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Hyundai Kona, the no-frills hybrid

 This Korean SUV joins the category of compacts with classic hybrid engines that consume less in urban areas.

In the European automotive market, competition is fierce in all segments.  From city cars to overpriced luxury SUVs, from internal combustion engines to electrics and hybrids, manufacturers are fighting mercilessly against each other.  However, there is still one area in which the proposals are not legion: that of compact SUVs with conventional hybrid engines, that is to say, not rechargeable.  A (fairly) virtuous and (relatively) accessible alternative which reduces consumption in urban areas and ensures a soothing low-speed driving silence.

 Mixing a “simple” hybrid motorization and a compact SUV (tall on legs but of a contained length to evolve serenely in the city) appears to be an attractive solution.  However, until recently, there were only two models on the market: the comfortable Kia Niro and the rougher Toyota C-HR, both of a similar length (4.36 m).  The arrival of a third thief, the Hyundai Kona Hybrid, is good news.  This SUV, whose thermal version (petrol) was released in 2017 before being offered in diesel and electric (2018), measures only 4.16 m, has a rather nice appearance and an interior space satisfactory for its size.  For the Korean brand, which is about to complete a record year 2019 in terms of sales in France (around 40,000 registrations against just under 36,000 in 2018), the Kona has become a best seller, ahead of the imposing  Tucson.

 Good feelings

 On board, the right driving position is quickly found and the environment is rather flattering, especially in the superior finish called Executive.  Digital meters, 10.2 inch screen, rather responsive multimedia system, front seats with decent comfort are waiting for you.  To drive, this hybrid Kona offers good sensations with its 1.6 GDI 105hp petrol engine associated with a 32 kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery, all providing a combined power of 141hp.  What makes the difference with the Toyota, for example, is the excellent DCT6 dual-clutch automatic transmission, much nicer than the CVT gearbox when the speed increases.  The negative points ?  A narrow trunk (361 liters), too fuzzy steering and a somewhat stiff chassis with the 18-inch rims that equip the best endowed version.

In quiet driving, the Kona hybrid remains perfectly frequentable, with a bird's appetite which puts its CO2 emissions at 90 g per km despite its weight (1,451 kg).  A not inconsiderable argument which allows us to escape the penalty imposed by European standards which will become even more severe in the coming years.  More comfortable than the Toyota C-HR but less than the Kia Niro, it is sold at prices similar to those of its two competitors.  For the Executive version, the best equipped and the most attractive, it will cost around 32,000 euros.