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Elitism – Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review

According to the Cambridge dictionary, ‘elitism – is the belief that some things are only for a few people who have special qualities or abilities’. Well it would appear that Hyundai begs to differ, as proven with the addition of the Kona 2L Elite that’s priced for the masses.

Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review NZ

My last interaction with Hyundai’s new Kona was at the start of the year, where I took the 1.6T N-Line model for a jaunt. Its perkiness and sporty look was impressive but despite its ‘top of the range’ power, there was a little turbo lag and maybe, just maybe, my age dictates more subtle refinement. Introducing the Kona 2L Elite.

New Hyundai Kona review NZ

I won’t’ bore you with the core ‘space-age’ look, or dimensions information, as you can get that from my other reviews, but suffice to say that although it shares the 1.6T’s light bars, projector LED headlights, LED tail lights and giant Z shape design on its profile, the more sedate colouring (ie less red), and more subtle roofline spoiler made this family-orientated SUV inclusion into suburbia a lot less jolting.

Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review NZ

My review model came in ‘ecotronic grey’ with contrasting deep black accents, of course I have no idea what ‘ecotronic’ means, but it shows off the Kona’s curves well, so as they say ‘job’s a good un’. The 18-inch alloys are of particular note, not only are they polished and bling-worthy but also come with a 55 profile, so plenty of road-absorbing rubber.

Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review NZ

The interior is less sporty-red too, substituted with a range of grey, black and chrome, while the steering wheel and seats come in a mix of genuine leather and leather substitute, the latter giving both driver and passenger electric adjustability and heat.

Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review NZ

As expected with an elite model, the tech is top of the line with a 12.3-inch touchscreen with all the bells and whistles and a Bose 8 speaker premium audio system including subwoofer, while the driver gets to gaze upon another 12.3-inch colour full TFT display – both have essentially all the information you need and then some.

Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review NZ

As with all new Kona’s the wheelbase is bigger than before, meaning that everyone, front and rear, has more room to breathe, but there’s also more space for ‘stuff’. Big door bins, big glove box, space for your phone, I think you get the point, it’s family-friendly.  And to add to the sensation of space, Hyundai has removed the gear stick and handbrake from the centre console, with the former being relocated to the steering column.

Push button start and a twist forward on the column stick to Drive and I was off. Under the bonnet is a 2L 16 valve twin overhead cam with CVVT (Continuously Variable Valve Timing) that’s as smooth as they come. It’s mated to an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT), and together they provide 110kW of power and 180Nm of torque to the front wheels. Yes, I’m sure these figures don’t exactly excite, but as I mentioned before, the power is delivered with far less wait and seems to just build from there. 

Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review NZ

Hyundai claim that this Elite Kona comes with 7.3L/100km fuel-efficiency and 166g/km emissions and although I wasn’t keen to sniff its exhaust, I can confirm that having travelled 338km in the driver’s seat, my Kona’s consumption was sitting at a respectable 8.1L/100km. Not bad considering I had the family on board most of the time, and let’s just say I wasn’t frugal with the AC or my right foot.

Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review NZ

As with the whole range of Kona’s, safety seems to be right up there and of course it comes with a plethora of acronyms and aids, actually you may need an acronym aid to help, but that also means that it comes with an annoying amount of ‘behaviour-correcting’ chimes – they can be (ahem) minimised, but this needs to be done for every new trip.

Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review NZ

As for the trips themselves, my 338km had me up and down SH1 (using the smart cruise system), grocery shopping and running errands – boy my life is dull – but I have to say that despite not being as rapid as the 1.6T, I was far more relaxed and still got to where I needed to in time. Plus the suspension and rubber combination was noticeably smoother too.

Hyundai Kona 2L Elite review NZ

From powertrain to spec levels, I believe there are eight models in the current new Kona line-up here in NZ, and that’s before you start looking at the ten colour options and accessories, so that means that there’s plenty of choice for all. The 2L Elite sits near the top of the tree and although it’s not the fastest or the most frugal, to me it’s a compromise without compromising – if you know what I mean.

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