As if there aren’t many choices in the compact SUV segment, the recently-launched Hyundai Kona is here to make choosing one difficult. To make things harder, the Kona is priced to compete with three variant levels with prices set at RM123,888 (2.0 Standard), RM138,888 (2.0 Active) and RM151,888 (1.6 Turbo). The prices are with all taxes applied. So for this year, the Kona cheaper by about RM8,000.
The money nabs you an SUV with tries to appeal to you with its meshed-up cascading grille, flared fenders and a sporty rear-end. That said, the highlights of the fascia have to be the barely-there LED headlights and DRLs. Just as slim as the front, the taillights also bring character to the rear.
Behind the doors is what Hyundai claims to be a spacious interior even with its low roofline. Contrasting colours of the seat belt and interior trims bring youthfulness to the cabin. The contrast colours you get depends on the exterior paint. So, Grey coloured interior trims and black seatbelts are matched with the Lake Silver, Phantom Black, Blue Lagoon and Ceramic Blue exteriors. Meanwhile, Red seatbelts and Red interior trims are paired with the Phantom Black and Pulse Red exteriors. Alternatively, Lime seatbelts and Lime interior trims are paired with Chalk White.
A floating seven-inch touchscreen, which displays the navigation, allows control of the media system that is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay ready. Another screen to highlight is the eight-inch HUD that you can store it back into the dashboard with a button on the steering wheel. Wireless charging is also available in the Kona.
The amount and type of active safety technology you get are dependent on the variant. Starting with the 2.0 Active variant, you’ll only get Blind-Spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning systems. The 1.6 Turbo variants add Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist and Driver Attention Warning to the list.
There are two engines to choose from as denoted by the variant. The 2.0 Standard and Active are powered by a 2.0-litre MPI engine that produces 149hp and 180Nm. The naturally-aspirated engine is mated to a six-speed automatic.
Sitting at the top is the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that generates 177hp and 265Nm. It boasts of peak torque delivery between 1,500rpm to 4,500rpm. The engine is mated to seven-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission, which Hyundai says can juggle more torque with a minimal power interruption.
Just when you think it is safe to commit your signature for a compact SUV, the Hyundai Kona muddies the water with its distinct design and features. It should appeal to those who want a vehicle that would standard out among the stalwarts.