- Catchy crossover-SUV design theme
- Upgraded safety equipment
- Infotainment includes Apple/Android support
- More a tall wagon than SUV
- High-tech safety will be optional on some models
The 2018 Hyundai Kona joins a growing crossover SUV family, with fresh styling and safety gear in tow.
The Hyundai Kona will make a quartet of crossovers for the automaker when it goes on sale later this year.
The Kona slots behind the Tucson as the smallest, least expensive crossover for Hyundai. It's well below much larger vehicles for the 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.