2018 Hyundai Kona Highlander 1.6T AWD SUV COTY Review

2018 COTY Hyundai Kona Highlander Road Test

2018 COTY Kona Highlander There is so much in the Hyundai Kona that it is hard to know where to start.  Hyundai was slow getting a small SUV onto the market but they have now come with a bang.

The Kona shows that small SUVs are not just about a one-dimensional image that inevitably has compromises.   It is now rich in its offerings and deep in its character as it embraces the latest in comfort, performance and safety features.

It is available in three feature options: Active, Elite and Highlander, with an optional safety pack for Active.

The two engines and two transmissions are available in every trim level. We are testing the top of the range Kona Highlander 1.6T DCT AWD here.

At the front the LED daylight running lights are placed at the top just below the bonnet line. The larger traditional headlights are halfway down.  Kevin Teng the creative manager for Hyundai Design in North America spoke of the look as being “eager” with a touch of the “sinister”.

He went on to say that the long bonnet suggests the car has power like a speedboat or an animal leaping forward.  The black composite wheel arch extensions give the impression of the muscles of a predatory animal flexed in preparation to jump.

2018 COTY Kona Highlander

The shark fin C pillar is angled forward and works here in a hatchback style vehicle where it doesn’t on a larger station wagon SUV.

The high mounted LED brake lights make for a strong but not over the top design for the back of the vehicle.

It doesn’t have an automatic tailgate. Our Highlander had 18-inch wheels with a fancy “20 spoke design”.

The boldness of the Kona design is emphasised with colours such as Blue Lagoon, Ceramic Blue, and Dark Knight. The top of the line Highlander has two additional colours, Acid Yellow and Tangerine Comet.

Two dark coloured roof options add to the character of the vehicle.


About David Brown 7 Articles
David’s boyhood passion for motor cars did not immediately lead to a professional role in the motor industry but rather first he worked in the fields of why we travel and how we move about. A qualified Civil Engineer he specialized in traffic engineering and transport planning. What followed were various positions including being seconded to a government think-tank for the planning of transport firstly in Sydney and then for the whole of NSW. After working with the NRMA and as a consultant he has moved to being an independent writer and commentator on the broader areas of transport and the more specific areas of the cars we drive. His half hour motoring program “Overdrive” has been described as an “informed, humorous and irreverent look at motoring and transport from Australia and overseas”. It is heard on 22 stations across Australia. He does weekly interviews with several ABC radio stations and is also heard on commercial radio in Sydney. David has written for metropolitan and regional newspapers and has presented regular segments on metropolitan and regional television stations. He has been an important part of the COTY awards for OzRoamer

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