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Car Reviews / 12-26-18

2019 Hyundai Kona 2.0 GLS

The standout with promise


By Kevin C. Limjoco Photo by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

 

Riding on an all-new platform, the award-winning Hyundai Kona could easily be a winning product for our market if only we get the correct balance of standard equipment. The Kona is about a foot shorter than the Tucson, yet it feels closer in volumetric proportions. I think it looks great on the outside, it is fun and looks like nothing else on the road. Thankfully the front-wheel driven 2.0-liter engine coupled to a smooth 6-speed automatic also performs very well to support the charismatic appearance. But it is precisely because the Hyundai Kona could be a real superstar in our market that frustrates me. Its not the way it looks and not the way it performs as it is actually quite an overachiever in the dynamic department despite having a somber engine. Heck as it is, it matches the acceleration of my old 5-speed manual Alfa Romeo 155 2.0 Twin Spark Super up to 170 km/h!

It all comes down to packaging. My frustration hits squarely on that. Hyundai is famously world-renowned for high-value products which makes them so successful. So instead of informing you all on what the Kona comes equipped with, sadly I have to use the time to enumerate what it does not have for our market at the moment. Which is really a kick in the stones because in other markets, they get to enjoy all the cool gadgets and usable features that the Kona has in abundance.

The cabin is supposed to have the same award-winning design to compliment the exterior but somehow we got the model that deliberately does not have the color-coordinated trim with exposed plastics, neither the 7-inch or 8-inch infotainment systems (we actually get no rear parking sensors nor a rear camera since the tiny floating screen only displays Mono-LCD text), so obviously no navigation, no head-up display, a 6-speaker audio system that sounds hallower than usual, no wireless device charging, no rain-sensing wipers, no forward-collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, no lane-keeping assist, and no Blue Link connected-car system either because of the exceedingly limited central floating control screen.  It does have Bluetooth, multiple airbags, a tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Smart key with ignition, power mirrors, halogen headlights, LED signature DRL, and cruise control.

The hard plastics thankfully are nicely grained with padded armrests. I don’t mind the manual climate control, and the Drive Modes do alter the behavior somewhat. The 17 x7J alloys are nice too, wrapped with 215/55R17 94V Nexen Nfera SU1 tires. The all-new 147 bhp / 132 lb.-ft Hyundai Kona is a fun crossover to drive despite its packaging short comings in order to get a reasonable retail price. But given what it actually has in our market however, the price should actually be much lower, then the compromises would be acceptable.

It has 4-wheel disc brakes and ABS but if you want an independent multi-link rear suspension instead of the standard torsion-beam then you would need to buy the AWD version which is not available here. I wish it used full LED instead of halogen for its low-beam projector headlights with matching rear LED like in other markets, and had a standard rear camera and sensors for parking. The Kona is still a stylish, versatile, and comfortable everyday compact crossover that would be even better when it is hopefully packaged in the near future with the EV solution which gives it an emission-free range of close to 415 kilometers on a single full charge. Or conversely packaged with the still potent version of the 1.6-liter GDI turbo from the Veloster with 175 bhp / 195 lb.-ft of torque mated to the same 7-speed DCT transmission together with the 8-speaker Infinity® premium audio with Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology. As it is currently offered locally, the front-wheel driven normally aspirated 2.0-liter Kona mated to a 6-speed automatic will achieve 0-100 km/h in 9.2 seconds and will actually touch 200 km/h (125 mph) before it runs out of ideas, and it will do it all in a balanced and composed way too with the potential fuel range of 700 kilometers on a full tank of premium gasoline.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4
Displacement 1998 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16V
Fuel Injector Port Injection Atkinson-cycle, D-CVVT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 147 bhp @ 6200 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 132 lb ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed AT

Performance

Top Speed 200 km/h (125 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.2 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 27 mpg City & 33 mpg Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) Php 1,118,000.00
What's Great Avantgarde exterior styling, peppy engine, fuel efficient
What's Not So Entry-level trim, compromised equipment levels
C! Editors Rating 9/10