Hyundai has a very strong lineup of models in its Kona series – everything from conventional petrol-engined models all the way up to a full electric. This week’s road test review car is the Kona N-Line.

It’s a sporty looking vehicle, though without the impressive performance of its big brother the more expensive Kona N Performance.

The Kona is sold in a crowded class, with its major competitors being Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 Mitsubishi ASX and Toyota C-HR.

Kona is a cross between a hatchback and an SUV in its shape. The protection around the wheels arches adds to the SUV look. The body is stylish without going over the top.

We particularly like the interesting front shape with its high-level daytime running lights and the low-slung headlights.

The N-Line has a revised front bumper and there are side skirts. Dual exhaust tailpipes provide a tough look to drivers following you.

Ground clearance is 170mm which is higher than the typical on-road hatchback but falls well short of the 210mm in real four-wheel drives. That 170mm does add to the business-like appearance.

There’s an upmarket look inside the Kona. We really like the practical dashboard with its large dials and an easy to see 10.5-inch centre display set at the same level as the instruments so you spend minimum time looking away from the road to check it.

There’s rather too much black inside for our tastes, but to some extent that’s broken up by the red stitches on the sports seats and the steering wheel.

The N-Line has an eight-speaker Harman/Kardon premium sound system. We found the setup of the speakers is just right and it provides the sort of sound.

There are interfaces for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine produces 110kW of power and 180Nm of torque, the latter at a pretty high 4500 rpm. Most drivers will seldom go as high as 4500, however there’s reasonable punch below that number.

The automatic is a continuously variable transmission to maximise performance and minimise petrol consumption. As part of the mid-life makeover the CVT replaced the six-speed conventional auto previously used. Read our opinion of this auto in the Driving section of this road test review.

All Kona models have received five stars from ANCAP. It has six airbags, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist and lane-following assist.

Rear occupant alert is there in case you’ve forgotten there are kids in the back seats when you get out.

The CVT automatic has been designed by Hyundai engineers to give it a feeling of having preset ratios, it did jar a little but we soon ceased to notice what was happening under the bonnet.

You can sort of use it as a manual by changing ‘gears’ if you feel that way inclined. After trying this we simply left if to do its own thing.

There’s less room in rear seat of the Kona than we had expected, meaning I had to move my driving seat forward a couple of notches to provide knee room for anyone behind me.

The Koreans have a long history of tuning their cars to suit Australian roads and what we Aussie drivers like in the way of handling and comfort. Kona is obviously not a sports car but does hold on nicely during cornering and gives good feedback through the steering while and your backside.

It’s a bit noisy on gravel road and there’s some bump-thump on concrete road joins such as those on our road test section on the M1 motorway between Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Fuel consumption during our test period was in the 8 to 10 litres per hundred kilometres in town and suburban driving. It fell to five to six litres per hundred on country and motorway testing.

All Hyundais have a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and a lifetime capped-price-servicing plan.

The updated Hyundai Kona offers a lot of car for a pretty modest price. We feel this update is a worthwhile one and we reckon it should certainly be on your list of cars to be checked out.


2.0 Kona 2WD: $26,600
2.0 Active 2WD: $28,200
2.0 Elite 2WD: $31,600
2.0 Highlander 2WD: $38,000
1.6 Kona N Line AWD: $36,300
1.6 N Line Premium AWD: $42,400
EV Elite Standard Range: $54,500
EV Elite Extended Range: $60,500
EV Highlander Standard Range: $58,000
Extended Range: $64,000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Hyundai dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Hyundai Kona N Line 1.6-litre petrol five-door wagon)

Capacity: 1.591 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 146 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 265 Nm @ 1600 rpm
Fuel Type: 91RON petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 156 g/km

DRIVELINE: Seven-speed dual clutch automatic

Length: 4215 mm
Wheelbase: 2600 mm
Width: 1800 mm
Height: 1560 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1395 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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