2021 Hyundai Kona Hybrid Review : Blue Sky Morning
Singapore - A middle-of-life facelift keeps Hyundai’s compact hybrid car looking fresh. The Hyundai Kona has been offered with no less than four different drivetrains here in Singapore. Beginning with a 1.0 turbocharged 3-cylinder paired to a stick-shift, a reactive 1.6 turbo, a full-electric model, and this - a hybrid. Today, the Kona range has been whittled down to just two economical offerings, the EV and the hybrid.
With the mid-life nip and tuck, the Kona Hybrid receives a larger revised front grille and a new bumper, which gives their small crossover a visually wider stance, and as this is the costlier sunroof variant, it also gets a set of snazzy 17-inch rims. The re-skinned bumpers have also increased the overall length of the car by 4cm. There are also three new colours, Surfy Blue which is what you get here, Cyber Grey and Dive in Jeju.
Hyundai Kona Hybrid - interior
There is nothing more Korean than a drab plastic interior. While there are some materials here that have a cheap feel to them, the Kona’s overall fit is quite good. Like most Hyundai cars in the stable the small Hyundai crossover gets signature large buttons on the centre console and also under the air-conditioning knobs. What is new though, is a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. There is now a larger 8-inch infotainment screen, with its toggle buttons moved to the base of the panel. Both Apple and Android devices are supported, and you also get a wireless charging pad to keep your mobile device charged.
With the Sunroof variant, you do get a few added creature comforts, such as factory fitted leather all round. The front seats are electronically adjustable and are ventilated/heated. There is also a useful head-up display for easier access to your driving information.
The Kona fits four average-sized adults with ease, and cargo room at 361 litres is decent, though it pales when compared to the Toyota Yaris Cross which boasts 390 litres.
Hyundai’s SmartSense which is standard equipment on this upmarket variant, includes, rear cross traffic collision-avoidance warning, adaptive cruise control and front parking sensors, which are in addition to the rear sensors you get on the base model.
Hyundai Kona Hybrid - the drive
Under the hood, the Kona retains its 1.6 litre NA Atkinson cycle engine, which is helped on by a 43.5hp electric motor. This gives the Kona Hybrid an overall delivery of 130bhp and 265Nm.
So far, so sensible, and the Kona performed just like how we expected, it wasn’t quick at all, but rather adequate. The game here is efficiency, rather than added performance.
Getting to 100km/h will take you a grand total of 11.3 seconds, but driven right, Hyundai claims that the Kona Hybrid can squeeze out 3.9l/100km for the base car, and 4.3l/100km for this one; which is a pretty lofty figure. For us, we managed a shade under 5l/100km with some extensive highway driving… still very impressive.
But being TeeGee, we had to work the throttle a little more to see what this Korean hybrid is made of. Very quickly, we learnt that the little hybrid car does not like to be rushed. At higher rpms, the engine does become vocal, as-if it disapproves. The 6-speed DCT though, does a decent job of switching cogs, and eliminating power loss. Sure, it does not feel as planted as its EV sibling, around the bends, but we think it rides well, especially with a suspension which is not overly harsh.
The Kona Hybrid is an eye-pleasing fuel-sipping compact, and it (for now) goes for less than its EV sibling. Great if you do want to adopt some form of electrification, but you don’t have the sockets; that is if you can swallow a price tag north of $150k for the equipment-rich sunroof version.
PHOTOS Jay Tee
TEXT Jay Tee and Clifford Chow
Hyundai KONA Hybrid Sunroof
Engine 1,580cc, inline 4 Atkinson cycle
System Power 130hp/5700rpm
Transmission 6spd dual-clutch DCT
Top Speed 161km/h
Fuel Consumption 4.3l/100km