New Kona is king of

compact SUVs

Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, front
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, front
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, side
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, rear
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, interior
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, dashboard
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, display screen
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, gear shift
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, parking brake
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, rear seats
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, boot, underfloor
Hyundai Kona Advance hybrid, 2024, boot

THE transformation of Hyundai into one of Britain's leading auto makers has been nothing short of remarkable and its latest compact SUV is proof of the pudding.

The new Kona is available as a purely electric model or with a petrol engine that includes a very efficient hybrid powertrain.

Prices start from £25,725 for a 1.0-litre petrol model with the electric version coming in from £34,995 and the hybrid starting from £30,025.

The latter is the car we have just been putting through its paces on an extended evaluation covering the best part of 2,000 miles.

In that time it has averaged 47.2 to the gallon according to the trip computer which makes it one of the most economical full hybrids on the market.

Over shorter distances it regularly returned figures into the low 70s - very pleasing - and officially the Konda hybrid is rated at 60.1mpg. Emissions for the Advance model are 105g/km.

A slight down side is the small size of the fuel tank which is just over eight gallons - down from the 10 gallon tank on the non-hybrid versions.

But for everyday commuting it doesn't get much better than this for a petrol-powered model that doesn't require any plug-in charging.

The hybrid is powered by a 1.6-litre engine which develops a total of 141ps and it's hooked up to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox operated via a twist selector on the steering column.

Top speed is 103mph with Sport mode engaged or 93mph if in the Eco setting and the 0 to 62mph time is measured at 11.2 seconds which is brisk enough in this day and age.

The interior of the new Kona is a class act compared to its predecessor and very state of the art owing much to the theme of electrification in new cars.

It is roomy and uncluttered with plenty of space in the centre console which has been freed up by moving the gear selector and the electronic parking brake control away from the middle of the car. The gear selector is on the steering column while the brake has moved to the dashboard.

Freeing up even more space are retractable cup holders which flip out of the side of the console. When not required there is a splendid amount of room to be had between the front seats aft of the phone charging area.

The new Kona is bigger than before now measuring 4.35 metres long, 1.82 metres wide and with a relatively long 2.66 metre wheelbase.

Boot space in the hybrid is the same as in all other versions of the new Kona at 466 litres extending to a maximum of 1,330 litres with the rear seats folded.

With plenty of styling cues taken from the Kona Electric the newcomer is swish and contemporary and the hybrid includes an LED light strip across the front even in basic Advance trim.

The dashboard is ultra-modern and features two 12.3-inch wide display screens stretching into the centre of the facia.

The display appears as one panel on start up with a flashing graphic extending from side to side then switches to an instrument display in front of the driver with other functions such as sat nav shown in the central area.

Conventional buttons are below the screen area in a wide layout that sits above the ventilation and air conditioning control panel with sockets for USB equipment, phone plug-ins and other features such as the drive modes and the auto hold setting for the parking brake set below on the console.

It is all very driver-centric and in keeping with Hyundai's new approach to keeping driving easy.

In every way the latest Kona is a sea change from its predecessor and a car that is right at the cutting edge.

For those not yet ready for fully electric driving, the Kona hybrid makes plenty of sense as a highly economical small - but very plush - SUV.

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