Hyundai’s new Kona crossover might be small, but for its parent company, it’s a really big deal. Not only does it ride on a brand-new B-segment platform, the Kona previews a funky new styling direction for Hyundai’s entire utility vehicle lineup. It’s a good thing consumers have been warming to the oddball designs of SUVs like the Jeep Cherokee and Nissan Juke. The Kona certainly proves this styling trend isn’t going to die anytime soon.
Indeed, comparisons to the Cherokee, Juke, and even Toyota C-HR are warranted, though to our eyes, the Kona looks better than all of those. That’s especially true especially up front, where the Kona uses a split-light design. The top row of LED running lights incorporate the crossover’s turn signals, while the larger housings below hold the Kona’s LED headlights. Black cladding – Hyundai calls this the Kona’s “armor” – is present on the front and rear fascias, as well as the body sides. Around back, slim taillights are reminiscent of other recent Hyundai designs, though the turn signals and reverse lights are housed in a separate cluster closer to the bottom (weird). The Kona also gets a two-tone look, with a contrasting black roof, though you can also swap that out for white, or body-colored options.
In the U.S., the Kona will use a pair of four-cylinder gas engines, mated to both front- and all-wheel drive configurations, and we’ve also heard future electrified models are on the way. On the base end, the Kona will have a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine, with 147 horsepower and 132 pound feet of torque. It’ll be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and Hyundai says this model will sprint from 0-62 miles per hour in 10 seconds, with a top speed of 120 mph, though we aren’t sure if that acceleration time is with front- or all-wheel drive.
Gallery: 2018 Hyundai Kona Live In Seoul
Hyundai says the Kona will deliver best-in-class interior space, with more headroom than any of its competitors.
A more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-four will also be on offer, with 175 hp, 195 lb-ft of torque, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Acceleration benefits are substantial, the turbo model running 0-62 mph in 7.7 seconds, on its way to a 130-mph top end (again, we don’t know if that’s with front- or all-wheel drive).
Kona buyers in Europe can also spec a 1.0-liter turbocharged inline-three with a six-speed manual transmission, producing 118 hp. In addition, Europe and other global markets will have a 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel option. Neither of these powertrains are expected to come to the U.S. as of this writing.
Depending on the drivetrain, the Kona can be fitted with two different rear suspensions. With front-wheel drive, there’s a torsion beam setup, but opting for all-wheel drive lands you a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension. We’re eager to feel the differences between these two designs when we get to drive the Kona in the near future.
Inside, Hyundai says the Kona will deliver best-in-class interior space, with more headroom than any of its competitors. The rear seats fold flat, and there’s a two-level load floor in the cargo bay. On the technology front, the Kona will come packed with all the latest and greatest features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, housed in a choice of five-, seven-, or eight-inch infotainment displays. Hyundai will also offer a new head-up display that projects graphics onto a dash-mounted glass panel – sort of like what Mazda does with the Mazda3.
The first Konas will hit the roads of Hyundai’s home market, South Korea, later this month, before going on sale globally.
Safety systems will be plentiful, as well. Though it’s unclear if these will be standard or optional, Hyundai will pack the Kona with blind spot warning, traffic collision warning (which detects when another car might impede the Kona’s reversing path), driver attention warning, high beam assist, lane keep assist, and more.
We aren’t far off from seeing the Kona on U.S. roads – it’s scheduled to go on sale this year. In fact, the first Konas will hit the roads of Hyundai’s home market, South Korea, later this month. Furthermore, the Kona platform will lend itself to Hyundai’s sister company, Kia, to underpin its new Stonic CUV.
We’ll have a lot more news about the new Kona later this week, including live images and butt-in-seat impressions, so watch this space for more.
Live Photos: Steven Ewing / Motor1.com
Gallery: 2018 Hyundai Kona
KONA: World Premiere of an Urban SUV for an Active Lifestyle
• Hyundai Motor launches KONA, its first global B-segment SUV
• Voluminous, aggressive body styling, complemented by a low and wide stance
• Advanced technology and class-leading safety features for urban pleasure-seekers
• All-new sub-compact SUV platform to set new standards for the B-SUV segment
June 13, 2017 – Hyundai Motor has unveiled the latest vehicle in its expanding line-up of stylish SUVs, the KONA compact SUV. With a strong, impactful design and uncompromised individuality, theKONA is designed to appeal to modern customers with active lifestyles.
The KONA joins Tucson, Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport in a growing line-up of Hyundai Motor SUVs, as the company continues to widen customer choice in the segment. At the world premiere of its new B-segment SUV, Hyundai Motor reaffirmed its promise to deliver SUVs that feature progressive design with high interior refinement and spaciousness.
The KONA will go on sale in Korea later this month, followed by North America and Europe.
“With the KONA, we have created a stylish and highly functional compact SUV, perfectly suited to the needs of customers who pursue challenging, action-filled lifestyles,” said Euisun Chung, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Company. “We aim to set new standards for the compact SUV segment, with appealing design, cutting-edge connectivity and class leading safety features.”
Uncompromised individuality and purposeful character
The KONA is a brand-new challenger in the B-SUV segment, with uncompromised individuality and innovative features. The KONA’s bold, daring image hints at the future design direction of Hyundai Motor’s next generation of SUV models and creates a unique proposition in the compact SUV segment.
KONA stands out from the crowd with high contrast design elements and striking style. Its masculine protective, ‘armor’, combines powerfully with the futuristic LED lighting to create a high-tech look. Despite its unique appearance, the KONA doesn’t sacrifice sophistication and is highly capable – a combination designed to appeal to the Millennial demographic.
Unique and stylish exterior design
The KONA’s stand-out design is reinforced by the car’s voluminous, aggressive body styling, that emphasizes the car’s well-proportioned, dynamic silhouette. Its low and wide stance complements the car’s stylish profile, with the long wheel base and short overhangs ensuring sporty, nimble handling, in addition to delivering superior driving stability at high speed.
‘Composite lamps’ enhance the KONA’s high-tech and mechanical appearance. The slim daytime running lights (DRL) incorporate turn signals and are positioned in a ‘stack’, separate to the LED headlights.
The KONA’s front is powerful, as its ‘armor’ shows its readiness for extreme activities. The compact SUV also adopts Hyundai Motor’s new family identity, the Cascading Grille, featuring a sporty mesh pattern, flanked by exceptional wing-type fenders that dominate the front design.
The visual relationship between the composite lamps, Hyundai's signature cascading grille and the unique armor design results in a totally distinct character, which is important in the increasingly competitive B-SUV segment.
Further stand-out design elements at the side reinforce the car’s tough and functional qualities. Most notably the contrasting black ‘armor’ that provides a protective skin and visually connects the front to the rear.
As with the front LED arrangement, the rear light configuration also creates a truly unique signature appearance. The slim brake lights, turn indicators and reverse lamp are placed in a separate configuration, surrounded by protective skin that begins at the C-pillar garnish.
In addition to the instantly recognizable shape, a number of playful color variations allow buyers to customize their KONA. The roof is finished with a two-tone color scheme, providing high contrast between the body and wheels – satisfying customers with a desire to express their individuality.
Spacious interior delivers comfort and convenience
The unique features of the exterior continue inside, with a strong horizontal character line creating a wide and spacious feel.Even with its compact dimensions and low roof line, the KONA delivers best-in-class interior space.
The sleek and simple layout interior contrasts with the bold, adventurous exterior design. The AVN (Audio, Visual, Navigation) monitor incorporates Hyundai Motor’s advanced infotainment features. The monitor appears to float on the dashboard, contributing to the sense of openness.
The mechanical air vents and functional button arrangement reflect the high-tech functionality of the exterior. The AVN and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls are surrounded by soft, fluid details that contribute to a sensuous experience and enhance the comfort-focused environment.
The all-new compact platform has been developed to provide customers with a true SUV experience. SUV-level ground clearance and an elevated seating position ensure better visibility for drivers and increases comfort on long journeys.
KONA offers occupants generous interior space by optimizing the underfloor layout, including the 4WD drivetrain and exhaust system, to reduce central tunnel intrusion. The suspension component layout is optimized at the rear, allowing for a lower floor and seating position to deliver class-leading levels of headroom and ease of access for rear occupants.
Designers also optimized interior space to maximize luggage storage capabilities, reflecting the requirements of customers with active lifestyles. The split-folding rear seats fold flat, with a two-level loading floor that allows easy access for a bicycle or golf club storage.
All-new platform delivers exceptional power and performance
With an all-new compact SUV platform developed for the KONA, Hyundai Motor looks to set new performance standards for the compact SUV segment. The powertrain layout is optimized to create a compact platform capable of incorporating the car’s four-wheel-drive system while maintaining interior space.
The KONA blends exceptional fuel efficiency with a fun urban driving experience, delivering power and performance levels that are not often found in vehicles in its segment. The range of small-displacement turbo-charged petrol engines and diesel powertrains deliver a dynamic driving experience for nimble, easy motoring.
The new KONA is offered with a combination of gasoline and diesel engines of various power outputs – dependent on the market.
A 2.0-liter MPI Atkinson engine produces 149PS, with a 0-100km/h time of 10 seconds and a top speed of 194km/h. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine delivers maximum torque of 179 NM (13.8 kgf · m) at 4500rpm.
The Gamma 1.6T-GDI engine boasts 177PS, a 0-100km/h time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 210km/h. The engine delivers maximum torque of 265NM (27kgf · m) from 1,500 to 4,500rpm and is mated to Hyundai’s efficient and responsive seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT).
In addition to the 1.6T-GDI engine, customers in Europe can also opt for Hyundai’s downsized 1.0 T-GDI turbocharged three-cylinder engine with six-speed manual transmission. This turbocharged powerplant is optimized for efficiency and produces 120PS, a 0-100km/h time of 12 seconds, top speed of 181km/h and maximum torque of 172NM (17.5kgf · m) from 1,500 to 4000 rpm.
Also available will be a 1.6 diesel engine for select markets, including Europe.
The newly-developed SUV’s chassis is engineered to be rigid, topped with a lightweight body for dynamic driving performance and a comfortable ride. The platform is optimized to permit SUV levels of ground clearance, while the optional 4WD system and drivetrain is intelligently packaged to offer a spacious interior despite its compact proportions.
To integrate the optional four-wheel drive system, Hyundai Motor engineers created a new intercooler layout and setting for the transmission to minimize intrusion into the cabin space. The rear layout of the platform is also optimized to save space. The suspension, fuel and exhaust components carefully package to maximize rear occupant room.
The front suspension features a McPherson strut system, receiving a new sub-frame bush mounting and best-in-class tire trace to enhance comfort and reduce NVH. The system incorporates SUV geometry for refined body movement on rough roads or harsh off-road terrain.
Different rear suspension systems have been developed for both 2WD and 4WD, to deliver a comfortable ride and sporty handling with either drivetrain. At the front, the rear subframe receives new bush structure for the 2WD suspension set-up, with a high-stiffness torsion beam for greater stability and control. The 4WD configuration features a dual-arm multi-link suspension system to refine overall driving dynamics on all surface types.
Strong and protective body for passenger safety
Hyundai Motor is the only car manufacturer to make its own steel to produce its vehicles globally, providing great benefits for the KONA. The lightweight body frame has been developed with 51.8% Advanced High Strength Steel to deliver class-leading levels of passive safety.
Hot stamping methods produce lightweight, super-strong structural elements to maximize the cabin’s central safety zone. This proves that small cars can deliver exceptional passenger protection. The length of structural adhesives used in production extends to 114.5 meters, providing additional torsional rigidity and further reducing weight – which also benefits fuel efficiency.
The platform also features an innovative multi-load path structure – an advanced energy dispersion technology that boosts impact tolerance by dispersing crash energy across multiple structures to protect passengers in the event of an accident.
Class-leading driver assistance through active safety systems
Hyundai Motor sets out to care for its customers in all of its activities. The new model showcases Hyundai Motor’s capabilities and commitment to enhancing the safety of drivers, passengers and fellow road-users.
Class-leading active safety features include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), which uses the car’s front-facing camera and radar to detect imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking autonomously. Three further systems also utilize the front-view camera to boost safety and convenience: Lane Keeping Assist (LKA); High Beam Assist (HBA); and Driver Attention Warning (DAW).
By sensing road markings, Lane Keep Assist helps to prevent accidental lane departure by steering the car automatically if required. High Beam Assist automatically controls the high beams depending on surroundings, while the Driver Attention Warning system monitors a spectrum of driver-related characteristics to detect driver fatigue or careless driving.
The car’s radar systems also assist with the Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) to detect approaching vehicles that may be obscured from view during high speed driving. The Rear Cross-Traffic Collison Warning (RCCW) detects when another vehicle may have entered the car’s reversing path.
Advanced infotainment and connectivity technology
The KONA boasts a suite of sophisticated technologies, paired with user-friendly functionality to ensure driver and passengers can stay informed and entertained. The premium infotainment system offers various advanced connectivity features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay where specified with a 5-, 7- or 8-inch display (offered as standard or option dependent on market). Further options include DAB digital radio (Europe), HD Radio (North America), rear view camera display, and 4G telematics (North America) to ensure absolute connectivity.
A new combiner Head-Up Display (HUD) is fitted to the KONA, projecting a virtual image onto the clear glass panel mounted behind the instrument panel to enable the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. With a projected image size of eight-inchs at a two meter distance and class-leading luminance of more than 10,000 candela per square meter, the KONA’s combiner HUD ensures both excellent day- and night-time visibility. Information projected to enhance safety and usability include speed, navigation instructions, Lane Departure Warning messages, and audio information. Deployed vertically by a simple touch of a button beside the steering wheel, the combiner disappears into the dashboard when not in use.
In a first for the segment, the KONA features smartphone wireless charging. Available as an option with all KONA models, customers simply place a compatible smartphone on the wireless charging interface, located in the center console storage, to easily recharge without the need for cables. The system also indicates when the phone has fully charged, reminds occupants to remove their phone when exiting the vehicle, and detects when a foreign object is in the recharging area that could interfere with charging.
Enhanced driving dynamics for urban and off-road fun
The KONA was developed with a focus on enhanced driving dynamics and responsive performance for city driving. The wide, long wheelbase and short overhangs create a planted stance that results in exceptional agility in busy urban environments and enhanced stability when driving at speed.
The three differentiated driving modes (Sports, Normal and Eco) optimize the torque distribution and gear-shift settings to make the compact SUV suitable for all driving style requirements. In Sport mode, there is a greater emphasis on acceleration with early downshift on braking, while Eco mode optimizes fuel economy over performance with longer gear ratios.
The KONA name
Hyundai Motor continues the approach established by Tucson and Santa Fe of naming crossover and SUV models after acclaimed travel destinations. The KONA is named after the coastal region on the Big Island of Hawaii, USA. The KONA region is famous among thrill-seeking travelers and the island’s energetic image is reflected in the innovative, practical and highly functional design of Hyundai Motor’s new lifestyle-focused SUV.
KONA Iron Man Special Edition
At the world premiere of the all-new KONA, Hyundai Motor unveiled a special edition that shares the name of the Marvel’s heroic and powerful character – Iron Man.
The KONA’s design is inspired by the strong, armored appearance of the Iron Man suit, with its powerful lines echoing the sensual body of the comic and cinematic hero. Again, aligning its characteristics with the technologically advanced Stark Industries armored suit, the KONA Iron Man Special Edition majors on safety and advanced technologies.
With greater width (+40mm) the KONA Iron Man Special Edition presents a confident stance while suggesting a voluminous interior. Further visual enhancements set apart the Iron Man edition from the standard KONA. Special LEDs are applied to the headlights, which sit beneath a matt grey hood, embellished with red and gold accents.
The KONA Iron Man Special Edition’s dynamic exterior is further complemented by a 19-inch directional wheel badged with an Iron Man Mask in the center as well as off-road tires 716mm in outside diameter.
The special edition will go on display at Hyundai Motor’s newest Motorstudio in Goyang, Korea for a month following its global reveal.