Road test by Steve Rogers
ANOTHER day another new crossover, but as my postman said ‘everyone is buying them.’
He got that right. In a year when car sales fell 2017 was a great year for the crossover-cum-SUV, call them what you will.
This was the only sector where sales increased although it is hardly surprising with new models being churned out like pizzas at a fast food counter. What is it that makes this style of car so popular? I can give you the answer in one word: Height.
We like sitting higher in our car; it gives a feeling of safety. Not so long ago only a big, expensive 4×4 gave a commanding driving position, now just about every car maker has a high rider in its line up. I can think of six new crossovers in the last few months, five of them small models.
And that is just what the Hyundai Kona is, a taller version of its i20 supermini. Of course there is a little more to it that sitting higher. There is a bit more space because the car is bigger which suits a growing family. The smaller crossover won’t break the bank either with the going rate generally around £17k.
Hyundai has established itself as a key player in the UK car market and the little Kona is another impressive model in the Korean company’s stable. The range covers all bases with small economy minded engines to the nippy 1.6 litre petrol on test here.
Its appeal will be limited because the best you can hope for is low thirties to the gallon but it is not short on zip knocking off 62mph in under eight seconds which is edging hot hatchback territory.
Now if you think just over £25,000 is a lot for a car this size wait until I tell you what is in it. This is the top of the range Premium GT and as well as the usual electrically operated bits and pieces the GT has four wheel drive with automatic seven speed gearbox, heated steering wheel, heated AND ventilated seats, powered front seats, LED auto dipping headlights, keyless entry, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connection, head up display for speed and navigation and, for good measure, a space saver spare rather than a repair kit. I am dreading having to use one of those.
This is just a snap shot, there is loads more on the spec sheet.
The Kona’s extra height makes the cabin feel just that little bit roomier and there is enough headroom in the back seat for six footers. Legroom isn’t bad either and while the boot space isn’t the largest in the pack it is good enough.
Build and trim quality is solid although there is a lot of dark plastic and a soft lining for the boot walls would be preferable.
Nothing much to complain about with the handling and ride, the suspension produces a bobbly, jittery feel on rougher B roads but still provides a good cushion over potholes.
Kona is hitting the road the same time as the Volkswagen T-Roc, Skoda Karoq, Seat Arona, and Citroen C3 Aircross and would make it into any crossover top five. For me it sits at number two just behind the Citroen C3 Aircross.
Kona Premium GT
1.6 turbo petrol; 174bhp
0-62mph 7.9secs; 127mph
Economy: 42.7mpg combined
Emissions: 153g/km. Road tax £140
Insurance groups 9 to 19* (*Premium GT)