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Un-Kona-ventional: 2022 Hyundai Kona Hybrid Elite Series II Review

There are few people on this little island who are as well versed with Hyundai Kona range as I am. Having reviewed the Kona Elite, electric, N-Line and N variants, the hybrid presented a bridge between a few of those models. While hybrid badges on a Hyundai aren’t novel, they still aren’t that conventional as far as the car buying public is concerned but this is where the Kona comes in. Could this be the car to change all of that? There’s only one way to find out!

Side view of the 2022 Hyundai Kona Hybrid in bluish gray
Aggressive lines add flair to the Kona’s style

First up, the looks. From afar, not much has changed on the hybrid model. It still has that split headlight look at the front and contrast wheel arches around the side. Roof mounted rails are also shared with the other variants in the range. However, the eagle eyed ones among you will notice a few distinctions with the hybrid model. First of all, the ‘hybrid’ badge on the rear and second of all, the wheels which are unique to this higher spec Elite hybrid model!

Rear three quarter view of the 2022 Hyundai Kona Hybrid in bluish gray
Note the discreet hybrid badging

Apart from the aforementioned giveaways, this is still the same Kona we know and love. Having spent a lot of time in these cars, I can safely say that the range offers some of the best city cars around. Specifically for this period in the automotive world where SUVs are all the rage, the Kona provides that desirable elevated ride height without the bulky dimensions of a traditional SUV. A win-win really!

Interior view of the 2022 Hyundai Kona Hybrid
Kona Hybrid offers a comfortable and well-equipped interior

The story is much the same on the interior too where there’s a few luxury trimmings thrown in for good measure! Heated leather front seats headline the act along with two screens. The blue lighting that dots the cabin also offers a premium feeling when the sun sets. Soft touch materials are also used in all the important places making the interior a quietly comfortable place to be!

While the screens may be an older version than what we see in the pure petrol Hyundais, there’s no apparent downsides at all apart from a slightly slow to connect Bluetooth system. Once connected, the sound quality is good and helps to add some entertainment to a rather hushed drive. There’s not much noise from the engine or from the road which makes the cabin feel even more premium!

Instrument cluster view on the 2022 Hyundai Kona Hybrid
Digital gauge cluster offers a plethora of information

As you can see from the pictures above, the screens certainly share a plethora of information with the driver. An ever changing meter on the right informs you about your energy usage while the moving bar at the bottom points towards fuel efficiency. As is typical of hybrids, you can view the battery usage/discharge but the Kona offers this information on both the infotainment and gauge cluster screens!

All this and I haven’t even got to the safety tech yet! Kona hybrid comes with a suite of tech including Rear Cross-traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Reversing camera and more!

Overhead view of the front right wheel arch of the 2022 Hyundai Kona Hybrid in bluish gray
Hybrid specific wheels offer a sharp outlook

Right, the Kona hybrid puts the engine over the front wheels and the battery over the rear. What does that mean for you? Well, it translates to a well-balanced ride around corners and and soft ride on the straights. The biggest upside of the hybrid powertrain is obviously the fuel savings. How much exactly you may ask. Well, the picture above reads 5.3L/100km but I averaged 4.5L/100 on most of my drives. Extremely impressive even with the AC, stereo and seat heater turned on!

The 1.6L turbo petrol coupled with electric power puts out a respectable 104kW and 265Nm of torque. More than enough for city and open road driving.

Kona Hybrid badging on the 2022 Hyundai Kona Hybrid
Hybrid adds a new dimension of value to the Kona range

The Verdict

My week with the Kona hybrid left me both incredibly impressed but frustrated at the same time. Impressed for several reasons, namely the fuel efficiency, comfort and value on offer. Frustrated because I did over 500 kilometres and didn’t even use half a tank of fuel, a novel experience for me and my weighty right foot! If that hasn’t convinced you then I’m not sure what else to say because this truly is the car to put the Hyundai hybrid badge on the map!

2022 Hyundai Kona Hybrid Elite Series II: 4.5/5

Thanks for reading! For more Hyundai news and reviews, visit Tarmac Life.

Car courtesy of Hyundai Motors New Zealand, words and photos by Matthew D’Souza

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