A NEW diesel engine has been developed by Hyundai and is making its debut in the Kona compact SUV.
With prices ranging from Â£19,750 for an SE model and topping out at Â£24,750 for a top grade Premium SE Kona complete with a seven-speed dual clutch auto transmission it is some Â£2,000 more than the petrol versions - and almost on par with the soon-to-be-launched Kona Electric.
Called Smartstream, the new 1.6-litre engine can be had either in 115ps output with a six-speed manual or ac 136ps version with the DCT box.
The DCT models are priced from £21,400 in SE trim which includes 17-inch alloys, a seven-inch display screen and full smartphone connectivity.
The new diesel meets the latest emissions regulations and uses AdBlue and a DPF filter to keep CO2 levels as low as 111g/km which equated to a claimed 67.3mpg.
With the DCT auto box the Kona diesel is slightly quicker but not quite as economical, emitting 114g/km of CO2 giving it an official fuel return of 64.2mpg.
We have just tried the 115ps engine in a high specification Premium SE Kona and it is well suited to the car.
Top speed is 114mph, 0 to 60 takes 10.7 seconds and that's quicker than what you will get from the 1.0-litre petrol engines used elsewhere in the range.
The Kona 1.6 CRDi we sampled cost from Â£23,450 and proved to be nicely economical and averaged a respectable 48 to the gallon over a good run - and that was without trying to save fuel.
The lively performance is matched by some neat handling and the Kona diesel feel well balanced on the road even though it tips the scales at 1.3-tonnes - almost 100kg more than the 1.0-litre petrol.
Premium SE trim means the car is fully kitted and equipment included a head up display for the driver, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and sat nav.
It sits on 18-inch alloys and also comes with a high end Krell audio system and wireless phone charging.
The top grade models also come with rear cross traffic alerts and blind spot detectors as part of the safety systems while lane keeping systems are fitted to all Konas.
Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian recognition is £235 extra on all models as part of an additional safety pack.
Other extras included a two tone finish for the roof and a panoramic sunroof which both add £420 to the price and a metallic paint which comes in at £565.
All in all that took the cost of the car up to £25,090 which is still competitive in the booming crossover sector, although the new Kona diesel is front-wheel-drive only.
Four-wheel-drive models are powered by 1.6-litre turbo petrol engines and start from £25,260 while the Kona range itself costs from £16,450 for a base level S model.