Little Hulk (Hyundai Kona T-GDi DCT 4WD)

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Hello Cactus
Wait, no. The Kona is fashionably late to the crossover market, with chunky triple level front lights arrangement, although the more aggressive rear end differentiates itself from the Cactus. They’re technically the same kind of crossover, but this Kona, with 1.6 litres of forced induction power and four wheel drive, is more of a soft-roader than a buff hatchback.

Hyundai means sensibility right?
Once you have finished glossing over the exterior, the interior is fairly conventional, just like Hyundai’s other offerings like the Accent. There are plenty of buttons to push and turn, and yes – a big button for slope descent control.

The Kona is pretty smart too with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitors, and even a rear traffic alert system if you like to nosedive into parking lots. A feature which we found ourselves struggling with, is the lane keep assist – its effectiveness depends on how well painted the road markings are, and sometimes it will fight you when you are in merging lanes.

The cabin has little extra features such as a wireless phone charging pad and a touchy screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay (the Android Auto option is there but for some reason, we couldn’t get it to work with our pure Android phone).

Driving
To drive, the Kona feels pretty good with much refinement and a light steering feel. The turbo 1.6 litre plant has a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and an on-demand 4WD system – which sends power to the rear wheels once it detects the front is slipping. It’s not so bad, but rolling starts do feel slightly sluggish.

The tall body inevitably leans more through faster corners, but not alarmingly overboard. It’s pretty agile, but the the firm suspension does mean it gets a little bumpy on patchy roads that have been dug up over 10 times a year by different government agencies. The brakes are the weakest spot here. On several occasions, we do find ourselves wishing that this 1.4 ton green hulk could slow down faster.

At least its practical then?
Yes, there is space for five – and some space for luggage. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat arrangement allows for extra boot space and the seats lie almost flat. Not that you would be keeping much in the boot, as it, for some reason, lacks a basic boot cover. No, you can’t grab one from another Hyundai either, our test unit doesn’t have the mounting points for said cover.

Yes, No, Maybe?
In some ways, we think it’s the Samsung Galaxy S9 of the car world. Very good, nothing ground shaking, some quirks. If you don’t like the way it looks, there are plenty of little SUVs such as the Qashqai and Vitara. If size is no object, you can have Hyundai’s bigger Tucson for Kona money. You must really love the Kona to get one.

Hyundai Kona 1.6 T-GDi DCT 4WD
Engine: 1,591cc, 16V, turbocharged inline-4
Power: 177hp / 5,500rpm
Torque: 265Nm / 1,500-4,500rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
0-100km/h: 7.9s
Top Speed: 205km/h
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
VES Band: C2 Surcharge
Price: S$123,999
Availability: Now (http://www.hyundaimotors.com.sg)

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Always finding ways to keep his hands full, Krado loves to tinker with his car whenever he has the free time. Usually ends in tears or a multiple fluid facial.

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