundai has been seeking the “top of the top” for the past few years, either from a design standpoint or even interior features or efficient engines. But, Hyundai never failed to surprise us with new models to fulfill every segment in its fleet so it can gutter the apparently endless customer requests for an all-wheel drive straight to the marque. This recent addition is the Kona. I took it for a pretty long weekend in Beirut.
At first sight, I can immediately tell you that the Kona makes a strong first impression due to its shark-eyed, big-grille forward styling, curving profile and bumpy rear. In other terms, the design is solid and pleasing to the eyes. Optional 18-inch alloy wheels further contribute to the bold character of the car. The two-toned roof and the wide choice of distinctive exterior colors offer a high degree of personalization for consumers.
The interior design reflects the exterior. Consumers can personalize the interior of the Kona with three distinctive colors: Orange, lime and red. The floating navigation touchscreen, in its ergonomic position, allows drivers to stay tuned to the traffic ahead at all times. The Display Audio allows passengers to mirror their smartphone’s content onto the system’s seven-inch display via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An optional eight-inch infotainment system integrates navigation, media and connectivity features. For even more connectivity comfort, the optional wireless inductive charging pad (Qi standard) charges the passengers’ smartphones and connects mobile devices with USB ports and AUX jacks. Kona also offers a high-end, premium eight-speaker sound system by audio manufacturer, Krell.
The Kona’s base engine is a 2.0-liter inline-four that churns out 147 horsepower and 180 Nm of torque, and couples to a smooth six-speed automatic through either the front or all four wheels. The fairly well tuned drivetrain carries around 1,452 kg, and takes more than 10 seconds to reach to 100 km/h.
How does it drive? Kona makes the most of its comparatively lightweight design to give pleasing dynamics and comfort for such an affordable car. Kona drives more like a larger car than a small one. I felt that the suspension keeps body rolls aside on rise and fall roads, and toes the line between being stiff and pliant over rough ones. Everything is right: the brake pedal, the throttle response, and the steering are well judged but emotionless. When driven on some of Jbeil’s tight corners, the car feels more natural in bends. I tried a couple of times to carry speed through twisty roads en route to my village, Ghalboun; I can admit that the Kona doesn’t earn the right to be called a sporty crossover, but it’s much more assured when cornering than any other small crossover in its segment.
As we all understand, the Kona was made to target the young or rather the millennial generation. I think this is the case in Europe and even North America. I would rather see the Kona targeting other audiences in our Middle East region. I see that the Kona is targeted toward couples seeking the practicality of a lifted hatchback rather than a really young generation. Nowadays the worldwide demand on sedans has fallen a lot. The Kona will in some ways subtract from the company’s existing sedan customers and will only slightly bring in new customers.
Rivals: Honda HR-V, Toyota CH-R, Mazda CX-3
Pros: Attractive styling, packed with lots of features, user-friendly infotainment system
Cons: Tight cargo compartment, emotionless steering, acceleration not that quick
one word: rationality
4 / 5 stars
2.0-liter, inline 4-cyl, 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 180 Nm @ 4500 rpm
FWD/AWD, 6-speed automatic transmission
0-100 kph: 9.3 secs, top speed: 193 kph, fuel consumption: 7.9-8.6 L/ 100km