Having secured immediate sales success with the Creta, Hyundai South Africa is considering the local introduction of the Kona, which could slot in between the Indian-built Creta family car and the ever popular Tucson.
Built on a scaled version of the Korean manufacturer's latest compact car platform, the Kona carries on the Hyundai tradition of naming its SUVs after American destinations. "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."
Compared with the Creta (also known as the ix25 in some markets), the Kona features bolder crossover-flavoured-hatchback styling and the entire package is altogether more upmarket. Apart from the obligatory dark plastic cladding, the "floating" roof is in a contrasting colour and the front lighting consists of a triple stack of LEDs, which looks very futuristic (the running lights sit at the top of the nose, with the main beams under them). Despite its high-tech good looks, Hyundai claims the new Kona will be very capable in low-grip road conditions; standard versions will be front-wheel driven, but top derivatives will be offered with all-wheel drive configuration.
Kona looks to be a stylish yet practical B-segment SUV. Petrol and diesel engines are available.
This segment of the market prides itself on customisation and the Hyundai Kona offers a number of colour variations and combinations. The two-tone roof is a nice touch. There were no interior shots to accompany this article, but Hyundai claims the Kona has best-in-class interior space, which if true, will give it a competitive edge.
The Hyundai Kona is assembled on an all-new compact platform which is designed to give owners a proper SUV experience, which means an elevated driving position and substantial ground clearance. Kona will be offered with a choice of either petrol or diesel engines, and four-wheel drive is available, but not standard across the range. Some of the engines include:
- 2.0-liter petrol engine produces 110 kW and 179 Nm. 0-100kph in 10 seconds and a top speed of 194 kph. It comes with a six-speed automatic transmission.
- 1.6T-GDI engine boasts 130kW and 265 Nm and it's possible to do a 0-100kph in 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 210kph. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT) is standard.
- 1.0 T-GDI turbocharged three-cylinder engine with six-speed manual transmission and has 88 kW and 172 Nm. \
It's not confirmed for SA as yet, but we'd be surprised if it didn't come to our market.
The Hyundai Kona features a premium infotainment system which offers various advanced connectivity features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It can be 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) for connectivity. A head-up display and a wireless charging pad are also fitted.
The newcomer has been earmarked for right-hand-drive markets (Australia will receive the Kona by September), but not the Africa-Middle East region (under which South Africa falls) – at least not yet. However, considering how briskly the local compact family car segment is growing, we'd think it could fare better (sales-wise) than the upcoming i30 compact hatchback!
Watch an interior video of the Kona below:
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