Hyundai Kona Hybrid

Premium 1.6 GDI DCT

Hyundai Kona Hybrid, dynamic
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, front
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, rear
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, dashboard
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, boot
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, interior

SINCE it hit UK showrooms in 2017 the Kona has proved a popular member of the Hyundai stable despite going up against a huge range of competitors in the trendy compact crossover market.

More than 120,000 have already found homes on the driveways of Europe and the South Korean car maker is seeking to broaden its appeal even further by introducing a hybrid version to plug the gap between petrol and electric-powered models.

Design-wise there's very little to distinguish this eco-friendlier alternative from regular Konas but that's no bad thing given the distinctive, funky looks the standard car boasts, incorporating split-level light clusters front and rear, hyundai's trademark ‘cascading' grille and the obligatory muscular SUV trappings.

Two new styles of alloy wheels are reserved for hybrid models while inside the cabin is set apart from its siblings by a dedicated interior colour pack consisting of white accents around the air vents and gear shift bezel, contrasting white stitching in the upholstery, various bits of glossy black trim and a grey headliner.

Power comes from the same drivetrain as the manufacturer's proven IONIQ hatchback, which was recently crowned winner in the hybrid category at the Carbuyer Best Car awards.

A 1.6-litre petrol engine works alongside a 1.56kWh battery and 32kW motor to deliver a maximum power output of 141ps and 265Nm of torque to the front wheels via a smooth six-speed automatic transmission.

Behind the wheel, this delivers a relaxed and refined drive, especially in town where you will be running in electric vehicle (EV) mode for a lot of the time.

While performance stats are nothing special - 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds and a top speed of 115mph - there's some decent low-down pull and the car feels spritely and responsive when tackling urban traffic and motorway cruising is handled effortlessly.

The ride is comfortable and settled and the handling precise and assured without being overly engaging - which is exactly what's required in a family-focused small SUV.

In fact, thanks to a low driving position, it feels and behaves much more like a compact hatchback than some of the higher-riding crossovers that feature among its rivals.

Fuel economy is also family-friendly too, with a claimed 52.3 miles per gallon on average, and during a week of mixed driving the high-forties figure that I achieved certainly won't be unduly stretching the budget in most households.

Cabin space is pretty good for a compact car, with ample room for four adults to get comfortable and decent personal storage space, while the boot, at 361 litres rising to 1,143 with the split rear seats folded, is not the biggest in class but large enough to cope with most day-to-day needs.

And while there are a lot of hard, scratchy plastics around the interior this can be excused when Hyundai's typically generous equipment levels are taken into account.

Three grades - SE, Premium and Premium SE - are offered with prices starting from £22,495 with all cars getting a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; rearview camera; climate control; steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles and lane keep assist.

Stepping up to our mid-range Premium trim adds a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, upgraded audio system, keyless entry and ignition, wireless charging for mobile devices and rear privacy glass.

Range-toppers get extra niceties such as leather upholstery; heated, ventilated and electrically operated front seats; and a head up display.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai Kona Hybrid Premium 1.6 GDI DCT

Price: £24,295

Mechanical: 141ps, 1,580cc, 4cyl petrol/electric hybrid driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 115mph

0-62mph: 11.6 seconds

Combined MPG:52.3

Insurance Group: 13

C02 emissions:101g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles

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