With the new Kona, Hyundai adds a fourth to its trio of crossover SUVs.
The Kona takes the small, inexpensive title away from the compact Hyundai Tucson, priced and sized well below the mid-size Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe.
A new architecture underpins the Kona, which comes with a 4-cylinder engine, a 6-speed or 7-speed automatic, and front-wheel drive, with an option for all-wheel drive.
Hyundai’s pitching the Kona in the buzzy, youthfully styled niche that already counts the Toyota C-HR and the Nissan Juke. To fit in, the Kona has a wedgy shape, stout fenders with armor-like body cladding, and a contrasting roof.
The Kona’s style is a look ahead at the next generation of larger Hyundai SUVs. On the Kona, it’s sketched with LED headlights and a tall mesh grille, stubby roof pillars and slim taillamps, and deeply sculpted doors. The look is on-trend inside as well as out: the cabin has a softly styled dash with a central infotainment display.
Powertrains for U.S.-spec Kona crossovers will include a 175-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo-4 with 196 pound-feet of torque. It’s a unit shared with the Elantra and Veloster down to its 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. In the Kona, Hyundai predicts 0-60 mph times of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 131 mph. A three-mode drive selector changes power delivery and shift timing through a range of economy, normal, and sport modes.
The base Kona will feature a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-4 teamed with a 6-speed automatic. With 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, its 0-60 mph times will rise to about 10 seconds, and top speed falls to 121 mph.
Around the world, the Kona also will be sold with a 1.6-liter turbodiesel-4 and a 1.0-liter turbo-4. A battery-electric Kona may be in the works, and could have a range of more than 200 miles, but Hyundai hasn’t confirmed its release date, or its existence, for that matter.
Rugged off-road performance isn’t the Kona’s priority, though all-wheel drive is an option. The new crossover SUV has a strut suspension in front; front-drive models sport a rear torsion beam, while AWD editions get a multi-link setup at the rear. That setup promises car-like comfort and ride quality, but Hyundai says the Kona also will have a high seating position and good ground clearance. The Kona’s cargo space has two levels and split-fold rear seats.
Overall, it’s 164.0 inches long, 70.9 inches wide, 61.0 inches tall, and rides on a 102.4-inch wheelbase.
Forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking will be offered on the Kona. Hyundai also will fit some models with active lane control and blind-spot monitors.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be available on some infotainment systems. The range of systems will include 5-, 7-, and 8-inch touchscreen displays. Navigation, in-car data, a rearview camera, a head-up display, smartphone wireless charging, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and HD and satellite radio, will be available.
Hyundai hasn’t priced the Kona or announced an on-sale date in the U.S., but a showroom appointment for late 2017 and a sub-$20,000 base price seem like safe bets.