Johannesburg - The Kona, launched in South Africa this week, gives Hyundai customers another compact crossover choice. But why sell this and the Creta, you might ask?

The Creta, sourced from India, is big on practicality but it has never pretended to be a trend-setter among crossovers. The Kona, on the other hand, is a funkier vehicle aimed at more affluent parts of the world such as Europe and the US. Hence it is more expensive, with prices starting at R379 900 versus R346 900 in the Creta’s case. But the Kona's more daring design won't float everyone's boat.

In outright size terms the Kona is shorter but wider than the Creta, with a similar footprint to the Suzuki Vitara, and the newcomer also has a lower ground clearance than most SUVs, at 170mm, underlining its positioning as more of an urban crossover than a weekend wilderness warrior.

It’s 361 litre boot is smaller than Creta’s 402 litre luggage compartment.

Turbo power

However, if you were waiting for that much needed spark of modernity beneath a compact Hyundai's bonnet, the Kona answers your prayers by being the first local Hyundai model to offer the company’s 1-litre direct injection three-cylinder turbopetrol engine.

In this guise the turbo triple produces 88kW and 172Nm, enabling a (claimed) 0-100km/h time of 12.0 seconds and top speed of 181km/h.

The 1-litre can only be mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, however. If you want an auto then your only other option is the 2-litre normally aspirated Kona derivative, which costs R20 000 more at R399 900. This one produces 110kW and 180Nm, gets to 100 in 10 seconds and reaches 194km/h, according to Hyundai, at the coast at least. The 1-litre will likely offer the better deal to Highveld customers.

True to Hyundai character, the standard features list is quite comprehensive and includes a 17.8cm touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay connectivity and a reverse camera. Also standard is cruise control, auto headlights, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert as well as front, side and curtain airbags and ESC stability control.

The seats are upholstered in a combination of synthetic leather and cloth, with colour stitching.

A five-year/90 000km service plan is included along with a five-year/150 000km warranty.

PRICES

1.0 TGDI Executive, 6-spd manual R379 900
2.0 MPI Executive, 6-spd automatic R399 900

IOL Motoring