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Hyundai Kona Review 2021

Hyundai Kona
Hyundai Kona
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  • Launched in 2017
  • Small SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid
  • Launch year
    2017
  • Body type
    Small SUV
  • Fuel type
    Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid

Interested in buying a Hyundai Kona?

View Hyundai Kona cars for sale
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Affordable SUV will turn heads

Best bits

  • Generously equipment levels
  • Great infotainment hardware
  • Five-year-warranty

Not so great

  • Drab interior design
  • Firm ride and uninspiring handling on early models
  • Hybrid models are expensive

Read by

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 exterior moving front

Overall verdict

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 interior dashboard

On the inside

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 exterior moving rear

Driving

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 static front

How much does it cost to run

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 exterior static rear

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Hyundai Kona

"The Hyundai Kona isn't in the same league as the Skoda Kamiq or Ford Puma, but it represents reasonable value for money. The latest revisions have made it a bit more competitive, but it's still not the most practical choice – nor the best drive."

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 exterior moving front

The small SUV market has been given a radical shake-up in recent years. As recently as 2017, when the Hyundai Kona was launched, a new small SUV could get away with being a bit mediocre. Back then, it only had to beat the cheap (and not so cheerful) Vauxhall Crossland X, and the popular (but below-par) Nissan Juke


But there have been some really good arrivals within the last year or two and our review of the Hyundai Kona will explore how it stacks up against the competition. The Ford Puma and Skoda Kamiq are two of our favourites, while there’s also been a brand new Renault Captur and a (much improved) Nissan Juke


That’s why the Hyundai Kona’s recently been given quite a substantial facelift. Quite literally – with a heavily redesigned front end to make it stand out from the crowd. We’ll let you decide how successful that’s been.


The engine line-up has been revamped with electrification in mind, as is the current trend. The current range includes a 1.0-litre petrol with mild-hybrid tech; a 1.6 hybrid with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission; and the star of the show: the Kona Electric with its 39kWh and 64kWh battery options. We’ve written about the Kona Electric over here.


If you’re looking on the used market for a Hyundai Kona, you’ll see the same 1.0- and 1.6-litre petrol engines, albeit without hybrid technology. There was a 1.6-litre diesel briefly offered, too, although it sold in tiny numbers so don’t pin your hopes on finding one.


None of the conventional engines are particularly thrilling (go for the Hyundai Kona Electric model if you want some serious overtaking punch), while the Kona has never handled as well as the SEAT Arona. The suspension was revised in 2021, meaning it now handles bumpy road surfaces better than it did before.


Of course, being a Hyundai, the Kona represents decent value for money. A new one will set you back upwards of £21,000, although top-spec Hybrid models are nudging £30,000 once you’ve selected a few extras. On the used market, a budget of around £10,000 will pick up an early example.


If you want the EV version, you need our Hyundai Kona Electric review.


Ready to get your top quality Hyundai Kona?

  • All cars come with a warranty
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  • All quality checked
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Hyundai Kona

1.0T GDi Blue Drive SE 5dr

  • 2019
  • 14,865 miles
  • Richmond Hyundai Guildford
  • Surrey, GU11RU
Price:£14,502
PCP: £234.19/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 37 months, 36 Monthly Payments: £234.19, Customer Deposit: £2,175.00, Total Deposit: £2,175.30, Optional Final Payment: £6,083.38, Total Charge For Credit: £2,187.52, Total Amount Payable: £16,689.52, Representative APR: 7.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 4.07%, Excess Mileage Charge: 14.9ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Hyundai Kona
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Hyundai Kona

1.0T GDi Blue Drive Premium 5dr

  • 2018
  • 45,650 miles
  • CARZ Glasgow
  • Lanarkshire, G524XA
Price:£12,700
PCP: £230.52/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £230.52, Customer Deposit: £1,905.00, Total Deposit: £1,905.00, Optional Final Payment: £5,004.00, Total Charge For Credit: £2,277.20, Total Amount Payable: £14,977.20, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.44%, Excess Mileage Charge: 4.8ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the 2021 Hyundai Kona right for you?

One of the big selling points of the Hyundai Kona is its distinctive design. Some buyers will love it, for others it will be a turn-off, but either way the colourful exterior, high driving position and easy driving manners are all positives. It'll suit buyers who want something with a bit more personality than a small family hatchback.


It's not especially practical, with other cars in this price range providing more boot and passenger space, so if you regularly carry adults, there are better options out there. The hybrid is cheap to run but expensive to buy.


What’s the best Hyundai Kona model/engine to choose?

If you're looking for a pre-facelift example, the front-wheel drive 1.0-litre petrol turbo will be the best option for the vast majority of buyers. It’s not the smoothest, but flexible enough to keep up with motorway traffic, with a tall sixth gear that helps refinement when cruising. It’ll be kind on your wallet too, with an official economy of 45.6mpg and just 121g/km of CO2. 


Avoid the entry-level Hyundai Kona S trim at all costs. It’s too basic to recommend, even as a used bargain, the SE model offers the best balance of equipment and price, and its smaller alloys help to mitigate the Kona’s other main issue, a jiggly and firm ride that never truly settles. On larger wheel's you'll be gritting your teeth over bumps.


What other cars are similar to the Hyundai Kona?

The Hyundai Kona is part of the fastest expanding group of cars on the market: small SUVs. A market that exploded in popularity with the arrival of the first versions of Nissan Juke, Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008. Now all three cars have been replaced with a brand new generation that are better to drive, more refined and offer an increasingly level of technology and luxury kit on board, with prices rising to match their new status.


Still, if you want a high driving position on a tighter budget, you could buy a jacked-up version of a small hatch instead. Cars like the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai's own i20 Active give you a mini-SUV flavour for less cash. For a more grown-up driving experience, the Ford Puma is great fun in corners, while the Volkswagen T-Roc is composed and refined. Both are available with punchy 150PS engines that deliver surprisingly brisk pace.


Company car drivers interested in the Kona hybrid should check out Toyota's C-HR, which is even lighter on fuel, managing the transition between petrol and electricity a little more seamlessly than the Hyundai does.


Learn more

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 interior dashboard

On the inside

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 exterior moving rear

Driving

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 static front

How much does it cost to run

Hyundai Kona Review 2021 exterior static rear

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is the Hyundai Kona a hybrid?

There is a hybrid model available, which effectively replaces the diesel models, which were dropped from the line-up in 2019. It has a 1.6-litre petrol engine paired to a 43PS electric motor via an automatic gearbox, and emits 99g/km of CO2, and returns a decent 56.5mpg.

Russell Campbell

Answered by

Russell Campbell

Does the Hyundai Kona come with all-wheel drive?

Unlike some rivals, if you really need it then you can buy a Kona with four-wheel drive. It’s a smart system too, with a differential lock, but it’s only available on the Premium GT trim and with the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which means it’s a lot more expensive too.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Is the Hyundai Kona an SUV?

Yes, although it’s a small SUV rather than a proper utility vehicle. It does come with the option of four-wheel drive, but it’s more of a 4x4 in its spirit and style than execution.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

What about the Hyundai Kona Electric?

Perhaps the most well known Hyundai Kona is the all-electric model. It’s performed brilliantly in recent comparative electric range tests, and offers Tesla-rivalling performance for a lot less money. It comes in 64kWh or 39kWh guises, with the former providing over 300 miles of EV range.

heycar editorial team

Answered by

heycar editorial team

Interested in buying a Hyundai Kona?

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