Sprint Review: Hyundai Kona 2.0 Executive

The lines are blurring. Not only do we have niches and sub-niches to fill every imaginable automotive market gap, sometime the technology becomes borderline indistinguishable. Exhibit A: this updated Hyundai Kona with a… uhh… an… umm, engine of sorts… 

You should know: Three experts. That’s how many of us it took to figure out which model of Hyundai’s extremely stylish compact SUV we were piloting; without opening the bonnet. A look under its sculpted front body panel confirmed our suspicions: you are now looking at a white 2021 Kona 2.0 Executive.

More info: It should’ve been very easy to tell the difference between this and the 1.6 turbo-charged model because that has a DCT (automated dual clutch transmission) and this 2.0 Executive relies on the dreaded one-gear CVT (continually variable transmission). Except that this CVT, like a few others these days, now simulates gear changes.

And it does them really well.

What else? Unless you haven’t realised it yet, that is a double bonus. For starters, it means that a peppy old 2-litre can make three motoring journos wonder if it’s a 1.6 turbo mill. And secondly, when a CVT becomes so apt at simulating ratios which it doesn’t have, I vote we all stop hurling abuse at the poor things!  

Why you shouldn’t: Like any car in southern Africa, a brand-new Hyundai Kona is expensive. Like, 500k expensive. Fuel efficiency is ok-ish with a claimed average use of 7.5L/100km from the 50L tank but – in the real world – this nippy car tempted our right feet too often for us to even get close to that figure.

Why you should: Performance is great, and so are the brakes. Ride and handling are on the sporty (read: firm) side and you even get some pre-set drive modes to play with. Passenger and cargo room is also commendable while everyone agreed that this newest Kona cuts an interesting and unique figure.

The cabin layout is a tad understated when compared to the alien exterior, yet all surfaces and switchgear appear qualitative and durable. In true Hyundai fashion, this vehicle outshines most competitors when it comes to standard features, while going to the full checkmate with its warranty and service plan.


Engine:2L i-4 petrol
Transmission:0-speed CVT, FWD
Max. Power:110kW
Max. Torque:180Nm
Avg. cons.:(claimed 6.5L/100km)
0-100km/h:9.15 seconds (claimed 9.7)
Top Speed:Claimed 195km/h
List Price:R459,995

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