Hyundai Kona 1.6 GDI

Hybrid Premium

Hyundai Kona Hybrid, front
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, rear
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, interior
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, boot
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, dashboard
Hyundai Kona, 2020, front
Hyundai Kona hybrid, front
Hyundai Kona Hybrid, dynamic

YOU would have to live in a cave wearing earplugs to be unaware of the shift away from petrol and diesel cars in the direction of electric power.

But just how electrifying do you want your set of wheels to be?

At the moment, hybrid engines - ie part petrol, part electric - appear an attractive option as the infrastructure for plug-in and charge models gears up for the ultimate move to pure electric.

One of the newer kids on the block is the Hyundai Kona, a smart compact SUV that's also comes in petrol and full electric form, the diesel version having been ditched.

This is a full cream hybrid which can switch to full electrification during city pottering, unlike the many hybrids which have smaller batteries and more marginal assistance.

With chunky, of-the-moment styling, unusual double headlight frontage and short overhangs, the Kona has bags of kerb appeal. The cabin is smart enough with a large, prominent 10.25-inch touchscreen but there's a bit too much scratchy plastic around to give it a premium feel.

Front seats are soft and supportive and the back ones are comfortable enough for a couple of six-footers but there's not as much space as you'd find in a Qashqai or a Peugeot 3008.

It's a similar story with the boot - the capacity of 361 litres is smaller than most crossovers and more like the size of a family hatch.

You sit relatively low in the Kona compared with most rivals which is compatible with car's sporty nature and handling prowess - it corners flat and grips well with decent feedback from the power steering, especially when switched to sport mode.

Further enhancing its appeal to keen drivers is the dual clutch auto gearbox. The six-speed unit switches cogs smoothly and intuitively, making the most of its generous 139bhp, 1.6-litre engine. With plenty of torque, mid-range pick-up is vigorous. Maybe not as plentiful as a diesel but not far short.

Under hard acceleration the engine sounds a tad busy, but throttle back and it cruises in a relaxed and unflustered fashion.

The ride is reasonably firm and can be a little harsh over rutted surfaces but the advantage is felt during roll-free cornering.

Most owners can expect near diesel-like fuel consumption with 50-plus becoming the everyday norm. A gentle run with light traffic returned closer 60mpg.

If you are so minded, a dial on the left of the centre binnacle keeps you informed about the hybrid activity but as far as driving is concerned it starts, goes and stops very much like a petrol or diesel version.

The Kona Premium, driven here, comes well kitted out with parking camera, rear sensors, sat nav, eight speaker audio system, climate control, hill start control and LED daytime running lights. Body coloured door handles and bumpers plus a black grille with chrome surround give it a purposeful and sporty look.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai Kona 1.6 GDI Hybrid Premium

Price: £26,980

Mechanical:139bhp, 1,598cc,4cyl petrol electric hybrid engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 115mph

0-62mph: 11.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 64.2

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 101g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 5yrs/unlimited miles

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