The new Hyundai Kona Hybrid
The new Hyundai Kona Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes!

Caroline drives the new Hyundai Kona Hybrid.

Hyundai hit the jackpot when they launched the new Kona back in 2017. Riding on a wave of success with the popular Tucson family SUV, the Korean brand took a grip on the compact crossover class with the Kona and hasn’t let go since. It’s slipped quietly into a top 5 position as one of Ireland’s bestselling cars and trounced all upon the competition.

So what’s so special about the Hyundai Kona?

The Hyundai Kona offers buyers an on-trend compact car with rugged crossover-inspired styling and stance. But aside from aesthetics, it also offers buyers impressive choice. In what is still unusual for the compact crossover class, the Kona is now available in Ireland as a hybrid, electric vehicle or with a simple combustion engine (petrol or diesel).

The Hyundai Kona Electric has been a favourite at Changing Lanes since we drove it in 2019. We were impressed with how well the electric powertrain blended with the charismatic crossover and a range in excess of 400 km made range anxiety a thing of the past.

Now in 2020 the Hyundai Kona Hybrid comes to market with a 1.6-litre petrol electric powertrain that means emissions are rated at just 101 g/km. Fuel consumption is quoted by the manufacturer as 5.0 l/100km under WLTP. With the Kona Hybrid, buyers who require a traditional fuel powered car can now reconcile their conscious with a more fuel efficient hybrid.

The new Kona Hybrid goes on sale from €29,050, using a 6-speed automatic gearbox to deliver power to the front wheels. For reference, the Hyundai Kona 1.0-litre petrol manual goes on sale from €21,400, while the diesel range starts from €23,400. At the top of the range, the Hyundai Kona Electric retails from €39,300 including grants and VRT relief.

The Kona Hybrid is cheap to run with lower emissions
The Kona Hybrid is cheap to run with lower emissions

What’s new for the 2020 Hyundai Kona Hybrid?

Hybrids are all the rage at the moment. The Kona Hybrid packs this technology into an already successful compact. On the outside a discreet hybrid logo at the rear and new 18″ alloy wheels differentiate it from the rest of the combustion engined Kona range. Yet the Kona’s rugged good looks are retained, along with distinct front end lighting, robust plastic cladding around the sills, bumpers and wheel arches, and two tone colour combinations.

The Kona Hybrid still rides a little bit higher than a standard hatchback, but drives pretty much like the latter – part of its appeal. It’s also a practical vehicle, though being compact by dimensions means that legroom can get tight in the back for taller passengers. Boot space hasn’t been impacted and it remains akin to any family hatchback with 361 litres and a flat loading sill.

The interior of the 2020 Hyundai Kona Hybrid
The interior of the 2020 Hyundai Kona Hybrid

Inside the Kona Hybrid

The Hyundai Kona Hybrid has an identical interior to the rest of the Kona combustion engine range. Everything is simple and logically laid out, with a few additional interfaces to relay information to the driver about the hybrid system and power flow between engine, battery and electric motor.

Hard plastics do feature a lot, though the Hybrid does get its own dedicated interior colour pack to add interest to what is otherwise a relatively subdued affair. There are white accents around the air vent surrounds and gear shift bezel, as well as glossy black accents on the door handles and steering wheel.

There is a good level of standard equipment: 7″ touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated front seats, climate control, electronic parking brake, cruise control, rear view camera and wireless phone charger.

Kona Hybrid on sale in Ireland priced from €29,050
Kona Hybrid on sale in Ireland priced from €29,050

Driving it

On the road the Kona takes off in near silence, benefiting from that electrical assistance from the hybrid powertrain. The dual clutch automatic gearbox makes driving in town easy, while the Kona is naturally agile in that environment. It also performs well on larger roads despite its compact proportions, with decent levels of comfort and refinement.

The hybrid powertrain itself uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, 1.56 kWh battery and 32 kW motor to deliver a maximum hybrid system power of 141 hp and 265 Nm to the front wheels. The bias in the transmission is to efficiency so it would be foolish to expect exciting performance from this car. But buyers should be more interested in how they can save fuel using the Kona Hybrid and drive in an eco-friendly manner. In that regard the hybrid does deliver and with a patient right foot, we achieved average fuel consumption of 5.4 litres per 100 km. Motor tax for this model is currently just €190 per year.

Hyundai is a brand keen to try new things and embrace trends in the motor industry. In many ways, they are one of the driving forces behind innovation in the motor industry right now, offering alternative technologies to more people, while creating stylish, practical vehicles that sit comfortably among consumers.

At Changing Lanes, we adore the Kona Electric yet the nature of the technology and powerful 64 kWh battery means the price tag still puts it out of reach of buyers of small crossovers.

At the entry into the range, the 1.0-litre petrol Kona will satisfy the needs of many compact crossover buyers at very competitive pricing.

The Kona Hybrid offers cheaper running costs yet the price positioning opens the field to more competition from the family crossover/SUV segment that may see it overlooked for more spacious vehicles. Yet the Kona Hybrid is undeniably an efficient vehicle using the latest hybrid technology, and we look forward to seeing it evolve into 2021.

Once of the few hybrid compact crossovers on the market, the Kona is a stylish and fuel efficient way to travel
Once of the few hybrid compact crossovers on the market, the Kona is a stylish and fuel efficient way to travel

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Hyundai Kona Hybrid with 2 tone roof
Price: 
€29,650
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 
141 hp
Torque: 265 Nm
0-100km/h:  
11.6 seconds
Top speed: 160 km/h
Fuel economy (WLTP): 5.0 l/100km
CO2 emissions: 101 g/km
Motor Tax:  €190 per year