The proof of Hyundai Kona Hybrid, the accessible and rational compact SUV


When choosing a new car, usually, a first selection is made based on the aesthetic aspect, to then evaluate its technical characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. A guided tour that, in the case of Hyundai Kona, hardly makes you want to look elsewhere.

Wanting to anticipate the judgment we made at the end of the trial along the hills of Monte San Pietro, near Bologna, we can define this hybrid version of Kona with a simple term: rational. Rationale because the compact SUV segment is very popular and is popular with most of the public. Also rational and above all for the price, given that it is offered in promotion for just over 20,000 euros. Finally rational because the hybrid version is the most painless of the choices of the now inevitable transition towards electric propulsion.

Thoughtless hybrid

Let's start from here, also because Kona is certainly not new. Indeed, it is a car already very popular in its segment. The real novelty lies in the full hybrid version, almost indistinguishable on an aesthetic level from the heat engine version. One realizes that something has changed only when starting the car and the only noticeable noise is the tire rolling. The engine noise is almost completely absent, a sign that we are proceeding in an exclusively electric mode, exploited not by chance, especially in the departures.

The second detail that brings to mind the fact that this is not the tradition version is the indicator in the dashboard dedicated to suggestions for intelligent and fuel-efficient driving. Again a word comes to mind: rational. And so, following Kona's suggestions, we manage to get very close to the consumption declared by Hyundai, ranging from 3.9 to 4.3 liters per 100 km. In fact, during our test, we approached even 5 liters, but we certainly can't say that we always adhered to the car's advice, too rational for a test worthy of the name.

Engine and performance, all designed for comfort and fuel consumption

A car of this kind obviously has an engine set to offer, to the driver, above all comfort and reduced consumption. That is, at the risk of being boring, a very rational behavior. The 4-cylinder 1.6 GDI petrol engine fulfills its task perfectly, delivering its 105 horsepower and 147 Nm of torque gently. Next to it is the real novelty of this version, namely the permanent magnet electric motor powered by the 1.56 kWh battery. This unit provides another 43.5 hp of power and 170 Nm of torque, bringing the whole to 141 horses with a total torque of 265 Nm. A perfect equation for a compact SUV that certainly does not make performance its strong point.

On the road, however, he behaves very well and the fairly rigid structure has transformed the many curves of the hilly landscape into a pleasant walk. Also excellent is the automatic dual-clutch gearbox and 6 speeds. Another plus sign in the list of pros and cons that, until now, still sees the column of the cons in full desolation.

Bluelink, remote control and CarPlay. Kona is hyper connected

By car you travel and you must be able to easily find information of any kind, in addition to being able to entertain yourself in the best way. This is why Hyundai has equipped Kona with the already known Bluelink, which is the connection system of the car with its smartphone via cellular connectivity. It means that you are always connected to the car even when it is out of sight and that this constant dialogue can help us to find the car again, to be constantly updated on its state of health, to block and unlock it and to recognize our voice efficiently, thanks to Hyundai's cloud-based services.

The car is completely under control, therefore, thanks to its independent connection. And when you are at the guide you can choose whether to take advantage of the on-board navigator and search for constantly updated points of interest, or use a smartphone mirroring system like Apple's CarPlay. In this case you can also take advantage of the compartment designed specifically to accommodate the smartphone, which also charges it thanks to wireless charging.

Lots of technology, both in ADAS systems and in consumption control

Could such a rational car not be full of driver assistance systems? Obviously not and in fact the list of ADAS systems is long. It starts with Smart Cruise with Stop & Go, or the system that keeps the distance to the vehicle in front constant by accelerating and slowing down automatically. In the city, moreover, he is able to switch off the engine during parking and switch it back on independently.

Then there is the braking assistant with recognition of pedestrians and cyclists, a radar system that controls blind spots and helps in the case of lane change (blind spot collision warning BCW); collision warning when reversing; lane keeping and lane alignment. Of security, on Hyundai Kona Hybrid, there is enough.

However, there is also a lot of technology in controlling consumption. Hyundai calls it the Coasting Guide and is a predictive energy management system. Means that the car tries to predict how much energy it will have to use to face the path ahead.

A simple example is that of the climbs, where the car recharges the battery before facing it, to then use the power of the electric motor to relieve as much as possible the heat engine and consequently bring it to consume little fuel; finally it uses the descent and the sail to recharge the battery. It does the same analyzing the path that precedes it, deciding how to dose the contribution of the electric motor only where needed and recharging the batteries in all other situations.

Rational all the way

Finally the last chapter of a rationality that was the leitmotiv of this test: the price. A car designed to have everything in the right place could not make a mistake about the price. And in fact Hyundai has decided to launch it with a generous offer that provides a total benefit of 3,700 euros, bringing the price of the 141 HP 2WD DCT XTech version – which comes as standard with 16 "alloy wheels, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, electric handbrake and cruise control, to 22,600 euros. A decidedly aggressive price that makes this car a choice, we reiterate for the last time, decidedly rational.

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