Displaying items by tag: hyundai

 The verdict: The 2022 Hyundai Kona’s tidy dimensions make it city-friendly, while available all-wheel drive and decent cargo space make it a true SUV.

Versus the competition: The Kona’s engaging road manners make it more fun to drive than many in this class, but a tight backseat and small cargo area make it one of the smallest you can buy.

The 2022 Hyundai Kona was updated with more dramatic exterior styling, additional rear legroom, and an updated multimedia system with larger screens. Hyundai has also added a sport-inspired N Line trim with more aggressive styling that uses the Kona’s upgraded turbocharged engine. 

The Kona competes in the ever-growing subcompact SUV class against the likes of the Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos and Subaru Crosstrek.

The Kona has a comfortable ride for a vehicle with such a short wheelbase. The ride is on the firm side, but it lacks the choppiness that can sometimes impact a tiny SUV’s ride quality. Bumps are decently absorbed and excessive body motions kept in check. Overall, it has a taut, controlled feel and a tight turning radius that helps with maneuverability. It’s engaging to drive but not overly sporty, though popping it into Sport mode helps.

The N Line trim also uses this engine, while a forthcoming performance-oriented Kona N will use a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 276 hp, paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. In the Limited, the 1.6-liter works with a revised version of 2021’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. That pair is an upgrade from the base powertrain, a 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a new continuously variable automatic transmission.

The powertrain in the Limited sometimes felt a little Jekyll and Hyde: composed one minute and moody the next. It pounced from a stop, and the quick-shifting — though abrupt — transmission kept things rolling nicely. At a stop, however, the engine felt and sounded rough, with a pronounced idle shudder that gave off an unrefined vibe. Against the competition, however, the Kona smokes the loud, slow Crosstrek (with its base engine) and the HR-V.

It does well when it comes to fuel economy, too. The Kona is rated 30/35/32 mpg city/highway/combined in base front-wheel-drive trim with the standard engine. The turbo 1.6-liter I tested has similar ratings with FWD, at 29/35/32 mpg; AWD brings it down a smidge to 27/32/29 mpg. Those numbers were achievable in real-world testing: I averaged 33 mpg during a 310-mile trip that included mostly highway driving.

The Kia Seltos, which is the Kona’s sibling, has the same powertrains and is rated similarly: 29/35/31 mpg in base FWD trim with the standard engine. The turbo 1.6-liter is available with AWD only and is rated lower, at 25/30/27 mpg. The Subaru Crosstrek’s base engine is also rated lower, at a weak 22/29/25 mpg with standard AWD and a standard manual transmission; opting for the CVT brings it up to 28/33/30 mpg. The Crosstrek’s larger engine is rated 27/34/29 mpg. Lastly, the Honda HR-V is rated 28/34/30 mpg in its base FWD trim.

Hyundai also offers an EV version of the Kona, but there’s a catch: The model, which uses a 201-hp electric motor and has a listed range of 258 miles, is only sold in the 12 states that require increasing sales of zero-emissions vehicles. Of the competitors listed here, it’s the only one with an electric-only variant available anywhere, though the Crosstrek is available as a plug-in hybrid.

Clean Controls, Dull Design

The cabin lacks any sense of style or design, with a black-on-black-on-black theme that just drags on. The highlight of the cabin is Hyundai’s refreshingly simple multimedia and control system, which the Kona thankfully still uses (other newer Hyundai models, such as the Tucson, have largely ditched it for a more complicated, touch-sensitive control system that has drawn our ire). For 2022, the previously standard 7-inch and optional 8-inch touchscreens have been replaced by 8- and 10.25-inch units. Both still have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the 8-inch unit adds wireless smartphone integration. As in the new Elantra, however, the 10.25-inch display reverts to wired smartphone connections.

I tested the larger screen, which sits high on the dash for good visibility and an easy reach; its large tuning and volume knobs are also handy. The system is easy to use thanks to a straightforward menu structure and a few extra touches, such as a helpful search function. This feature allows you to quickly access settings you’d like to adjust without hunting through menus.

One hiccup, and it’s one I’m used to, is the execution of Android Auto. Apple CarPlay uses the full width of the Kona’s widescreen, but Kona drivers with Android phones (like me!) have to settle for much less. The Android Auto interface displays in a much smaller section of the screen, with a black box taking up the rest of the space to its right.

There’s a setting to enable “split-screen” functionality, but it only displays minimally helpful info, including a compass, time and weather. I hoped it would show something Android Auto-related — like if the map were on the main screen, my audio choice could be on the little extra screen — but this isn’t the case.

Space Constraints

Even with additional rear legroom for 2022, the Kona is still on the smaller side of this class, and it shows when you get inside. With 35.2 inches of rear legroom, it trails the Seltos, HR-V and Crosstrek; the Kona also has a smidge less rear headroom than those competitors.

The backseat is tiny, but that little bit of extra room did help the 2022 Kona do better with car seat accommodation than older versions of the subcompact SUV, though it still didn’t secure top scores in our Car Seat Check.

In terms of cargo space, it again sits at the bottom of the pack. By Cars.com’s measurements, the Kona has 10.89 cubic feet of space, below the Subaru Crosstrek’s 13 cubic feet and well below the Kia Seltos’ 16.3 cubic feet. It’s not all bad, though: The cargo area is nice and tall, and it has a handy little underfloor storage area to contain smaller things. The front seat also has a decent amount of small-item storage space.

Safety and Value

The 2022 Hyundai Kona starts at  $22,375, and AWD adds $1,500 (prices include destination). It’s roughly the same price as a Honda HR-V and about $1,000 less than a base Kia Seltos  or Subaru Crosstrek, both of which come with AWD standard; the Crosstrek’s base model does, however, use a manual transmission.

The Kona I drove was a Limited AWD trim that cost $31,330. The only extra was a floormat package that cost $155.

 

The Kona’s price is appealing — and so is its safety features list, which has grown for 2022. The standard automatic emergency braking system with pedestrian detection adds optional cyclist detection for 2022. Hyundai’s lane-centering steering system, called Lane Following Assist, is also standard for ’22, along with  a driver attention monitor and a rear occupant reminder system that alerts you to check the backseat after you’ve parked.

Available features include adaptive cruise control (now with stop-and-go functionality), as well as upgraded blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert systems that gain braking intervention if they sense danger when you try to change lanes or back up, respectively.

As this crowded class continues to add models, shoppers are faced with an ever-growing list of choices, but if you’re looking for a small, affordable and fun SUV, the Kona stands out.

(https://www.cars.com/articles/2022-hyundai-kona-review-a-cute-ute-formula-that-makes-sense-442477/)

Published in Hyundai

Hyundai's new Santa Cruz compact truck attempts to skirt the rules for traditional pickups.

Breaking into the lucrative truck market isn't for the faint of heart. Subaru's Baja lasted four short years, Honda had to butch up the looks of its Ridgeline to secure a seat at the table, and even Toyota's T100 stumbled until it became the V-8-powered Tundra. And who can forget the Ford Explorer Sport Trac? It would seem that to succeed in this segment, your truck had better look and perform like, well, a truck.

In what may be an attempt to manage expectations, Hyundai isn't using the "t" word to describe its new entry, instead referring to it as a "Sport Adventure Vehicle." Hyundai even goes so far as to claim the Santa Cruz wasn't designed as a mid-size truck competitor, but one look at the package and it's hard to classify it as anything else.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Drive it and you're not so quick to use the "t" word. The Santa Cruz rides on an extended version of the Tucson crossover's platform, with struts up front and a multilink suspension with self-leveling dampers out back. Its 118.3-inch wheelbase (nearly 10 inches longer than the Tucson) contributes to a calm and composed ride, with none of the rear-end skittishness sometimes present in a full-size pickup with an empty bed. Maneuverability around town is carlike. At 195.7 inches long and 75.0 inches wide, the Santa Cruz easily slots into parking spots. Driven with haste along two-lane back roads, the Santa Cruz is agile, remaining relatively flat through the corners.
 
 
2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Lesser Santa Cruz models ditch the turbo and the dual-clutch for a 191-hp 2.5-liter and a conventional eight-speed automatic. The base 2.5-liter musters just 181 pound-feet of torque and is something we'd skip. We haven't tested that version yet, but in an all-wheel-drive Tucson, the nonturbo 2.5-liter results in a sluggish 8.8-second time to 60 mph. Front-wheel drive is standard here, with all-wheel drive a $1500 option. There's no hybrid variant, but since the Tucson features both hybrid and plug-in versions, we predict the closely related Santa Cruz will follow suit in the future. In terms of fuel economy, the standard 2.5-liter four holds a slight advantage: an EPA combined estimate of 23 mpg versus the turbo model's 22, although our test car did average 30 mpg on our 75-mph highway test, bettering its highway estimate by 3 mpg.

Despite its Tucson underpinnings, the Santa Cruz is capable of trucklike activities. Turbo all-wheel-drive models are rated to tow 5000 pounds, and even the base front-drive setup can tow 3500 pounds. Trailer sway control, a function of the stability-control system, helps mitigate untoward trailer motions and comes standard on all models. Off-road excursions are also possible, as 8.6 inches of ground clearance is enough to get you into the rough stuff. A decent 23.2-degree departure angle will ensure you'll get out of most moderately difficult situations without leaving the rear bumper on the trail. The journey itself might not be entirely smooth, as we found that the stickiness of the Santa Cruz's floor-mounted throttle pedal can make it difficult to maintain a smooth crawling speed.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Duality of purpose notwithstanding, the true make-or-break feature here lies out back. Where most truck beds are a blank canvas, this is more of an artist's toolkit. As the Santa Cruz is designed exclusively for the North American market, the development team worked to bake in the kind of usability and versatility that would appeal to the outdoor-adventure set marketers love to target. Key to this mission is a dent-resistant molded composite bed (as opposed to stamped steel), which allowed the team to utilize every square inch of the space—whether it's in, under, or atop the bed.

Packed with cubbies and hidden compartments, the Santa Cruz's plastic bed is more intricate than a puzzle box. Just as in the Honda Ridgeline, there's a lockable underfloor storage space located close enough to the tailgate that it's easy to retrieve items without straining yourself. Drain plugs make it a perfect place to keep drinks on ice. More storage can be found on the sides of the bed behind the wheel wells, along with an AC power outlet with enough current to run a small refrigerator. There are tie-downs throughout, as well as an adjustable cleat system. The space above the wheel wells is wide enough to accommodate four-foot-wide sheets of plywood.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Hyundai also went bonkers on the accessories. Whatever item your hobby requires, the Santa Cruz can likely secure, store, and transport it. With the tailgate down, it can accommodate a couple of dirt bikes or kayaks. A factory tonneau cover retracts to the front of the bed and is a lot easier to use than the folding jobs seen on some pickups. Precut tabs on the top of the bed rails can be punched out to add a canopy system. And when was the last time you saw a truck with roof-mounted crossbars?

Climb in and you'll discover a refined interior largely shared with the Tucson. A reasonably hushed 67 decibels of noise creep into the cabin at 70 mph, with full-throttle pulls registering only 72 decibels on our sound meter. The instrument panel and infotainment screen are neatly tucked into the dash, rather than being mounted on top. The result is a clean, low-profile dashtop, which allows for excellent forward visibility. The Santa Cruz accommodates tall passengers in both rows, with plenty of headroom and decent legroom in the rear. Like many pickups with small sliding rear windows, objects that pass through are limited to things the size of soccer balls and six-packs.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
The center stack features all of Hyundai's latest tech. Most models feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. Exclusive to the Limited trim is a 10.3-inch screen with navigation. As with the Tucson, the system with the larger screen can't do wireless phone mirroring; you'll have to plug in your phone like it's 2018. Most controls surrounding the system are of the capacitive-touch variety; they look sleek but attract their fair share of fingerprints and aren't as user-friendly as the physical buttons found in other Hyundai models. In what's a first for the brand, a tiny little Santa Cruz emblem adorns the controls for air recirculation and hill-descent control. The Santa Cruz's interior and exterior is peppered with other Easter eggs.

Despite what Hyundai claims, those little illustrations indeed resemble the shape of a truck because the Santa Cruz's silhouette says truck. But the exterior lacks the upright and squared-off look that characterizes traditional pickups. The styling is a muscular and bulked-up take on Hyundai's latest design language, and the big, bold grille full of brightwork is handsome. But the Santa Cruz looks like a crossover-turned-pickup. It makes no attempt to hide its roots.

2022 hyundai santa cruz 25t limited awd
Arguing how truckish it is or isn't might be fun for internet arguments (Please comment below—Ed.), but the biggest obstacle for the Santa Cruz could be its price. Base SE versions begin at $25,215 and include a good amount of standard equipment, but opting for the turbo requires an additional $10K. Top-spec Limited models begin at a steep $40,945. This pricing becomes an issue when you consider a world where the similarly sized Ford Maverick exists. A Maverick starts at just a hair over $20,000 and features a standard hybrid powertrain that's good for a 37-mpg combined EPA fuel-economy rating; more powerful turbocharged versions top out at a still-frugal 26 mpg combined. The Maverick also features more conventional truck styling, which might make it more attractive to more conventional truck buyers. But Hyundai is taking another tack—it remains to be seen if its gamble will pay off. So perhaps the question becomes: Do you want a truck, or do you want a Santa Cruz?
 
Published in Hyundai
Friday, 15 October 2021 08:17

Hyundai Staria Kinder

A school van is an interesting idea. Does this solution make sense? Hyundai Staria offers a maximum of nine seats in conventional versions. Here, however, it is different. According to the manufacturer, the Hyundai Staria Kinder can use up to fifteen seats - all seated and equipped with adjustable seat belts. Supposedly. It should be added that the driver has at his disposal a system that informs those passengers who have not fastened their seat belts.

It is a pity that no photos of the interior have been discovered that would show what we are actually talking about and how the problem of relatively small space has been solved for this type of car.

For now, we have to settle for a body design that is enriched with yellow, special markings, and additional lights.

The car uses safety systems, including collision avoidance assistance, lane maintenance, blind spot monitoring and reversing warning. It was not revealed what was under the hood. It is probably the well-known and favorite 2.2-liter diesel engine that offers 175 horsepower.

Interestingly, the car found its way to the user. The 15-seater Hyundai Staria Kinder costs 37.41 million won or more than 26,000 euros - in the Korean market, of course. It seems that such a configuration will probably not reach Europe.

 

Published in Blog/News

The i20 N is an absolute riot. Unfortunately, we can’t have it.

 

Americans have a pathological aversion to subcompact hot hatches. Mini's John Cooper Works variant of its Hardtop is the sole stateside representative of a performance car genre that's been highly successful in Europe and Asia. The entertaining Ford Fiesta ST, launched in late 2013, lasted just five years before Dearborn pulled the plug. We never even got Toyota's grin-a-mile GR Yaris, with Toyota ending the importation of even the mainstream Yaris to the U.S. And so our chances of seeing Hyundai's new i20 N on American roads are precisely … zero. 

Which is a shame, because the little i20 N is the best driver's car Hyundai makes, sharper and more focused than the Veloster N, the Elantra N, and the Kona N, cars that have impressed us with their punchy performance and fun-to-drive dynamics. Indeed, the buzz in Europe is the i20 N has what it takes to shake the subcompact hot hatch crown from the current-generation Fiesta ST.

2021 Hyundai i20 N Specifications 10

The i20 N is more than just some extra muscle under the hood, as it combines the engine's extra grunt with bigger wheels and stiffer suspension, and wraps it all in bright paint with a few aero addenda. With N division founder and former BMW M chief Albert Biermann now head of R&D for the entire Hyundai-Kia group, N models are part of the vehicle development process from the get-go, and the i20 N is one of the first fruits of this new system, arriving less than 18 months after the mainstream i20 hatch hit the market in Europe and Asia.

 

The Dirty Bits

Regular i20s are powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder or a 1.2-liter four-cylinder gas engine (a 1.5-liter diesel four is available in some markets), none boasting more than 118 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. The i20 N gets a tweaked version of the 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo four-banger found in the Elantra N Line sedan. In i20 N-spec, the engine benefits from a new intercooled turbocharger setup that boosts torque output to 203 lb-ft from 1,750 rpm to 4,500 rpm. There's also an overboost function that allows the little four-pot to muster 224 lb-ft of twist from 2,000 rpm to 4,000 rpm for short periods.

The only available transmission is a six-speed manual that's been upgraded to handle the extra torque and the shock of full-throttle launch-control starts. As with all N cars, the i20 N has a limited-slip differential, although it's a mechanical unit with a Torsen gear optimizing the torque flow across the front axle rather than a more expensive electronic diff.

In terms of the chassis setup, the spring, damper, and anti-roll rates have all been substantially stiffened. The i20 N's suspension is simpler than that of its larger N siblings; the shocks are passive, and the rear axle is a torsion-beam unit rather than multilink. The front suspension has reinforced top mounts and knuckles, however, and an additional brace in the rear load space helps keep the torsion-beam rear axle more precisely located. To cope with the increased dynamic loads—and to give the suspension a more rigid foundation—the body shell has been reinforced in 12 different places, particularly around the front subframe.

2021 Hyundai i20 N Specifications 13

The i20 N retains the column-mounted motor for the electronic power steering system (EPS), but the steering rack ratio has been sharpened from 12.4:1 to 12.0:1, while the motor's retuned to improve its response and better counter torque steer. New front disc brakes have rotors 1.6 inches larger in diameter than those of the regular i20, and new hubs mean the i20 N's 18-inch forged wheels, shod with Pirelli P Zero tires specially developed for the car, are located by five lugs rather than the four of the regular i20.

On paper, the i20 N, with its passive shocks, torsion-beam rear axle, column-mounted EPS, and lack of a dual-clutch automatic transmission, doesn't seem as sophisticated as the bigger N cars. On the road, it's a different story.

Getting Down To Business

There's a solidity to the body structure that makes the no-nonsense tautness of the suspension feel engineered into the car, not merely bolted on. And the control weights—the lovely, mechanical throw of the gearshift; the consistent arc of the clutch; the firm, easily modulated brake pedal; and the crisp steering response—all have the smooth, measured heft you'd normally associate with something engineered in Germany, not Korea.

It's not all dour seriousness, though. "The i20 N is more of a rascal than the i30 N," Hyundai-Kia dynamics engineer Alex Eichler, who's based at the company's technical center in Russelsheim, Germany, said. He's absolutely right. This Hyundai is a lively, energetic little machine with a giant-killing personality.

2021 Hyundai i20 N Specifications 20

The i20 N offers six different drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and two different configurable N Custom settings that let you mix and match the settings for the engine, steering, stability control, and exhaust sound. In addition to the standard launch control system, the onboard computers will also automatically match revs on downshifts and allow you to left-foot-brake while keeping your right foot on the throttle.

In Normal mode, the i20 N is a fun little commuter car. Yes, the ride is busy—hardly unexpected in a stiffly suspended car that weighs just over 2,600 pounds and has a short wheelbase—but not uncomfortably so. And being a Hyundai, you get a lot of comfort and convenience for your money (in Europe, the i20 N is priced within a few bucks of the Fiesta ST), including a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control, and a rear parking camera.

But the real fun starts when you tap the N button and switch everything to maximum attack.

The i20 N's 1.6-liter turbo engine is workmanlike rather than charismatic, and it's happiest muscling around in the midrange. Keep the revs between 3,000 rpm and 5,500 rpm, working that terrific transmission, and the little Hyundai zings down the road, darting from apex to apex like a kart. Hyundai claims a 0-60-mph time of about 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 142 mph, and the i20 N feels every bit that rapid. 

It'll only take a few miles before you thumb the red button under the right spoke of the steering wheel to switch off the rev matching. The beautifully weighted pedals are perfectly placed for neat and quick heel-and-toe downshifts, the exhaust pop-pop-popping joyfully on the overrun as you brake deeper and deeper into corners.

Crisp As A Fresh Potato Chip

The i20 N has the superlatively authoritative front end that's now a hallmark of Hyundai's N cars, reacting instantly to steering inputs and delivering truly impressive levels of grip. The little hatch rotates promptly on corner entry, the inside rear wheel cocked in the air like a dog's leg at a fire hydrant, and the mechanical limited-slip differential allows you to get on the gas much sooner than you can in almost any other front-drive car; and, contrary to what you might expect, it helps tuck the nose tighter in toward the apex.

A fast run along a twisting two-lane will have you grinning from ear to ear at the sheer audacity of it all. This Hyundai feels wonderfully agile and alert but not nervous, and there are few hot hatches that can generate its raw midcorner pace.

2021 Hyundai i20 N Specifications 38

The i20 N is just one more reason Hyundai is the company Toyota should fear most. The mainstream Hyundai lineup is already better styled, better equipped, and, frankly, better to drive than most comparable Toyotas. With the launch of the i20 N, Hyundai now offers enthusiast drivers a wider selection of accomplished and affordable performance machinery than its Japanese rival.

(Motortrend.com)

Published in Hyundai

The all-electric Ioniq 5 robotaxi is the first commercial vehicle from Motional and Hyundai and will be used in public driving around the city without a driver, starting in 2023.
Motional and Hyundai Motor Group have discovered a robot taxi based on the Ioniq 5 model, which was launched worldwide earlier this year. Robotaxi uses SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicles that can be safely operated without a driver. The robot taxi is a vehicle with zero exhaust emissions.

robotaxi, ioniq 5, car, car HyundaiPhoto: Hyundai
The set of sensors is prominent on the outside of the vehicle, in order to make it easier to distinguish robot taxis from man-operated vehicles.


Robotaxi has more than 30 sensors - a combination of cameras, radar and lidars - that provide powerful 360-degree perception, high-resolution photography and remote object detection for safe autonomous operation in a variety of driving environments.


The robot will be equipped with Motional's proven driverless technology, which includes advanced machine learning systems, which enables the vehicle to safely cope in challenging and complex situations.


Following in the footsteps of Hyundai Motor Group's Electric Global Modular Platforms (E-GMP), a dedicated electric vehicle platform (BEV), the interior of the Ioniq 5 robot taxi provides passengers with ample space to work, relax and socialize while driving without a driver.

The interior of the vehicle will also include a part of the interface that refers to the driver himself to allow passengers to communicate with the vehicle itself while driving, such as directing the vehicle to additional stops.


There are several safety systems in each function, such as navigation, steering, braking and power, to make every ride safe and quiet.


Motional will also be able to provide passengers with remote support for Ioniq 5 robot taxi vehicles in the event of some unforeseen circumstances such as road works or floods.

In that case, the Motional support operator will be able to connect to the vehicle immediately and direct it to a new path. Motional and Hyundai Motor Group will present the Ioniq 5 robot taxi for the first time at the IAA Mobility Fair in Munich, from September 7 to 12.

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under
Tuesday, 24 August 2021 06:52

Hyundai Kona N SUV review

“In the Kona N, Hyundai has created another fantastic performance model - one that makes a great alternative to a Volkswagen T-Roc R”

Pros

  • Very quick
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • Cheaper than nearest rivals

Cons

  • Automatic only
  • Too many drive settings
  • i30 N is bigger and costs less

The standard Hyundai Kona isn’t our favourite car in its class but the Kona Electric is one of the best electric cars on sale. The Kona range is now even broader and better with the introduction of the Hyundai Kona N, a high-power, performance-focused model. Despite the car industry moving towards electrification, Hyundai still sees a place for fast and loud petrol cars for enthusiasts to enjoy.

The world of fast small SUVs wasn’t very heavily populated until relatively recently but now the Volkswagen T-Roc R, BMW X2 M35i, Audi SQ2 and MINI Countryman JCW are all fighting it out for supremacy. There’s also the more affordable and less powerful (but no less fun) Ford Puma ST. Hyundai has found a gap in the market directly between these cars, making the Kona N more powerful than the Ford but less expensive than all its other rivals.

The car’s 276bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine is shared with the Hyundai i30 N, as is most of the rest of the running gear. The i30 N is one of our favourite hot hatchbacks, so the recipe is a good one and sets the Kona N up well. A 0-62mph sprint can be done in 6.4 seconds, unless you engage launch control, in which case it’s just 5.5 seconds. This makes the car easily quick enough to mix with its rivals, despite the Kona N only coming with front-wheel drive.

But the Kona N allows you to dial back the performance with a slightly bewildering range of driving modes (even ones for mud and snow). Sticking it in Eco or Normal will make the car feel little different to a standard Kona and the ability to calm things down suits the car’s slightly raised driving position.

The Kona N has joined the range as part of the model’s facelift, so it feels fresh and modern inside. Digital dials are standard, as is a new 10.25-inch touchscreen, while a smattering of specific badges and stitching choices elevate it above the regular Kona. The price of the N may look high compared to entry-level versions of the Kona but you get a huge amount of kit as well as the performance, such as a head-up display, a premium sound system and heated and cooled electrically adjustable seats.

While the Kona N does share its running gear with the i30 N, it’s slightly more expensive, slightly less practical and doesn’t come with the option of a manual gearbox like the i30 N does. We can’t imagine any of these will be major issues if you like the Kona’s driving position and styling, however.

MPG, running costs & CO2

The Hyundai Kona N is thirsty, just like its rivals

More often than not, the trade-off for a powerful petrol engine is poor fuel economy - and that’s exactly the case here. While the Kona Electric and hybrid models are focused on efficiency, the Kona N certainly isn’t. It’ll achieve up to 33.2mpg at a steady cruise and much less if you drive it enthusiastically. In fact, use all of the car’s performance all of the time and you could end up travelling fewer miles on a tank than you’d get from a full charge in the electric model.

Whether you pick the Kona or another fast SUV like the Volkswagen T-Roc R or BMW X2 M35i, that’s about as efficient as a performance SUV gets. However, because the Kona doesn’t breach £40,000 like many of its rivals, private buyers will only pay the standard rate of tax per year. It almost goes without saying that the Kona N will be costly to run for company-car drivers, as its 194g/km CO2 output puts it firmly in the top Benefit-in-Kind band.

Engines, drive & performance

 The Kona N is one of the best hot SUVs on the market

The Hyundai i30 N was the brand’s first hot hatchback but Hyundai’s relative lack of performance-car experience meant nothing; the i30 N shot to near the top of the hot hatch class. The smaller, Ford Fiesta ST-rivalling Hyundai i20 N is also excellent, and the Korean company has done it again with the much-anticipated Kona N.

Just like the i30 N, the Kona N uses a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that produces 276bhp. That enables a 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds, or just 5.5 seconds if you engage launch control. In the past, launch control was reserved for supercars and sports cars but now you’ll be able to surprise people with a perfect launch in your small SUV. The Kona is only available with an eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, whereas the i30 N is also available with a manual gearbox. We’d like the option of the six-speed manual here too, as the auto gearbox sometimes struggles to find the right gear.

The Kona N comes with electronically controlled dampers and a differential as standard in the UK, which, again, would previously have been reserved for the very best performance cars. You can feel the differential working if you press the throttle down mid-corner, as the car tightens its line and doesn’t stray wide. It makes the car’s performance feel accessible and gives you confidence to drive faster.

There are also a wide range of driving modes, from Eco and Normal to Sport and even mud/snow settings but the sportiest setup is accessed by pressing one of the N buttons on the steering wheel. With N mode engaged, the suspension firms up and makes the Kona more agile through corners. A wider track (the distance between left and right wheels) helps reduce body roll to almost zero.

Another Kona N-specific feature is the NGS button on the steering wheel. Press this and you’ll get a hit of extra power (the full 286bhp) for 20 seconds. We can see it being useful for quick overtakes, where you want all the power without having to resort to scrolling through all the driver modes.

Interior & comfort

 The Hyundai Kona N has a sporty feel inside and lots of equipment

Joining the range as part of the Kona’s facelift, the N benefits from Hyundai’s very latest interior design. There’s a new 10.25-inch touchscreen on top of the dashboard and a large digital instrument cluster instead of traditional dials. The N gets a sports steering wheel with the aforementioned N buttons, plus seats trimmed partly in leather and partly in Alcantara suede.

You’ll pay less for the Kona N than its main rivals but you’ll get more equipment as standard. The front seats are electrically adjustable, heated and cooled, while the outer rear seats and the steering wheel both have heating too. There’s also automatic climate control, wireless phone charging, a head-up display and a reversing camera.

Practicality & boot space

 The Kona isn’t the biggest inside and the i30 N has a bigger boot

One of our bugbears with the standard Hyundai Kona is that it is far from the most spacious small SUV on sale and the N is the same in this respect. A Volkswagen T-Roc R or a MINI Countryman JCW will be more comfortable for adults in the rear seats but then you might find it’s fine if you’re not regularly bringing mates along for the ride. We’d recommend sitting in the rear seats with the driver’s seat in your position before you buy.

Many small SUVs have a surprisingly large boot - the Renault Captur offers more space than some cars in the class above - but the Kona has one of the smallest boots in the class. The N’s 361 litres isn’t terrible but the i30 N offers more rear-seat and luggage space for a lower price.

Reliability and safety

 A five-star safety score and glowing customer satisfaction are both impressive

The standard Kona was the best-rated car on sale in our 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, with top scores for everything except practicality. Although the Kona N wasn’t specifically mentioned in the result, it should be absolutely excellent to live with. Kona owners love the fit-and-finish, the technology and the driving experience - and the N provides tech and performance in spades. Hyundai’s five-year warranty is more generous than its rivals too.

Euro NCAP tested the Hyundai Kona in 2017 and awarded it a five-star score, with 89% protection for adult occupants. The range-topping Kona N features a host of driver assistance technology including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping and following, front and rear collision avoidance and a head-up display.

(carbuyer.co.uk)

Published in Hyundai

Versus the competition: We haven’t yet driven the 2022 Ford Maverick, the other new compact pickup on the block, but we’ve been impressed by what we’ve seen thus far. The Santa Cruz takes a more premium and unconventional tack, but it seems more likely to face competition both from Hyundai and other brands’ compact and mid-size SUVs rather than traditional (or less traditional) pickups.

We’ve been teased by the idea of a Hyundai pickup truck for years and now, finally, here it is: the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz. Except … Hyundai won’t call it a pickup. No, the Santa Cruz is a Sport Adventure Vehicle, according to the automaker (Not to be confused with Sport Activity Vehicle, which is what BMW has always called its SUVs). But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Come closer. Closerrrrr. OK, ready for the secret?

It’s a pickup.

It’s a pickup in my book, anyway. If a vehicle has a pickup bed, it’s a pickup. (I will not be discussing whether a hot dog is a sandwich or if cereal and milk is soup.) That’s by no means a bad thing; we’re very excited about another unibody compact pickup truck, the 2022 Ford Maverick, and the less traditional unibody Honda Ridgeline is consistently a top finisher, if not a winner, in our mid-size pickup comparison tests.

The Santa Cruz looks even less like a pickup than the Maverick or Ridgeline, appearing to be more of a mid-size SUV with a bed. And between its looks and Hyundai’s unwillingness to call it a pickup truck, I have a feeling the Santa Cruz is going to be a more competitive choice among SUV shoppers, not those looking for a pickup — and having now driven one, I find the Santa Cruz a strange-looking but compelling choice.

Small in Size, Trick in Features Outside

What the Santa Cruz also lacks, at least in the realm of pickups, is size. It’s 4 inches shorter from bumper to bumper than the Ford Maverick and more than a foot shorter than the Honda Ridgeline. We’ve done a more thorough breakdown of its size elsewhere, which you should check out, but the key takeaway is this: It doesn’t look big.

The Santa Cruz’s bed itself also isn’t big, at just over 4 feet long when the tailgate is closed and more than 6 feet long with the tailgate completely lowered. The tailgate can also take up a middle position to provide support for carrying 4-by-8-foot sheets of plywood or drywall. Bed depth is 19.2 inches, and width varies from nearly 54 inches at its widest to almost 43 inches between the wheel housings.

To make up for the bed’s small size (even though it’s likely enough bed for the average consumer), Hyundai added a number of trick features. Most noticeable is a factory-installed integrated retractable tonneau cover (not available with the base SE trim, but available on the SEL and standard on the SEL Premium and Limited), which opens and closes easily. There’s also a strap attached to the cover to help pull it closed; in our test vehicle, it was clipped to the bed to keep the strap from getting lost in the back of the bed, though I wonder what the best way to store it would be if the bed were full of items. If it stays clipped, it could get in the way; unclipped, it might get lost in the cargo.

The bed also has a lockable underfloor storage compartment with drain plugs, which is truly another signifier that the Santa Cruz is a pickup: Owners can take it to a tailgate party and fill one of its compartments with ice and six-packs of b … sodas. There are additional lockable side compartments, one of which can be equipped with an optional 115-volt, low-current power outlet as well as LED lighting above the bed and on each side. To improve bed access, there are steps built into the corners of the rear bumper. Numerous factory and aftermarket accessories will also be available.

All of this utility might not be enough to sway pickup purists, but a Santa Fe with a lockable and more durable rear cargo area is an enticing proposition.

Hyundai also placed numerous visual “Easter eggs” on the Santa Cruz’s exterior, though they’re not very well hidden. There are Santa Cruz silhouettes on the fender moldings, rear bumper molding and on the molding atop the bed sides.

A Counterintuitive Cabin Inside

Unfortunately, a lot of that quality feeling is only skin-deep. Surfaces may be soft to the touch, but they lack underlying padding, particularly the upper portions of the front doors. Quality takes a dip in the backseat, where even the soft material is replaced by hard plastic. Cabin storage is also surprisingly minimal. There’s a decent-sized bin between the front seats but just a few small cubbies elsewhere up front, and much of the storage space ahead of the gear selector is taken up by the wireless charging pad.

Another strange quirk of the Santa Cruz, though not unique among Hyundais, is that the standard 8-inch touchscreen has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the 10.25-inch display on the Limited can use those functions only via a wired connection. Even stranger, a model with the 8-inch screen might not have a wireless device charging pad, while one is standard on models that don’t have wireless CarPlay or Android Auto. I only got to experience the 10.25-inch display and remain a fan, having used it in other Hyundai vehicles already. The graphics are clear and crisp and the menus are intuitive.

More tech comes in the way of a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel in place of the base trim level’s conventional gauges — it’s standard on the SEL Premium and Limited and optional on the SEL. The graphics are clear and operating the menu system is easy here, too, though in my short drive, I was not a fan of the flat display without a traditional cockpit-style hood over it. That’s likely something I’d get used to quickly, but given a choice, I’d rather have the traditional cover.

The elephant in the room is the use of capacitive-touch buttons for audio, navigation and climate control in lieu of physical buttons. The layout and design are similar to the Tucson’s and, while it may look modern (and save Hyundai some money), they’re harder to use, consumers consistently don’t like them, and the control area gets covered in fingerprints and smudges after brief use. There are some physical controls for features like the heated and ventilated seats, and there are redundant physical controls for the audio on the steering wheel, but the capacitive ones are still aggravating.

In the backseat, there’s adequate headroom and shoulder room for large adults, but the backseat’s high floor put my knees in a too-elevated position and there wasn’t as much legroom as I would’ve hoped. The high beltline results in small rear windows, too, which can make the back feel cramped. The Limited trim, at least, gets two additional charging-only USB ports for rear passengers (or device-happy front occupants).

How It Drives

Despite the added power and the added heft of AWD, the turbo four is only slightly lacking in fuel efficiency according to EPA ratings: 22 mpg combined, while both front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the non-turbo are rated at 23 mpg combined. Those numbers likely lag behind the hybrid Ford Maverick, but a better comparison — particularly for the turbo Santa Cruz — will be the turbocharged EcoBoost Maverick, which is not yet rated as of this writing.

An area where the Santa Cruz seems likely to distinguish itself is its maximum towing capacity: 3,500 pounds for FWD versions and 5,000 with AWD. That’s more than many compact and mid-size SUVs, more than the Maverick and equal or close to some mid-size pickups. Payload capacity varies from around 1,500 to 1,750 pounds, with more highly equipped models having lower capacities

I drove a Santa Cruz Limited with standard AWD, the turbocharged 2.5-liter and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, a drivetrain it shares with the Sonata N-Line. The sportiness isn’t quite on the same level as the sedan (it is a pickup truck, after all), but on twisty mountain roads it handled itself ably. Power delivery is linear and with minimal delay, and the transmission finds the right gear easily enough that if it stumbled, I didn’t notice. While the power figures aren’t identical, this turbo four-cylinder and dual-clutch transmission combination can be found in high-level Santa Fe SUVs, where I also found it impressive.

Ride and handling impressed, as well, though with the 20-inch wheels, you definitely feel road imperfections. The ones we encountered didn’t unsettle the truck, but I have a feeling the ride would seem harsher if we had been driving on worse roads; I’m eager to get behind the wheel of one in Chicago and see if I’m right. At no point in my driving did I find the Santa Cruz to be a sports car hiding under an unusual pickup truck body, but for what it is, it’s pretty damn sporty.

Safety

As of this writing, the Santa Cruz has not yet been tested for crashworthiness by either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but you can check the links for yourself to see updates.

Standard safety technology on the Santa Cruz includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, a driver attention monitor and a rear occupant alert system. Move up the trim levels and you can add blind spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert and a safe-exit warning system. The Limited also adds adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering, a 360-degree camera system and Hyundai’s Blind-Spot View Monitor.

Who’s Going to Buy One?

With prices from just over $25,000 to over $40,000, the Santa Cruz occupies a very interesting space. While more expensive than the Maverick, that price range is also where most compact SUVs reside, as well as many versions of mid-size pickups and even lightly equipped full-size pickups.

We keep hammering the point home that these small pickups and things like the Ridgeline are more than enough truck for the average buyer, but I’m not sure anyone is really listening. That said, as a pickup, the Santa Cruz is plenty capable.

And while the Santa Cruz probably isn’t going to influence the purchasing decision of those looking for a true pickup — whether that’s because of a purist’s idea of what a pickup should be, the Santa Cruz’s relatively small bed, specific additional capabilities mid-size and larger pickups might offer, or some other reason, this Hyundai might just need to look for a different kind of buyer. The Santa Cruz makes a compelling case as an SUV alternative with a different sort of utility. We’ll have to see if that’s enough to give the Santa Cruz the staying power many of its forebears lacked.

(cars.com)

Published in Hyundai
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