Hyundai Kona 2.0 TGDi N 5dr DCT
Let’s start with the mild hybrid Kona – although perhaps we should start referring to it as the enthusiast’s Kona given the three-cylinder, manual-only combo. Great work, Hyundai.
The turbo’d 1.0-litre is an eager engine – although 0-62mph does take 11.9 seconds – but it remains impressively refined even at motorway speeds. It’s economical too. With the mild hybrid system helping in stop/start traffic and cutting the engine to coast, the Kona claims 46.3mpg. We managed close to 40mpg with a mix of town, country and motorway driving.
Hyundai’s manual gearbox is also pretty sweet to use, despite the fact that there’s actually no physical connection between clutch and clutch pedal. It’s electronic, to aid with the aforementioned cutting and restarting of the combustion engine by the mild hybrid system’s starter motor. Impressive.
The Kona Hybrid has slightly more power and accelerates slightly quicker thanks to its electric assist, but it’s far less engaging to drive (for some buyers that could well be a positive). The gearbox is a smooth enough six-speed DCT unit and the switch between petrol and electric drive is seamless. Don’t expect much EV-only range though, the battery is only a 1.56kWh lithium polymer unit and would barely get you to the end of the road on its own. However, it does mean there’s always electric assist for acceleration (thanks in part to regenerative braking) and the hybrid can claim 55.4mpg and 115g/km of CO2.
All Konas get light but direct steering and a reasonably firm suspension setup. Luckily the ride doesn’t ever get too crashy (Hyundai claims it's actually smoother than before), but even the manual mild-hybrid will never be as fun to drive as a Ford Puma. If you’ve got your heart set on the funky-looking Hyundai, though, and don’t want to go all-electric just yet, then the standard Kona should be your pick of the two.
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