Sprint Review: 2018 Hyundai Kona 1.0T Executive

Hey, you know what? We don’t have enough compact SUV crossover thingies in our market, we need more compact SUV crossover vehicles. Inhale, feel the sarcasm, exhale. Hyundai is all-too-happy to assist us…

What you need to know: The Kona is Hyundai’s fourth (and smallest) SUV in the southern African market and as a funky-looking pavement hopper it competes with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Audi Q2, Honda HR-V and probably a million other compact SUV crossover jobbies that have weird c-pillar designs.

…comfy and predictable.

To keep up with the Joneses, Hyundai finally caved in to the (sometimes misguided) trend of engine down-sizing so this car has a one-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol generating up to 88kW (120hp) or 172Nm for the six-shot manual gearbox to send to the front wheels. The ride is comfy and predictable.

Compact SUV (Petrol)Engine kW/NmWarranty / Serv PlanPrice (ZA)
Ford Ecosport 1.0T Trend1L i3 Trb92/1704Y 120k / 4Y 60kR293,500
Mazda 2.0 Active2L i4 115/2063Y unlim. / 3Y unlim.R299,400
Kia Soul 1.6 Start1.6 i4 91/1525Y unlim. / 4Y 90kR318,995
Renault Captur 88kW Dyn.1.2 i4 Trb88/1905Y 150k / 3Y 45kR320,900
Nissan Juke 1.2T Acenta+1.2 i4 Trb85/1906Y 150k / 3Y 90kR343,900
Honda HR-V 1.5 CVT1.5 i488/1455Y 200k / 4Y 60kR354,900
Suzuki Vitara GLX AllGrip1.6 i486/1513Y 100k / 4Y 60kR374,900
Toyota C-HR 1.2T Plus1.2 i4 Trb 85/1853Y 100k / 6 serv. 90k kmR376,600
Hyundai Kona 1.0T Exec.1L i3 Trb88/1727Y 200k / 5Y 90kR379,900
VW Tiguan 1.4TSi Trendline1.4 i4 Trb92/2003Y 120k / 5Y 90kR412,000
Mini Cooper Countryman1.5 i3
100/2202Y unlim. / 5Y 100kR458,024
Audi Q2 30TFSi (DCT)1L i3
85/2001Y unlim. / 5Y 100kR461,000
BMW X1 sDrive18i (DCT)1.5 i3
103/2202Y unlim. / 5Y 100kR518,539
Lexus Ux Ex2L i4126/2057Y 105k / 7Y 105kR599,000

N.B.: Comparitive chart not according to vehicle specifications.

More facts: Our best 0-100 time was 11.3 seconds at sea level (with a fresh tail-wind) and 400m flew by in 17.85 seconds at 127.25km/h. A single emergency stop from 100km/h was absolved in 2.76 seconds and 38.78 metres. All these values are impressive considering the car’s size, weight (1,230kg) and fairly unknown Nexen 215/55R17 tyres.

There’s another model available but our Executive-spec test car arrived with metallic maroon paintwork, cool alloys, a funky interior with Kia-esque touchscreen media system, ferocious (manual) air-con, multiple cup holders and charging ports, red seatbelts and contrast stitching on its half-leather-half-cloth seats.

Where we went: The highways and byways of our hillside home where every driver quickly noted that the teeny-weeny little engine doesn’t have any low-down torque. Duh. It does have serious mid-range punch and with six ratios in its gearbox, you just need to stir the gear lever a bit more to keep the Kona zipping along nicely.

Watch out for: Besides overtaking at high speed or conquering steep hills, the maker’s quoted average fuel use of 6.8L/100km will only be possible if you coast along a quiet highway at 90km/h all day. If, like us, you live in an undulating landscape with countless speed bumps and intersections, you will need to add a few litres to that figure.

Why you’ll want one: Its current novelty factor and the cool design – inside and out – should be this cross-dresser compact SUV’s strong points but it loses out in terms of space, power, fuel consumption and value-for-money to most of its rivals and its dowdier sister, the Hyundai Creta. There’s an excellent warranty and a small service plan, too.


Engine:                        1L i-3 turbo-petrol

Transmission:          6-speed Manual, FWD

Max. Power:              88kW

Max. Torque:             172Nm

Avg cons.:                   Approx. 8.5L/100km (claimed 6.8)

0-100km/h:              11.30 seconds (claimed 12.0)

Top Speed:                 (claimed 181km/h)

List Price:                   R379,900

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