In the case of the new Kona, Hyundai deserves practically only positive points. The thing that annoyed me the most (and indeed very actively and persistently) about the car is not so much Hyundai’s fault as the decision of some European officials to simply make cars safer. A laudable goal, to be sure… Except that the paths we have to take to get there are somewhat tortuous.
In just a few months, all newly registered cars will have a driver attention system as standard as well as a speed warning system. Both can be turned off (for now), but will be reactivated each time you start. In theory, it’s a good idea for the car to warn you that you’re not looking ahead for too long, or that you’ve missed a speed limit sign, but in the current state of the art, both systems are unreliable and too distracting. Just look in the rearview mirror for a second longer and the car beeps. Just go a single kilometer per hour over the speed limit (with the speedometer reading slightly, so you haven’t actually exceeded anything) and the car beeps. Not to mention that they often don’t know what the actual speed limit is in a location.
In short, I’ve learned to turn it all off before every drive, and I’ll tell you that at the same time, even with the lane keeping system, which you only want to have on the highway, and the stop-start system, which also sometimes doesn’t suit, it’s slowly starting to resemble a pre-flight control in the cockpit of the aircraft. Except that here you still have to wait for the touch screen to wake up.
It’s a shame, because the Kona is otherwise a very well-tuned car. The comfortable chassis suits her, the turbocharged four-cylinder 16 tows very nicely and I found no major reason to complain even after the long journey to the very northeastern tip of Moravia and back. I also like the distinctive design, Hyundai is really not afraid of it lately and makes interesting cars.