Hyundai Kona Hybrid

Published date08 February 2023
Publication titleWest Coast Farming Times, The
A hybrid is a logical extension of the electrified Kona family. Since its 2017 launch the only electric model was a full electric, with the arrival of the hybrid, a plug-in hybrid would complete the job

The company's IONIQ compact hatch has been offered in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric form since it arrived here five years ago. It's always been a mystery to me why this technology couldn't be easily migrated over to the Kona from the IONIQ.

Only one well, but not lavishly appointed, version of the Kona Hybrid is offered for our market at $49,990. Even that makes it $6000 more than an entry level Kia Niro that it shares the same engine, gearbox and suspension hardware with.

Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre direct injection 77kW petrol engine that makes 147Nm torque. Partnered with a 32kW electric motor and a 1.56kWh lithium-ion battery pack, they collectively muster 104kw of power and 250Nm of torque. Weighing just 33kg, the battery pack has an advanced power relay - allowing the battery to regenerate electrical energy under deceleration.

The hybrid system allows small amounts of electric-only motoring in low speed town driving. As expected, it's the petrol and electric engines together that do most of the heavy lifting in day-to-day driving.

However, I was surprised at how far the test vehicle would run in electric mode in town driving, and an ability to drive in EV mode up modest hills, without the petrol motor lending a hand.

Although performance is less convincing on steeper up hill slogs with a full load of passenger and luggage aboard. Also climbing at the same time is engine noise, taking some of the shine of an otherwise efficient hybrid system. A likeable 7-speed automatic, delivers a more direct and response gear changing routine than most of the continuously variable transmissions found in many hybrids.

The more spacious cabin allows both the driver and passengers to relax and enjoy a host of nice touches such as heated front seats and two front USB ports one for those in the rear. Latest in-car connectivity and technology is expertly showcased with a 10-inch touchscreen multimedia system, with a split-screen function...

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