Sprint Review: Hyundai Kona 1.0T Executive

When Hyundai S.A. gave us another turn in their Kona 1.0T Executive, we threw the keys at our lady journo and she came back with this report…

Do you like the Kona’s looks / design? I love the look – I’ve always appreciated a compact SUV style and the Kona design is funky and current. I think that the Kona can hold its own against rivals like the Volvo XC40 and Audi Q2 really well.

What about its space and versatility? Despite its size, I found the Kona to be spacious enough both in the front and back in terms of seating and leg room. Boot space is a tad limited if you’re thinking of accommodating anything more than a handful of bags. I can’t recommend it for mommies with more bulky stuff like prams, nappy bags and other crazy paraphernalia.

Is it comfortable and easy to drive? The Kona is very comfortable with light, responsive steering. The tiny 1L engine delivers adequate power, although one naturally expects and gets a bit of turbo lag when trying to pull away quickly on hills.

I LOVE the gearbox…

Quick opinion on the engine and gearbox? Engine is perfectly suited to city commutes and daily errands. On the open road and highway, the car is comfortable and despite its tiny engine, it handles speed and overtaking with ease provided you gear down accordingly. I LOVE the gearbox – we tested a manual and I thoroughly enjoyed the gearing and have absolutely no complaints in that department.

Would you buy one? I would definitely consider getting a Kona as a viable option. I have a small family (although I’d probably wait till I don’t need a pram) and it’s perfect for a multi-faceted role as compact family SUV, fun holiday roadtrip car, smart enough for impressing clients of an adventure company business, versatile enough to handle the transition between tar and gravel with aplomb and all in all a really good all-rounder.

And it’s reasonably economical on fuel (driver dependent) and certainly cheaper to run than what I currently drive!


  • 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: R384,900

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