It feels like it could be time to break up with my 2017 VW GTI.
We've had close to three years together. I love her a lot. Our only rough spot came when her moonroof started to rattle, and it took a really long time for a dealer to figure out what the problem was, and to fix it.
Still, all of my car relationships come to an end. And I've been watching a lot of videos about what could be my next car-love, a 2020 Hyundai Kona.
The 2019 model is fine, but there's a few features on my GTI that I like so much, I can't do without them. Notably, adaptive cruise control and rain-sensing wipers. Plus safety features like blind spot detection.
The top Kona trim, appropriately termed Ultimate, lacked adaptive cruise control in 2019. But pleasingly, the 2020 Ultimate Kona will have it. That led me to head over to our local Hyundai dealer here in Salem, Oregon today for a test drive of a 2019 Kona.
I enjoyed my time with Dane Caccamise of Withnell Hyundai. He was knowledgeable about the car and nicely low-key. I'd told him that I'd researched the Kona extensively, so my main concern was whether I'd enjoy driving it almost as much as my VW GTI.
Reviews of the Kona, both in print and on You Tube, were so positive, I was pretty sure that I'd like how the Kona drove. I was correct.
The Ultimate Kona has the turbo engine and a dual-clutch transmission like the GTI. Even though the Kona only has 175 hp, compared to 220 hp in the GTI (if my memory serves me), the Kona felt just about as quick and responsive as my GTI.
The engine sound wasn't as sporty, except under hard acceleration, when the Kona came to life, sound-wise. But my wife would be pleased with this, as she considers the GTI to be too loud. Partly that's because of the low-profile tires on the GTI. With less rubber between the wheel and the road, road noise is higher.
And after driving the Kona, I have to admit that my GTI did feel a bit too sporty. The suspension is stiff, so you feel imperfections in the road more than I felt them in the Kona.
I like that AWD is available with the Ultimate Kona, since we live in rural south Salem where, when it snows, our long steep driveway is tough to navigate without winter tires. With winter tires and AWD, I'd be more comfortable driving around in snow or ice.
Color remains undetermined. I like the Sunset Orange color. I see a lot of orange Subaru Crosstrek's driving around Salem, but I think the Kona has a richer metallic orange. A plus to this color is that for the 2020 Kona Ultimate , the interior has orange trim for more interest.
(Before, only the controversial lime green Kona had matching interior trim.)
My wife likes the Surf Blue color. But since I'd be the primary driver of the Kona, my preference might win out. And since Laurel absolutely hates the Lime Twist color, orange might appeal to her the way a slap on the wrist is preferable to a baseball bat strike to the head.
There's lots of You Tube reviews of the Hyundai Kona.
But so far as I can tell, there's only one Labrador Retriever review. It doesn't have a heck of a lot of views, but I liked the quirky humor of the Lab's owner. We have two dogs, so every car that enters our household has to be dog-friendly.
The Kona is four inches shorter than my GTI, but the storage area behind the rear seats seems as large, or even larger. The rear seats don't fold completely flat, but if I got a big comfy dog bed like the one in this video, I think our dogs would be just fine with the Kona.