Hyundai plays catch-up with new subcompact SUV

Posted June 13, 2017

Euisun Ching, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Company, said: "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". The rear taillights are reminiscent of recent Hyundai cars such as the Tucson and i20.

On the rear are slim brake lights, turn indicators and reverse lamp, surrounded by protective skin that begins at the C-pillar.

It seems like the Hyundai Kona SUV has been around for ages, with more teases for Hyundai's new compact SUV than you can shake a stick at, and even a photo of the new Kona completely undisguised on a promo photo shoot.

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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. It will have other engine options as well. Mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT), the diesel Kona is quicker - 0-100kmph in 7.7 seconds and top speed of 210kmph. The company will market 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter gasoline engine models in North America. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the petrol Kona can clock 0-100kmph in 10 seconds, Hyundai claims. The turbocharged powerplant is optimised for efficiency and produces 120PS.

Also available will be a 1.6 diesel engine for select markets, including Europe.

For suspension, Kona gets MacPherson struts at the front.

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Different rear suspension systems have been developed for both 2WD and 4WD, to deliver a comfortable ride and sporty handling with either drive train. With crossovers commanding an ever-larger slice of customer dollars across the entire industry, it was only a matter of time before Hyundai added a smaller, more lifestyle-oriented option to its popular line-up of SUVs, which now includes the Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Sport, and the Tucson.

Hyundai has also made a decision to fit the Kona with a multi-link rear axle with the intention of improving ride and handling, alongside a sophisticated traction control system called Advanced Traction Cornering Control.

Hyundai will pack the Kona with blind spot warning, traffic collision warning (which detects when another auto comes in Kona's reversing path), driver attention warning, high beam assist, lane keep assist, and more.

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Safety looks set to be a high priority with the Kona. Named after a district in Hawaii, the Kona continues Hyundai's tradition of naming a vehicle after a particular region. Admittedly these offerings may not be of too much use with a maximum power output of 175bhp, but Hyundai's newly formed N performance division may be called in to improve that.