Korean firm’s small SUV features a fresh design direction and new tech
James Attwood, digital editor
16 October 2017

Hyundai's assault on the fast-growing compact SUV segment has kicked off as orders for the new Kona are now being taken.

Priced from £16,195, the Nissan Juke rival features a fresh design and a range of new-to-Hyundai technology, including a head-up display and revamped infotainment system.

Another short video of the new #HyundaiKona @Hyundai_UK pic.twitter.com/hUb5LWe3EC

The Kona shares a platform with sister firm Kia’s forthcoming Stonic and comes in five trim levels: S, SE, Premium, Premium SE and Premium GT.

At launch, it gets a choice of two turbocharged petrol engines: a 115bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 123bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder. The latter commands a higher premium of £17,495 and comes only in SE trim or above.

​The 1.0-litre unit will enable a 0-62mph time of 12sec and a top speed of 112mph. It produces 127lb ft of torque at 1500-4000rpm. The more powerful 1.6-litre petrol unit has 174bhp with 195lb ft of torque at 1500-4000rpm. It can achieve 0-62mph in 7.9sec, with a top speed of 127mph.

A six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic are available, as is all-wheel drive - although front-wheel drive is standard. When fitted with the seven-speed 'box, two driver modes are offered: Normal and Sport, the latter of which holds onto gears for longer between shifts.

In base form, the Kona, which sits below the Santa Fe and Tucson in Hyundai’s SUV line-up, gets 16in alloys, air conditioning and cruise control, as well as a 5.0in LCD display and DAB radio. Higher-spec models get 17in or 18in wheels and an 8.0in touchscreen complete with satellite navigation – part of the optional armoury.

First drive: Hyundai Kona 1.6 prototype

A 1.6-litre diesel is due to arrive in the European market at some point in 2018, although it has not yet been confirmed. It will be available in two-wheel drive with 113bhp and a six-speed manual. It produces 134bhp in seven-speed DCT and all-wheel-drive guise.

​Some markets will also be offered the Kona with a 2.0-litre MPI Atkinson engine, although this won't be coming to Europe.

Hyundai plans two new SUVs, electric Kona

Fresh design: Hyundai’s new exterior styling, rugged looks

The Kona features a fresh design for Hyundai, with the adoption of the marque’s new ‘Cascading Grille’ front. Hyundai says it is designed to merge high-tech looks with sophistication to appeal to millennial buyers. The styling was developed at Hyundai's Califonia facility.

Sangyup Lee, Hyundai's head of styling, said: “We wanted to create a character that was strong. As a design, creating an icon is a tough challenge. The overall first impression is about dynamic character.”

There are slim daytime LED running lights positioned above the main headlights – a design similar to that of the Juke. The rear of the Kona features wraparound cladding that houses the indicator and reversing lights, slim LED rear lights and a spoiler with an integrated LED brake light.

There are large plastic areas - which Hyundai says are styled on "protective armour" - that extend over the wheel arches to hint at the Kona’s off-roading capabilities; 16in wheels are standard, with 17in and 18in alloys available as options. Roof racks are available as an exterior option.

There are 10 colour options, with a two-tone roof adding more customisation.

Dimensions: sizing up the Hyundai Kona

The Kona is 4165mm long and 1800mm wide, with a height 1550mm. That makes it slightly shorter and lower than the Juke, but 35mm wider. The Kona’s 2600mm wheelbase is 70mm longer than the Juke's.

The Kona has a ground clearance of 170mm to offer ‘a true SUV experience’. It features an all-steel body.

The Kona has McPherson struts at the front. The 2WD model comes with a couple torsion beam, with a multi-link system on the AWD model. That all-wheel-drive car also comes with traction control.

Inside the Hyundai Kona: clutter-free cabin, fresh infotainment and safety tech

Hyundai’s designers have tried to give the Kona’s interior a premium feel with a clutter-free cabin.

There is 1005mm of head room in the front, with 961mm in the rear. The Kona has a 361-litre boot, compared with a 354-litre boot in the Juke, athough the Kona’s maximum capacity is 1143 litres, 46 fewer than Nissan’s small SUV.

The Kona comes a 5.0in TFT screen as standard, with an optional 8.0in colour touchscreen available. In a first for Hyundai, the Kona is available with a Display Audio system that features connected services, including smartphone syncing using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. A wireless smartphone charging pad is available as an option. An eight-speaker sound system by American audio firm Krell is also available as an option.

In another Hyundai first, the Kona is available with a head-up display, which the firm says has class-leading luminance.

In addition, the Kona is available with a number of active driver assistance systems. These include automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, rear-cross traffic alert and blindspot detection.

European growth

“The all-new Kona is not just another car among Hyundai Motor’s established SUV range – it is an important milestone on our journey to become Asian automotive brand number one in Europe by 2021,” said Thomas Schmid, Hyundai Europe’s chief operating officer.

“With its true SUV genes, a progressive design and premium features, Kona reflects the lifestyle of modern customers, enhancing the brand’s appeal and attracting new customers.”

Opinion: why global car firms love SUVs

Peter Schreyer, boss of design at Hyundai, said: "'We worked hard to embody an expressive spirit. It's untypical and unconventional. We've always wanted to do a compact car with emotion. It has the same affect as a strong espresso…"

Conceived as a global car, the Kona will be adjusted for each market. As well as different engine options, the ride, handling and suspension will be customised for various regions. 

The Kona is named after a coastal region on Hawaii. It continues Hyundai's trend of naming crossover and SUV models after travel destinations, established by the Tucson and Santa Fe.

Read more

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Our Verdict

Hyundai Kona

Hyundai's funky-looking Kona crossover is making all the right noises for the car to be a success in a crowded segment

Join the debate


13 June 2017
'Give me a Juke rival with premium features!' Hideous and deeply cynical product. No doubt people will buy it. But it's hideous.

13 June 2017
scrap wrote:

'Give me a Juke rival with premium features!' Hideous and deeply cynical product. No doubt people will buy it. But it's hideous.

Nothing in the motoring world (save perhaps for the prius and the mirai) comes close to the Puke/Juke for hideousness - you must literally be in a minority of one to suggest otherwise. This Kona is incomparably better designed - it's a quite an eye-catching, suave looking thing with some genuine design touches.

And if you think this is a 'cynical' product for jumping on the suv/cuv bandwagon then cars like the F-Pace and Captur must be outright frauds. At least Hyundai (and Kia) have had extensive experience building crossovers, something that can't be said of jaguar, renault and the rest.

13 June 2017
Going to sell bucket loads, surprised at the power and pace of the 1.6 -not technically of course but its not Hyundai's usual priority.

13 June 2017
We saw the new C3 Aircross offering something close to a junior SUV feel with decent practicality and a highish driving position. This Hyundai is just a hatchback with a smidge more height. Far more i20 than Tucson. I don't dislike it though, some silly plastic aside.

13 June 2017
The next Juke will have to up its game with this and the new Citroën looking so good.

13 June 2017
Nothing new to see here, just a pastiche of other brands' ideas - and the budget had clearly run out by the time they got around to the dashboard.

The next Ford Fusion for the Motability scheme.

13 June 2017
Really? Smacks of desperation to me. The interior is incredibly dull - or does that pass for 'premium' these days? Where's the joy in this car? I'm not keen on the Juke itself, but it was at least original and funky albeit in a pretty grotesque way.
The car-buying public gets what it deserves, unfortunately ...

13 June 2017
Bishop wrote:

The interior is incredibly dull

Agreed. Most car brands (Citroen apart) produce incredibly dull interiors these days, not just 2017 dull but, details apart, this Hyundai interior could have come from anytime in the past quarter century or so. Any 1980s Audi interior looks fresher, so does Rover SD1, or Citroen CX, just to give three examples.

13 June 2017
Another good looking bargain from Hyundai which will sell in bucket loads.
Best of all it's another car launch with no diesel option.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

13 June 2017
So it seems Hyundai have just taken ideas from other car manufacturers, the citroen lighting for example. However one thing they didn't take from citroen was the quality, horrible interior, dull and probably extremely expensive! Not to mention the grille at the front.


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