This is the Hyundai Kona. It is based on the i20; it gets a nice and peppy engine; and it isn't coming to India. At least not in the form you see here, which, by the way, we went...
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Hyundai Kona Preview
This is the Hyundai Kona. It is based on the i20; it gets a nice and peppy engine; and it isn't coming to India. At least not in the form you see here, which, by the way, we went all the way to Turkey to drive. Hyundai will launch the Kona in India but as an electric. And when it does, it will cost as much as a Tuscon making it quite expensive indeed.
At least not in the form you see here, which, by the way, we went all the way to Turkey to drive. Hyundai will launch the Kona in India but as an electric. And when it does, it will cost as much as a Tuscon making it quite expensive indeed.
But, the Kona has a strong USP; a unique selling point that makes it desirable. Its quirky design.
Much like the Nissan Juke, visually the Kona too is a love-me-or-hate-me thing. It might not be as extreme as the Juke, but the ideology is similar. Its primary objective is to be polarising enough to attract the millennials. And, polarising, the Kona most definitely is.
It has menacing Genghis Khan eyes for headlamps, which have a completely different design philosophy from the three-layered front grille. The three-part grille includes a slim one on top, a gaping chrome one in the centre, and a completely unnecessary one right at the bottom of the bumper. And the three don't gel either.
Then, there are two sets of fog lamps. And, again, these seem to have come from two completely different cars. The ones on top are surrounded by the heavy cladding and seem to have come off some military truck. The ones at the bottom meanwhile, are simple, unassuming and functional; like a simple workman's tool if you will.
But, somehow, this kaleidoscope of different design elements actually comes together to produce quite an attractive car. And I say car here and not SUV because even though the Kona is marketed as the latter, it's still just a beefier hatchback.
Inside, things are more regular. It has red accents all over, and red seat belts. But, otherwise, the steering, the clocks, the climate control system, the touchscreen multimedia display, and all your door trims, central console design, and even the aircon vents and door handles are typically Hyundai. Clearly, the young-and-happening posturing is an exterior-only thing.
Like we mentioned earlier, the Kona is based on the i20. So, there's just about enough space for four occupants inside. The shoulder and kneeroom is similar but the headroom seems to be a tad more than the hatchback. Compared to the Creta, however, the Kona definitely feels a size smaller.
And the smaller dimensions together with a sporty suspension setup and a 177bhp petrol motor make for a fun to drive car.
The Kona feels light on its feet. It has quick turn-in. It loves to be hustled from corner to corner. And unless you encounter a downhill hairpin bend as tight as Uncle Scrooge's purse strings, understeer is an absolute non-issue.
The Kona's steering is light but quick. It's also anything but mute. And though the sporty suspension makes for a jarring, noisy and uncomfortable ride, it does lend the Kona thoroughly enjoyable driving dynamics.
But then, what's a good handling car without the right firepower under its hood? That aspect is covered by the direct injection, 1.6-litre, petrol engine mated to a dual clutch automatic. The engine isn't just free-revving and nice sounding, it packs in a big punch too. The 177 horses have it scooting out of corners with the enthusiasm of an excited cheerleader. And three digit speeds come up before you can count to eight. Moreover, when you take things easy, the engine still has enough grunt to make quick overtakes, even with the tachometer hovering under the 2000rpm mark.
Did we mention the Kona isn't coming to India? Well, not in the form we just talked about. And that's because the Kona is to Europe what the Creta is to India. And we'd much rather have the Creta because even though it might not be as exciting to drive or look at as the Kona, it is more spacious, more comfortable and more palatable.
But, for those of you in India who MUST have the Kona - given of course you are pretty well to do - there will be the brighter, quieter, and electric version on sale next year. And it too promises to be fun to drive car.
Click here for our first drive review of the Hyundai Tucson Facelift
Hyundai Kona Expert Reviews
Hyundai Kona in News
The Korean carmaker will be launching the Kona in India this year with plans to bring the electric version in limited numbers to our shores.
India, being one of the prime markets for Hyundai, there is a fair chance of a few from the electric line-up making it into the country.
Hyundai has said that it will bring the Kona EV to the country in 2019 and will initially only offer 1000 units for the Indian market.