• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Hyundai Kona Active review: price, specification, verdict

ByGurinderbir Singh

Aug 16, 2022

Choosing a new Hyundai Kona isn’t easy. Hyundai’s high-riding alternative to the i30 hatchback has a broad array of models – you can pick front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-traction, conventional or turbo petrol models or even electric power, and select from no less than 10 models with distinctly different prices and trim levels.

The range starts with the Hyundai Kona, priced from $29,490 drive-away. We climbed one rung up the ladder and tested the updated Hyundai Kona Active priced from about $32,300 drive-away.

Recently tweaked with a new front-end design, updated safety features and a fresh transmission, the Kona Active counts an 8.0-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto among its standard features. There’s a reversing camera, rear parking sensors and 17-inch alloy wheels but no satnav or a digital radio.


Every drive in the Kona Active starts with the twist of a manual key, as opposed to a more modern push-button start.

It scores points for having leather trim on the steering wheel, gear knob and seats.

Back-seaters get a USB power outlet and a fold-down centre armrest but have to negotiate airconditioning terms with the pilot, as the Kona makes do with single-zone manual airconditioning controlled from the front seat.

Australian Kona models benefit from the convenience of an electronic parking brake, along with a locally-tweaked suspension tune that returns predictable handling with a surprisingly comfortable ride.


Mid-life tweaks to Hyundai’s compact crossover saw the introduction of auto emergency braking, active cruise control and lane following assistance to every Kona model.

But you miss out on blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and safe-exit assistance features at this price point. If they are must-haves, budget a further $3400 for a mid-grade Kona Elite.

Tyre pressure monitors are a welcome feature, though we’re less convinced by a driver attention monitoring system that interprets subtle changes in course (to avoid pot holes or road debris) as cause for alarm.

Interestingly, Kona pilots can leave the reversing camera on all the time while driving – a feature that could come in handy if the boot is stuffed to the ceiling with cargo.


Petrol Kona models are divided between naturally aspirated 2.0-litre models with relatively rudimentary suspension, and more up-market turbo versions with snappy dual-clutch gearboxes and more sophisticated underpinnings. The Active lies on the basic side of the equation, making do with a 2.0-litre, 110kW/180Nm motor mated to a new CVT automatic transmission. Hyundai’s CVT uses eight stepped ratios to simulate the behaviour of a conventional auto. It works well for the most part but occasionally needs a bit of thinking time before delivering forward thrust. The engine is an unremarkable unit that needs revs on board to deliver progress. It’s effective enough in town but doesn’t impress away from city limits, where overtaking manoeuvres warrant careful consideration.


Kia Seltos Sport, from $32,790 drive-away

The Seltos has won fans over with its blend of space and equipment, plus a long warranty.

Honda HR-V, from $36,700 drive-away

Not cheap, but well equipped and interesting to look at.

Mazda CX-30, from $33,400 drive-away

A higher-riding version of the Mazda3, the CX-30 has impressive safety credentials.


Three stars

There’s a Kona for just about every driver. We’d spend a little extra one with extra safety gear and maybe a turbocharged engine.


PRICE About $32,000 drive-away

ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 110kW and 180Nm

WARRANTY/SERVICE Five-year/unlimited km, $1595 for 5 years

SAFETY 6 airbags, auto emergency braking, lane keep assist,

THIRST 6.2L/100km

BOOT 374 litres

SPARE Space saver

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