Hyundai Kona Premium

1.0 T-GDI

Hyundai Kona Premium GT, 2017, front
Hyundai Kona Premium GT, 2017, nose
Hyundai Kona Premium GT, 2017, side
Hyundai Kona Premium GT, 2017, rear
Hyundai Kona Premium GT, 2017, interior
Hyundai Kona Premium GT, 2017, rear seats
Hyundai Kona, 2017, boot
Hyundai Kona, rear

IT'S a Hyundai, but not as you know it.

Having driven a number of the Korean-company's offerings over the years, I can vouch for the fact that, while always pleasing to look at, they rarely deviate from mainstream thinking when it comes to design.

The Kona however is different.

It is pitched to compete with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Citroen C3 Aircross and SEAT Arona in the competitive compact SUV sector and, as a relatively late entrant to the party, Hyundai has decided it needs to make an instant impression.

This it does with an eye-catching design for the Kona featuring a futuristic face with natty daytime running lights and false grilles - the real one has a black and chrome surround - plus a rear-end boasting a silver skid plate as well as a spoiler and a neat integrated brake light.

On the £19,360, 1.0-litre T-GDI, front-wheel-drive Premium model - other trims are S, SE, Premium SE and Premium GT 4x4 (available only with a 1.6-litre petrol engine) - there are 18-inch alloy wheels plus body coloured-bumpers and exterior door handles.

The cabin is packed with goodies as air conditioning with rear air vents in the centre console, an eight-inch colour touchscreen with sat nav, digital clock and radio, Bluetooth connectivity, plus systems to allow your smartphone to interact with the car all make an appearance.

There are USB and AUX connections up front and a wireless phone charging pad.

The Kona also sports driver-friendly systems such as cruise control with speed limiter, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors plus front and rear electric windows. It's easy to park thanks to a rear camera and guidance system as well as rear sensors.

Safety is assured by the usual suite of airbags as well as a raft of electronic systems designed to keep you out of trouble.

With Hyundai believing that up to 50 per cent of the group's sales could be SUV based in the near future it has thrown the kitchen sink at the Kona by developing an all-new platform.

The interior space provided by a length of 13ft 11ins and a wheelbase of 8ft 8ins is good with lots of head and leg room for four adults - a fifth can be accommodated at the back but it is a bit of a squeeze. A decent driving position is easily obtained as both the seat and steering wheel can be adjusted to suit.

Boot space is also up to the mark ranging from 334 to 1,116 litres with a handy underfloor compartment a useful addition.

The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine - linked to a six-speed manual transmission - is surprisingly punchy.

So although the 0-62mph time looks pedestrian at 12 seconds, the Kona is quite sprightly away from the traffic lights and has enough power to get the job done on the motorway.

It is fairly frugal when it comes to fuel with official figures claiming an average 52.3mpg with carbon dioxide emissions of 125g/km.

The ride is reasonably smooth while the handling is fine with the car doing its best to resist leaning in corners. It's not tremendously engaging to drive, but it is comfortable and is relatively quiet once up to speed.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai Kona Premium 1.0 T-GDI

Price:£19,360

Mechanical:118bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:112mph

0-62mph:12 seconds

Combined MPG:52.3

Insurance Group:10

C02 emissions:125g/km

Bik rating:26%

Warranty:5yrs/unlimited miles

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