Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Hyundai Kona 2024 review: Long-term | Part 2

How big is big enough in the new-car world? (Image: Andrew Chesterton)

Okay, so if you’ve been following these dispatches — and, frankly, you’d be mad not have been — you’ll know my long-term chariot isn’t just any Hyundai Kona, but the cheapest, petrol-powered variant.

And as we’ve touched on, there’s so much bang for your buck on offer here it’s hard to see how you could justify stepping up from our $32,000 vehicle to the more expensive $39,500 Kona Premium.

I don’t know about you, but $7.5K isn’t chump change in the Chesto household, and given the entry-level model arrives with 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, a big 12.3-inch central display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a decent six-speaker stereo – plus there's a with a wireless charge pad and USB ports aplenty – I don’t know that I could justify the price jump.

Sure, the Premium adds a second 12.3-inch digital instrument display, better eight-speaker Bose audio, heated and ventilated front seats, partial-leather trim and navigation. But honestly, I haven’t missed any of that so far.

Well, maybe I’ve missed the easier-to-clean seats, given my dog has an infuriating habit of slobbering on them, but I haven’t $7500 missed them, if you know what I mean?

So, with that covered, we move onto the second big question, and that is how much SUV do you actually need?

I know the trend is to go to the biggest, heaviest, thirstiest SUV your budget can stretch to, but I think it’s time we take a closer look at that trajectory.

It’s bonkers. And frankly, unless you have kids — and lots of them — that require a larger SUV, I’d argue a clever small SUV like the Kona will be more than enough vehicle to fulfil your cargo-carrying needs, and will save you a small fortune in the process.

Christmas is a time of blown budgets, massive presents, long road trips and beach adventures, and never – not once – did I wish I had something bigger over the holidays.

A 65-inch television, new in its massive box can be popped in the boot, seats folded down, easily enough. (Image: Andrew Chesterton) A 65-inch television, new in its massive box can be popped in the boot, seats folded down, easily enough. (Image: Andrew Chesterton)

A six-foot surfboard slides straight in through the boot, and ends up with its nose nestled between the front seats. A 65-inch television, new in its massive box (and also not mine, I'm afraid) can be popped in the boot, seats folded down, easily enough.

A weekend’s worth of camping gear disappears no problem, including a massive off-road cart to wheel the stuff around on arrival. And enough bags, food, dog supplies — including bed — and beach gear can be carried from Sydney to the NSW south coast without so much as breaking a sweat. 

We have really put the Kona through its paces to date, and through a lot of kilometres. We've had five people on board, a boot full of stuff, knocked off trips short and long and have never felt overly cramped or like we needed to carry more stuff.

The Kona is technically a small SUV, though its dimensions begin to stretch that definition, and competes in a category that delivered 174,481 vehicles last year. 

Vehicles the next size up – the mid-size SUV segment, home to models like the Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 – found 268,480 buyers over the same period. 

Step up again, this time to the large-SUV segment — home to the Ford Everest, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Kluger etc — and there were a total 155,970 buyers.

The entry-level Kona arrives with 18-inch alloys. (Image: Andrew Chesterton) The entry-level Kona arrives with 18-inch alloys. (Image: Andrew Chesterton)

Finally, there were more than 23,000 people shopping in the upper-large segment, for things like the Nissan Patrol and Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series.

And do you mean to tell me there were almost half a million new-car shoppers last year for whom a vehicle the size of the Hyundai Kona wouldn’t have been big enough?

Bollocks, I say. So it must be something else, and I suspect a lot of it has to do with the “mine’s bigger than yours” effect.

Don't believe me? Just look at the pick-up truck segment. Or better yet, compare a HSV Maloo and a RAM 1500 side by side. Honestly, if things keep growing at the rate they have been, your next tradie will be pulling up in an 18-wheeler.

The Kona is also frugal enough — though, at around 9.0L per hundred kilometres, it could definitely be more frugal — and powerful enough to propel you through the city, even if it does get buzzy and noisy on the freeway.

So, I ask again, how much car is enough? Because for me, a Kona-sized SUV has filled the vehicle-shaped hole in my life pretty snuggly.

Acquired: October 2023

Distance travelled this month: 1679km

Odometer: 9042km

Average fuel consumption this month: 9.1L/100km


Based on new car retail price

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.