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That’s how much time Reese Counts was allotted when the Autoblog editor visited Hyundai’s research and development facility in Namyang (about a 90-minute drive from Seoul) to test drive the new 2018 Kona.

Limited to a closed loop and with only 10 minutes behind the wheel, Reese drove a Korean-spec model around the track and managed to hit a top speed of 45 mph and the brakes were used a grand total of three times.

Still, the Kona did impress him with steering that “feels as good as any competitor”. It felt well weighted and provided a surprising amount of feedback in standard drive mode. Unfortunately, the opportunity to try the other drive modes didn’t present itself. As for suspension, it soaked up all the bumps on Hyundai’s track with grace and secondary motions were minimal, though US-spec model’s tuning could differ from what is offered in Korea.

Once on sale, customers can choose between two models; a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic or a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Kona Reese tested featured the latter combination with all-wheel-drive.

Overall he seemed satisfied with the Kona, though power did take an extra second or two to kick in while the clutch engages and there’s a substantial amount of wind noise once the car gets moving.

For now, the “Kona seems to have a lot of potential to be a class leader”, but he’ll reserves judgement until he can sit behind the wheel for more than 10 minutes.
 

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I see that he compared the interior to the new Toyota C-HR and it sounds infinitely better in comparison.

In our short time in the car, all of the materials felt nice to the touch. It isn't luxury-car soft, but nothing felt cheap either.
I don't need leather clad everything, but some cars can feel very cheap on the inside, a cabin where you'll be sitting in for a very long time. Sounds like the C-HR went with cheaper options compared to the Kona and Hyundai's model doesn't feel as claustrophobic, a winner in my books.
 

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Too bad this wasn't a vehicle they offered a manual transmission in because in my opinion aside from the Kia Soul this is the next best korean CUV to get it. 6-speed manual on that 1.6T would be a lot of fun, unless this is in the plan and we'll see it happen around the 6month-1year marker of the Kona.
 

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Sitting inside of the C-HR doesn't feel extremely cheap and bare bones, but it feels a little cheap. It's really not that bad at all in terms of how it feels material wise. However, it does make you feel very claustrophobic and it's quite dark.

A manual version would be fun, but with the percentage of manual drivers slowly decreasing, if they don't include it, it won't be any big deal at all.
 
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