Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price

Sanjay · Oct 10, 2021 09:00 AM

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 01

Make no bones about it, the 2021 Hyundai Kona's appeal lies more on the subjective end of the scale. Sure, it's attention-grabbing and different, but with prices starting from RM 136k, it's got to perform in a measureable manner too.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 02

In the B-segment SUV category dominated by the Proton X50 and Honda HR-V, the fully-imported (CBU Korea) Kona sits on the higher side of the price scale, even out-pricing the Mazda CX-3.

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2021 Hyundai Kona Prices in Malaysia
Variant Price
2.0 RM 119,888
2.0 Active (as tested) RM 136,888
1.6 Turbo RM 146,888
1.6 N Line RM 156,888
OTR w/o insurance, with 50% SST discount. Valid until 31-Dec 2021

But that's not to say you're just paying for looks as the Kona – even in this mid-range 2.0 Active variant – does have some tricks up its sleeves, which explains its relatively high score.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 01

Please note that all scores and judgements here are relative only to the Kona's respective market segment.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active: Driving Performance - 35.5/50, Epic smoothness

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 02

If its smoothness you're looking for, then the 2021 Hyundai Kona will fit the bill very, very well indeed.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Facts and Figures
Engine 2.0L, NA 4-cyl
Transmission CVT (8 virtual speeds)
Total Power 149 PS @ 6,200 rpm
Total Torque 180 Nm @ 4,500 rpm
Weight 1,370 kg (est)
0-100 km/h 10.3 seconds
100-0 km/h 33.6 metres

The naturally aspirated, 2.0-litre isn't what one would describe as a peppy engine, but it certainly doesn't disappoint in being impressively refined even at highway speeds.​​ You practically don't hear it at all, and it only grunts when you squeeze the accelerator more.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 03

More importantly it's torquey enough at low speeds, making it an easy car to live with every day.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 04

Though it clocks a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 10.3 seconds, it definitely isn't a sluggish mill – in part helped by the fantastic CVT it has, which responds very intuitively to accelerator input.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 05

The powertrain combo is impressively silent, and the transmission excels in low-speed situations, and hardly (if ever) jerky or hesitant in low speeds or when you're taking off from a standstill.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 06

235/45R18 tyres for all variants, except base 2.0

Steering-wise, it's not too light but its still rather direct.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 07

Century sprint and stop times

Braking performance is fantastic, and the pedal has just the right amounts of feedback to it. Grabby as it is, it's easy to modulate, and it's confidence-inspiring even at higher speeds.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 08

Different drive modes switches the instrument cluster theme too, with 'Normal' on top and 'Sport' below

Other than 'Normal', 'Eco' and 'Sport' modes change the throttle characteristics a bit, but not so much as it does in the dual-clutch tranmission (DCT) equipped Kona N Line.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Driving Performance Breakdown
Engine Acceleration 3 / 5
In-gear Acceleration 4 / 5
Throttle Response 4 / 5
Transmission Shift Logic 2 / 3
Smoothness 5 / 5
Sport/Manual Mode 2 / 3
Steering Accuracy 2 / 3
Response 2 / 3
Weight & Feel 2 / 3
Braking Distance 3 / 3
Feel 2 / 3
Handling Chassis Balance 1.5 / 3
Grip 1.5 / 3
Load Reaction 1.5 / 3
Total   35.5 / 50

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active: Ride Comfort - 34.5/50, A little firm

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 09

Our main gripe with the pre-facelift Kona was its rough ride. It's firm, feels under-damped, and it fails to absorb road bumps well. For the passengers, this results in an unnecessarily uncomfortable ride.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 10

Though it may not be as much as a problem as that, this facelifted Kona still has a rather firm suspension setup. Driving along highways are fine, but take it along pockmarked and marred roads, and you'll still feel jolts coming into the cabin.

Other than that, the seats are quite comfortable. Their sporty design might make it a bit tight for those who are slightly big-sized, but there's enough support along the sides and bottom.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Cabin noise
0 km/h (A/C off) 37 dB
0 km/h (A/C on) 43 dB
60 km/h (A/C on) 57 dB
90 km/h (A/C on) 62 dB
110 km/h (A/C on) 68 dB

Wind noise is hardly an issue, as the Kona provides excellent sound insulation – in fact, better than any segment rival.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 11

Rear seat space is a bit of a premium (we'll get to that in a bit), but the high-quality, supple materials wins some points.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Ride Comfort Breakdown
Sound Proofing 8 / 10
Suspension 6 / 10
Passenger Comfort 6 / 10
Seat Support 3.5 / 5
Ergonomics 3 / 5
Engine Refinement 8 / 10
Total points 34.5 / 50 pts

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active: Interior space – 28.5/50, Tight at the back

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 12

A squat physique and abrupt lines means that this is a bit of a cramped SUV, at best suitable for small families.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 13

Adjustability for the front seats are ace, and finding a proper seating position won't be hard as there's a 10-way power adjustable seat (manual for the passenger), as well as a tilt-and-telescopic adjustable steering wheel.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 14

Bonus points for height adjustment on the passenger seat - not many cars come with this feature.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 15

Space in front isn't so bad; it's the back that's a bit of a problem. If the driver and front passenger are tall, then their seating positions are likely to rob what little rear space there is.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 16

Gets a bit tight at the back

Case in point: Jason's 177 cm tall, and with the seat adjusted to his driving position, legroom is only about one tennis ball's worth. Headroom is also the same.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 17

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 18

Other than that, there's a centre armrest, and a smattering of medium-sized cubby spaces around. Most of them will fit a bottle, phone, and wallet just fine. Speaking of cupholders, you'll get 8 of them.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 19

The boot isn't the biggest out there too, with a total of 361 litres. More space can be afforded by stowing away the 60:40 split-folding seats, and under the boot is a tyre repair kit.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 20

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Interior Space Breakdown
Front Row 7 / 10
Middle/Back Row 5 / 10
Boot Space 3 / 5
Practicality 3 / 5
Storage Space 3 / 5
Visibility 4 / 5
Storage Flexibility 3.5 / 5
Total 28.5 / 50 pts

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active: Quality and Features – 36/50, Well-equipped

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 21

Take away the objective questions for a bit – space, price, performance – there's one thing that the Kona offers that's almost impossible to put a price on, and that's making you stand out.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 22

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 23

Pops in all the right places

Dark colour options are available, but in something bright like this Dive in Jeju light blue shade, you'll really stick out. For some, this is more than enough reason to consider the Kona already.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Panel Gaps (mm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side Difference
Bonnet 3.5 4.5 1
Front Fender 4.5 4 0.5
Front to Rear Door 5 4.5 0.5
Rear Door to quarter panel 4.5 3.5 1
Tailgate 5 5.5 0.5

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 24

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 25

This is not the N Line, so its looks are more gentle than aggressive. As far as exterior kit is concerned, it comes with 18-inch wheels, LED head- and taillights, and heated (for water dissipation) side mirrors.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Paint Thickness (µm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side
Front Bonnet 103
Front Fender 84 83
Front Door 96 92
Rear Door 77 88
Rear Quarter Panel 98 98
Tailgate 85
Roof 108
Average paint thickness: 92 µm ±8

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 26

Lots of soundproofing materials contribute to the Kona's great sound insulation.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Exterior Materials
Bonnet Soundproofing Material Thin
Struts Manual
Front Fenders Soundproofing Material Yes
Doors Front Windows Single-glaze
Rear Windows Single-glaze
Construction Multi-piece
Boot Opening Manual

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 27

For all the outside visual drama, the Kona's cabin is relatively sedate. Ours had light beige inserts (only available with the Dive in Jeju exterior colour) so those brightened things up somewhat.

Every other exterior colour only gets an all-black interior and that makes it all look rather ho-hum.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 28

A little 'normal' looking, but it looks and feels hardy enough to last a long time. Solid plastics, supple leather, and soft-touch materials give a heightened sense of quality. 

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active  - Cabin Material Use
Seat Seat Cover Leather
Armrest Armrest Cover Leather
Dashboard Upper Section Soft Plastic
Lower Section Hard Plastic
Front Doors Upper Section Hard Plastic
Middle Section Leather
Lower Section Hard Plastic

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 29

Across all four variants, the Malaysian-spec Kona gets an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, chiming sound through a 6-speaker surround sound setup.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 30

Retractable head-up display (HUD) reads more than just speed

The headunit is smooth, with no discernible lag, and it's easy to look at it in the day as well. Sound quality however is just passable - don't expect thumping bass and crystal clear instrumentation and you'll be alright.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 31

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 32

There's snow, mud, and gravel modes, probably won't find much use in Malaysia

A healthy list of features round off the Kona's advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) package.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 33

There's a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert (BSM & RCTA, which admittedly can get very beepy), lane keeping assist (LKA), lane following assist (LFA), and forward collision avoidance assist (FCA, or AEB in other words).

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Quality & Feature Breakdown
Exterior Paint Finish 4 / 4
Panel Gaps 2 / 4
Assembly Quality 1 / 2
Interior Build Quality 4 / 5
Materials Used 3 / 5
Features Safety 8 / 10
ADAS 3 / 5
Luxury 3 / 5
Convenience 3 / 5
Infotainment 5 / 5
Total   36 / 50 pts

As this isn't the range-topping N Line, the cruise control system here is just the regular variety. Passive safety-wise, all Konas get 6 airbags and ISOFIX tethers, besides the requisite ABS and ESC, among others.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active: Fuel consumption – 13/20, Moderate

 

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 34

After driving around 238.3 km in equal parts urban and highway conditions, the Kona used up 19.88 litres of petrol.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 35

This gives the Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active a fuel consumption figure of 8.3-litre/100 km. This test also constitutes city driving and hard acceleration, so this number might vary depending on your personal use case.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active: Purchase and cost – 20/30, Relatively pricey

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 36

As tested, the 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active starts from RM 136,888. A rather steep asking price, considering it essentially out-prices every other rival.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 37

Meanwhile, the table below shows how much it'll cost to maintain one over five years. The priciest service is at the 36th month / 60,000 km mark, which constitutes the changing of the transmission fluid and drive belt.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active Maintenance Cost
Interval (month / km) Cost (RM)
1st mth / 1,000 km 266.60
6th mth / 10,000 km 266.60
12th mth / 20,000 km 266.60
18th mth / 30,000 km 430.80
24th mth / 40,000 km 337.70
30th mth / 50,000 km 266.60
36th mth / 60,000 km 1,229.40
42nd mth / 70,000 km 266.60
48th mth / 80,000 km 650.50
54th mth / 90,000 km 540.90
60th mth / 100,000 km 354.10
Total 4,876.40

Like other models in Hyundai Malaysia's line-up, the Kona is backed by a five-year / 300,000 km warranty.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 38

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active - Purchase & Cost
Purchase Car Price 10 / 15
Warranty 4 / 5
Cost Maintenance 3 / 5
Fuel Cost 3 / 5
Total   20 / 30 pts

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active: Conclusion – 167.5/250 pts overall

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 39

The Hyundai Kona takes the 'utility vehicle' bit in 'SUV' a bit loosely, and as such, it may not be very suitable if you're looking for a new car to fit your growing family.

Ratings: 2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active in Malaysia - Class-leading smoothness, at a price 40

Instead, it's one for those who want something that stands out in a sea of Japanese cars, something that brings with it a touch of class and smoothness that stands a cut above typical, cheaper rivals.

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Sanjay

Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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