Hyundai has taken the wraps off the all-new Kona crossover that’s intended to take on the likes of the Nissan Juke in international markets. The Kona features a fresh design for the brand and a range of new-to-Hyundai technology, including a head-up display and a revamped infotainment system. The Kona sits below the Santa Fe and Tucson in Hyundai’s SUV line-up, and the firm hopes that it will help increase its client base, particularly in Europe. “The all-new Kona is not just another car among Hyundai Motor’s established SUV range – it is an important milestone on our journey to become the number one Asian automotive brand in Europe by 2021,” said Thomas Schmid, Hyundai Europe’s chief operating officer. The Kona, which shares a platform with sister firm Kia’s forthcoming Stonic will go on sale in Korea next month, followed by North America and Europe. There will initially be a choice of two turbocharged petrol engines, with a 1.6-litre diesel likely to follow in mid-2018. It will be available with front- and all-wheel drive. The Kona is named after a coastal region in Hawaii and, established by the Tucson and Santa Fe, continues Hyundai’s trend of naming crossover and SUV models after travel destinations.
The two petrol engines available at launch will be a 1.0L T-GDI with a six-speed manual transmission and a 1.6L T-GDI with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. The 1.0L unit produces 119.6hp and 172Nm torque at 1,500-4,000rpm, and does 0-100kph in 12sec, with a top speed of 180kph. The more powerful 1.6-litre petrol unit has 176hp with 264Nm of torque at 1,500-4,000rpm. It can achieve 0-100kph in 7.9sec, with a top speed of 204kph. The 1.6-litre diesel is due to reach in the European market at some point in 2018, although it’s not yet confirmed. It will be available in two-wheel drive with 114.5hp and a six-speed manual. It produces 136hp in seven-speed DCT and all-wheel-drive guise. When fitted with the seven-speed box, both petrol and diesel models will feature two drive modes – Normal and Sport, the latter of which holds onto gears for longer between shifts. Some markets will also be offered the Kona with a 2.0-litre MPI Atkinson engine, although this will not be coming to Europe. The Kona features a fresh design for Hyundai, with the adoption of the marque’s new ‘cascading grille’ front. Hyundai says it is designed to combine high-tech looks with sophistication, to appeal to millennial buyers. There are slim LED daytime running lights positioned above the main headlights – a design similar to that of the Juke. The back of the Kona features wraparound cladding that houses the indicator and reversing lights, slim LED back lights, and a spoiler with an integrated LED brake light. There are large plastic areas – which Hyundai says are styled on ‘protective armour’ – that extend over the wheel arches to hint at the Kona’s off-roading capabilities; 16-inch wheels are standard, with 17-inch and 18-inch alloys available as options. Roof racks are also available as an exterior option. The Kona is 4,165mm long and 1,800mm wide, with a height of 1,550mm. That makes it slightly shorter and lower than the popular Nisan Juke, but 35mm wider. The Kona’s 2,600mm wheelbase is 70mm longer than the Juke’s and it has a 170mm ground clearance to offer ‘a true SUV experience’. It features an all-steel body and has McPherson struts at the front. The 2WD model comes with a coupled torsion beam, with a multi-link system on the AWD model. The four-wheel-drive car also comes with traction control.
Hyundai’s designers have tried to give the Kona’s interior a premium feel and a clutter-free cabin. The car comes with a 5.0-inch TFT screen as standard, with the availability of an optional 8.0-inch color touchscreen. In a first for Hyundai, the Kona is available with a Display Audio system that features connected services, including smartphone syncing using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. A wireless smartphone charging pad is available as an option. In another Hyundai first, the Kona is available with a head-up display, which the firm says has class-leading luminance. An eight-speaker sound system by American audio firm Krell is also available as an option. The Kona is available with a number of active driver assistance systems, which include autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, rear-cross traffic alert and blind spot detection.