Feature article

Best Hyundai Car Models in NZ: Buying Guide

Hyundai has one of the larger passenger vehicle lineups available in New Zealand.

Last updated: 9 April 2024

Hyundai has one of the larger passenger vehicle lineups available in New Zealand. The South Korean giant has just about everything possible on offer with large SUVs, small SUVs, medium SUVs, performance models, electrics and they even sell a hydrogen-powered vehicle. There are also people movers, vans, hybrids, plug-ins, petrols and diesels.

While Hyundai is light on small hatchbacks with only a couple of performance-oriented N series models and just one sedan, the Ioniq 6, it has compact SUVs in the form of the Venue and the new Kona, while your medium SUV needs are taken care of with the Tucson. Large SUVs include the Palisade and Santa Fe and there's also the Ionic 5 electric. But which ones are the best?

What's the best hybrid Hyundai?

That would be the Kona. Now in its second-generation, the Hyundai Kona is bigger, better equipped and there are more hybrid variants to choose from. The EV version is due here soon too. Of the three powertrains available, the hybrid is the pick. And it highlights the evolution of petrol/electric tech; it used to be good only for city running but now these work just as well out of town as they do in the city, helping lower your emissions profile. This does decent mileage on the electric motor alone and, with 265Nm of torque available, there’s good urge off the mark and plenty for commuting purposes.

Kona has a quiet, refined ride and is a good handler. There’s a sweet driving position, slightly elevated for ease of entry and good visibility. Plus, there are plenty of safety items on board.

While Kona is bigger, it’s still compact enough but now it’s more of a viable option for a family rather than empty nesters with the occasional need to ferry passengers. That sees it with more usable rear seat space and even a decent boot for a compact SUV. It can tow up to 1300kg giving this eco-oriented machine real practicality.

Read the Hyundai Kona hybrid review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Hyundai Kona Hybrid

What's the best electric Hyundai?

You can choose either Ioniq 5 or 6, but we like the out there streamliner sedan, the 6 with futuristic styling. There are rear- and AWD models, the line up ranging in price from $80k up to $125k. The base model has a 53kWh battery, a 111kW/350Nm single motor on the rear and, with efficiency stated at 13.9kWh/100km (thank those aeros), it has a 429km range (WLTP).

The top spec Limited has a dual motor set up with a total of 239kW and 605Nm of torque. Range is a stated 519km with efficiency pegged at 16.9kWh/100km.

It’s a large car, with generous seating space in the rear and wide spacious cabin up front. The styling of the rear end however conspires against boot space, which is tight for such a big car.

It is a very refined car to drive; smooth, quiet and powerful. The power delivery is not too intense, it rolls on progressively but it’s there in abundance when it’s required. And delivered instantly of course. It’s an easy car to mooch about in, the ride is agreeable, the damping resolute over both big bumps and small, and it’s quiet.

Read the Ioniq 6 review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Hyundai Ioniq 6

What about the new Hyundai Santa Fe?

Hyundai is about to launch an all new version of its best seller, and this might be worth waiting for. Although at the moment, there are great deals on the last of the old models. But the new one will be the largest Santa Fe ever, measuring 4830mm long and 1900mm wide, with a wheelbase of 2815mm.

Local specification has yet to be confirmed, but Hyundai’s website shows both a hybrid and petrol model will be sold here.

The new model is drastically different from its predecessor styling wise, and the increased dimension means there is more room inside, with all occupants getting extra leg- and headroom in both the second and third rows.

Upfront there will be a panoramic curved display mounted on the dashboard, featuring a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and same-sized infotainment system. Most of the materials you’ll find inside are eco-friendly, with the headliner, floor mats, seatbacks, door trim and more being made from recycled materials.

View listings on Trade Me Motors: Hyundai Santa Fe


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.