The Kona Hybrid by Hyundai is a joy to drive for both experienced and first-time drivers.

Hyundai's latest Kona is an all-rounder. The efficient full hybrid powertrain and advanced driving aids make it a natural choice as a family car, but it also offers drivers a sense of thrill with its powerful engine and sports mode while driving on the go.

If drivers want to reduce their fuel consumption but do not want to own an electric car, then a hybrid is the way to go. In fact, this car could be what you are after if you are looking for a car that lowers your petrol while caring for the environment. Running on both electricity and petrol, the Kona Hybrid 1.6’s 38-litre fuel tank means you can easily go a week without having to top up your tank.

The car’s exterior gets full marks in my book, too. The sporty-looking Hyundai Kona Hybrid 1.6’s expressive, bold design stands out. This is especially useful when it is parked amid a row of other vehicles in a crowded car park. The compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) is also one that artfully marries the bubbly look of a hatchback while offering the generous boot space only a sedan can have.

Beyond its efficiency in petrol usage and expansive boot, however, safety is also a key feature with the Kona Hybrid 1.6, which makes this the ideal car for families. The car comes with comes with a comprehensive Hyundai SmartSense technology package, which constantly monitors the environment around the vehicle to aid drivers while on the road.

Stand-out features in the UX include automatic braking if traffic comes to a halt, the lane following assist which ensures that you stick to your lane especially in heavy traffic, and blindspot collision warning which detects any objects remotely close to your car.

Should you face inclement weather, the car’s nifty rain sensor automatically turns on the windshield wipers, which means you don’t have to fumble for the levers in the event of torrential rain.

Once inside, it took me some time to figure out how to identify the controls, including switching on the engine of the car, knowing where the hand brake is, and even finding the buttons that let you adjust the driver’s seat. But that could be because I’m used to driving older car models where everything was done manually. The controls are also something you will get used to quickly.

The driver’s seat itself was comfortable, and I managed to adjust it to a point that had just the right height, and where my legs could reach the brakes comfortably. It also allowed me to see the roads clearly. 

The seven-inch screen makes things easy and convenient for me, especially if I need to navigate my route, or take calls along the way. Another plus, is the wireless inductive charging pad for mobile phones, which means no fumbling with cables when your phone is on the verge of giving up. The sunroof, which can be easily toggled with the flick of a button is a nice touch, even in cloudless weather. 

On the road, the car’s lane keeping and lane following assist system is great for drivers having trouble sticking to their own lane. However, the warning alarm may need some getting used to — I thought I was constantly being honked at! With this system, the steering wheel corrects itself too — which is great — unless you are someone who intends to filter in between lanes without signalling (something you should not be doing anyway).

In terms of performance, I liked the pick-up speed. With an acceleration time of 11.6 seconds, it’s good enough for me. The steering was smooth as well — enough for me to successfully navigate the car through turns with one hand. If you feel the need for speed, the car’s sports mode packs a powerful punch, and is a joy to use with the sunroof down, on an empty road.

On the whole, the Kona Hybrid is a great drive. It is easy to get used to, and friendly enough for first-time drivers. It is also a great everyday car that gets you to places quickly and safely, and lets you stuff plenty in the boot (we managed to fit a 28-inch luggage in there comfortably). 

Hyundai Kona Hybrid 1.6
From $118,999 onwards, including COE
Engine: 1,580cc
Power/torque: 265nm/1,500rpm
Fuel consumption: 4.3L/100km
0 to 100kph: 11.6 seconds
Top speed: 160kph