Hyundai Kona Subcompact Crossover Revealed

Elizabeth Williams
June 13, 2017

The South Korean automaker said it would also launch an electric version of the sporty-looking Kona next year and a smaller SUV and a large SUV by 2020.

Sales of Kona would be crucial to help counter Hyundai's eroding auto sales this year in the USA and China, where a backlash against South Korea's deployment of a US anti-missile system hurt Korean businesses.

Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, introduces the Kona compact SUV during a world premiere event held at the Hyundai Motor Studio in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province.

But in recent years, most growth in global auto markets, especially in China, has come from SUVs. The new look is intended for Hyundai's next-generation SUV lineup, with the next recipient likely to be the new Santa Fe.

Speaking at the launch of the new Nissan Juke-rivalling Kona compact SUV in Seoul, Korea today, Hyundai's vice-chairman Euison Chung said the firm would launch a new "A-SUV" vehicle, smaller than the Kona, by 2020. With an overall length of about 164 inches and a wheelbase spanning roughly 103, it's perfectly sized to compete with rivals like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3.

Hyundai Motor shares ended up 1.2 per cent, versus the broader market's 0.7 per cent rise.

The Korean manufacturer likes to name its crossover and SUV models after travel destinations - we already have Santa Fe and Tucson - so the Kona is named after a coastal district on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The number of small-size SUVs in Korea totaled 107,295 units a year ago, up 24 percent from 86,233 units in 2015, according to findings released by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Given rapidly shifting consumer preferences, it's fitting that Hyundai's new design direction was unveiled on a crossover rather than a sedan.

Hyundai officials said they were aiming for the EV Kona to have a driving range of around 240 miles. Europeans will also get the choice of a 1.6-liter diesel and a 1.0-liter turbo-three, the latter making 120 hp.

A new intercooler layout and setting for the transmission is done to integrate the optional AWD and limit cabin intrusion, Hyundai says. It's flanked by stacked lights - an LED daytime running light strip above and a headlamp unit below.

Enhancing safety, the Kona's structure is comprised of about 52 percent high-strength steel, a custom variety made by Hyundai. All-wheel drive is of course offered with the Kona, and it brings with it a more sophisticated rear suspension setup to smooth out the on-road experience.

While driver attention assist and lane-keeping assistance are both standard, it's a surprising omission that other sophisticated safety tech - such as automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring - will only appear on the options list.

Cars with the 1.6-litre are also billed as offering greater driver appeal - there's an "Advanced Traction Cornering Control" system meant to increase grip and the standard DCT automatic gearbox has a sport mode for more direct gearchanges. A heads-up display (HUD) will also feature on some models.

Other reports by VgToday

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