The Hyundai Kona is the "coupe/ suv" in the local range. This is the model that puts form above function, ie: it's all about the looks and the style, even if the rear seat is slightly compromised.

The Kona was initially launched about 3 years ago and was updated during 2021. The basic form remained unchanged with a bit of sharpening around the front. The big changes involved updating the interior, adding more spec and on the engine front.

The original range offered the 1L 3 cylinder turbo with manual gearbox only and a 2L naturally aspirated with automatic transmission only. The update dropped the smaller engine and added the 1.6 turbo option as the top version and automatic transmission only.

Our test car was the "entry" model 2L with Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT), Hyundai's version of a CVT automatic driving the front wheels. Taking into account that this is not intended as a performance version, the IVT does a superb job in all conditions. 110kW and 180Nm is no slouch and the transmission offers the option of Eco, Sport and Smart modes.

The Kona range is limited to 3 models with the Executive trim level of the test car meaning it is very well equipped as standard. Touchscreen infotainment, Connectivity which includes wireless Android Auto and inductive charging pad make life extremely easy. Leather trim, auto air-conditioning and reverse camera are all present.

As mentioned in the beginning, the coupe body styling translates to limited headroom in the rear seat and a smaller boot than on a "normal" SUV. The flat load area with no loading lip is a major plus point for loading heavy goods into the rear.

On the road, the Kona is smooth and comfortable with plenty in reserve for cruising and overtaking at freeway speeds. Fuel economy of 6.8l/100km for the test period is good and was achieved without any special effort. Hyundai quote consumption as 6.5 so this is an accurate measure.

Priced at R464 500 as tested, the 1.6 turbo with 146kW and 7 speed DCT transmission is available for an extra R40 000 if you feel the need. A 5 year /90 000 km service plan and 7 year/ 200 000km warranty are part of the package.

Alan Rosenmeyer: