It’s fair to say What Car? is looking more like What Small SUV? of late. The British public can't get enough of them and car manufacturers are only too happy to jack up the traditional hatchback in search of sales. Indeed, you’ll be hard pressed to find a manufacturer that doesn’t offer a dinky car with a high driving position.
The Hyundai Kona fits that brief perfectly. Although it doesn’t look like one, it’s best to think of it as a raised version of the i20 family hatchback. That makes it very much a small SUV and a rival to models such as the Kia Stonic, Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Cross.
The cheapest version is powered by a 118bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine and has a six-speed manual gearbox, but there's also a 175bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol with a seven-speed auto ’box and four-wheel drive – something of a rarity in an SUV of this size.
In terms of diesel, a 1.6-litre unit is available with 113bhp or 134bhp, the latter with an automatic gearbox. Alternatively, there’s an electric version that’s imaginatively called the Kona Electric, which we’ve reviewed separately.
Unlike the T-Cross and Renault Captur, the rear seats don’t do anything clever like slide for and aft or recline. Instead, there’s a conventional fixed bench with a traditional 60/40 split. There’s seating for five, and you can add loads of technology, such as a head up display and a heated steering wheel, that you might expect to see in larger, more expensive cars.
So has Hyundai done enough with the Kona to lead the small SUV charge? And which engine and trim makes the most sense? Read our full review to find out.
Be sure to check out our New Car Buying pages if you decide to buy a Kona – you may be surprised by how much you can save.