Hyundai Kona Hybrid engines, drive & performance
The Hyundai Kona Hybrid is efficient, but it feels as slow as the on-paper performance figures suggest and isn't exactly thrilling to drive, either
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The Hyundai Kona Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine assisted by an electric motor. Together, they produce 139bhp, and while this seems like plenty on paper, in reality the Kona Hybrid is quite slow. In fact, this 1.6-litre hybrid model is essentially no quicker than the 1.0-litre mild hybrid version, as it's also a bit heavier than the less powerful ca.
Hyundai Kona Hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
Depending on which trim level you go for, the Kona Hybrid will do 0-62mph in between 11.0 and 11.3 seconds (the Premium and Ultimate are marginally slower than the SE Connect due to their larger, 18-inch wheels). This is about the same as rivals like the Kia Niro and Toyota C-HR, while more expensive alternatives such as the Lexus NX 300h and Honda CR-V Hybrid are noticeably faster.
The Kona Hybrid is at its best when you’re not in a hurry: ask for maximum acceleration and the six-speed automatic gearbox will – after a slight pause – kick down a couple of ratios to get you up to speed. This causes the engine to rev loudly and coarsely, and it sounds like the engine is having to work very hard for the little acceleration it can provide
Fortunately, once you’re up to speed, the Kona Hybrid is very quiet; this is true on the motorway, on slower rural roads and when you’re crawling along in traffic. The electric running provided by the motor integrates seamlessly with the petrol engine, meaning you hardly ever notice the car switching between the two. The Kona Hybrid even boasts a clever system that'll analyse the route in your sat nav, allowing it to use the battery at the most efficient times. There’s no ‘EV mode’ however, so how and when the electric power is used is entirely down to the car.
Handling is one of the Kona Hybrid’s biggest shortfalls. It leans quite a bit when you turn into a corner, and while the steering wheel is very light, it doesn’t feel very precise, and ultimately the Kona isn’t much fun to drive. The 2021 facelift brought some suspension improvements that boosted ride quality, although the car is still susceptible to the odd sharp jolt coming through the cabin.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Hyundai Kona Hybrid is a stylish-looking small hybrid SUV, but it's not the most practical car of its size and isn't a big improvement over the mild-hybrid version
- 2MPG & CO2 emissionsFuel economy from the Hyundai Kona Hybrid is good, but it's not quite the class leader in this respect
- 3Running costsAs one of the most economical hybrid SUVs on sale, the Hyundai Kona Hybrid should make your money go further – especially if you're a company-car driver
- 4Engines, drive & performance - currently readingThe Hyundai Kona Hybrid is efficient, but it feels as slow as the on-paper performance figures suggest and isn't exactly thrilling to drive, either
- 5Interior & comfortThe interior of the Hyundai Kona Hybrid looks good for a car of this price. It's also comfortable and packs some impressive in-car technology
- 6Practicality & boot spacePracticality is adequate in the Hyundai Kona Hybrid, although some rivals offer more boot space
- 7Reliability & safetyThe Hyundai Kona gets a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test score, but it’s a shame that so many of the driver aids are optional