First Drive: Hyundai Kona 1.6 CRDi diesel

By / 1 year ago / Road Tests / No Comments

Can diesel be the pick of the bunch for Hyundai’s fun Kona? By Jonathan Musk

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SECTOR Compact SUV  PRICE €21,000-€30,000  FUEL 4.3-4.9l/100km  CO2 111-127g/km

With more than 1.6m SUVs sold since 2001, Hyundai knows the importance of offering customers an appealing range of cars. And, with the new Kona joining the refreshed Santa Fe and Tucson, it has a coherent line-up for a booming part of the market.

All that was missing was a few more powertrain options, particularly for the Kona which had only been available with 1.0-litre and 1.6-litre petrols. That gap is now filled, with a 1.6-litre turbodiesel available with two power options; 115hp with a six-speed manual, and 136hp with a seven-speed DCT auto and the option to add four-wheel drive. Both feature a diesel particulate filter, lean NOx trap and AdBlue injection, and CO2 emissions start from 111g/km.

Diesel power makes the Kona immediately more comfortable to drive than the 1.0-litre petrol turbo. Its low-rev torque is more forgiving, and that flexibility shines when it’s confronted with corners or hills. Even the lower-powered version – not the punchiest engine with 115bhp – offers plenty of usable performance, available up to highway speeds.

Hyundai is uncertain at launch whether customers will spec up to the 136hp engine, which carries only a small price uplift and 3g/km CO2 penalty. Our pick would be the six speed manual, which is both fun and relaxing to drive, while returning respectable on-road fuel economy. However, real-world benefits are limited compared to the 1.0-litre petrol, and it’s worth noting Hyundai is predicting a few months’ wait before production starts, due to high demand for these engines in other models, proving there’s still a role for diesel.

IFW Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.