Style and substance come together.
Hyundai has pulled off quite a feat, bringing to our shores the new Kona crossover just 4-months after its global unveiling. The Kona, named after a western district of Hawaii, promises to offer a blend of practicality, style, excitement and safety in a uniquely-Hyundai package, and first impressions certainly live up to the hype.
The Hyundai Kona will do battle with equally style-focused cars like the Toyota C-HR and Mazda CX-3, while also taking on more conventional contenders like the Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi ASX. The crossover segment commands some 10% marketshare on our shores, and it can be argued that the Kona is a late entrant to the party, with many of its competitors already facing mid-life updates and refreshes.
“Arriving fashionably late for the party means that Hyundai has had the development time needed to deliver a small SUV that is right for its time, and is laser-focused on its target. The Kona boasts a multitude of innovative safety and technological features across a solid model range, featuring engines and transmissions that will appeal to a wide customer base and a wonderful level of customization built in. It will appeal to customers with active lifestyles, a sense of adventure, and a keen eye for value.” — JW Lee, CEO, Hyundai Motor Company Australia
‘Fashionable’ and ‘late’ are certainly the right words to describe the Kona, but so is ‘small SUV.’ It’s common for carmakers to call anything with body cladding and raised ride height an SUV, but the Hyundai Kona actually has the ability to back it up. While ride height and ground clearance might not be up there with a Jeep Wrangler, the availability of all-wheel drive across the board means that it easily outshines rivals that have all of the style and none of the traction. The drivetrain offering is as refreshing as the car itself, which carries a design language that is both familiar and distinctive, sure to win fans here with ease.
The Kona arrives on our shores with prices starting from $24,500 (before on road costs), with the lineup split between Active, Elite, and Highlander variants, with a fourth ‘Active with Safety Pack’ slotting between the lower two trims. The Safety pack in question comes in the form of Hyundai Smart Sense, which bundles things like forward collision-assist, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assistance, automatic high-beam and driver attention warnings, which add to the already impressive standard kit like six airbags, vehicle stability management, emergency stop signal and tyre-pressure monitoring.
The tiered lighting setup up front will certainly grab attention, with LED daytime running lights sitting high on the bonnet, with the headlights sitting beneath them. Hyundai’s ‘Cascading Grille’ moves downwards into the foglights, which are rather oddly set inboard and within the spoiler. Body cladding begins at the front too, extending down the sides and onto the rear, with the profile of the car exuding a sense of agility and muscularity. The two-tone paint finish that can be optioned on Elite and Highlander models accentuate the ‘floating’ D-pillar too, helping to reduce the visual bulk of the compact crossover.
The rear features rather complex design elements, with a tiered tail light design mirroring the arrangement on the front, with the brake lights sitting up high above the indicators, reverse lights and rear fog down below. A third brake light is mounted within the spoiler, which sits flush with the roofline to extend the Kona’s dramatic profile. A silver ‘skid plate’ on the bottom-most edge of the Kona completes its crossover look, and is a sleek sign-off on a design that will most certainly grab the attention of its style-focused target market.
Motivation for the Kona comes in two flavours, both of them petrol. The entry-level engine comes in the form of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder atmo petrol engine, putting out a respectable 110kW and 180Nm, putting power down to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. This tried-and-tested Nu engine is capable of pushing the Kona off the line with decent gusto, hitting 100km/h in 10-seconds, all the while consuming a decent 7.2L/100km on the combined cycle.
If all-wheel drive is your thing, then the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol will appeal to you. Its four cylinders will give you a healthier 130kW and 265Nm, shaving the 0-100km/h time to just 7.9-seconds and the fuel consumption down to 6.7L/100km. The all-wheel drive models come with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and also gain ‘Drive Mode Select’ which allows drivers to scroll through Comfort, Eco, and Sport settings, providing different driving experiences for those behind the wheel, ensuring the Kona is a companion for all seasons.
The Kona’s cabin is rather different than its exterior. Where the suit the Kona wears is designed to set it apart from the rest of the Hyundai range, the cabin feels very much like the latest crop of cars from the marque, with an aesthetically-pleasing if not particularly exciting presentation. There are, however, dashes of coloured trim dotted around the place to help lift the ambiance, which it certainly does. There’s no doubt that the main highlight of the cabin is the 7.0-inch touchscreen, which is available throughout the range, replete with smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android devices. There are large, chunky buttons flanking the screen, making it a boon to use on the move.
All that style hasn’t compromised practicality though, with some 361L of space available behind the rear seats, and a total of 1143L on offer with the rear seats folded. The cargo space enjoys a dual-level floor, which works in harmony with the 60:40 split rear seats to either maximise room or convenience depending on how you want to use your Kona.
Key specs on the four variants include:
- 6 airbags
- Rear view camera
- 3.5” TFT colour supervision cluster
- LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
- Leather appointed steering wheel & knob
- Downhill Brake Control (DBC)
- 16” alloy wheels
- Cruise control
- Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
- 7” multimedia system
- Front & rear power windows
- Auto dusk sensing headlights
- Apple CarPlay compatibility
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- Android Auto compatibility
- Hyundai Auto Link
- Rear park assist system
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Roof Rails
Active with Safety Pack gets additional:
- Blind-spot collision warning
- Lane keep assist
- Driver attention warning
- Forward collision warning
- Power folding exterior mirrors
- Rear cross-traffic alert
Elite models add a further:
- 17” alloy wheels
- Front fog lights
- Carbon grey grille
- Leather appointed seats
- Rain sensing wipers
- Carbon grey exterior cladding
- Smart key & push button start
- One touch up/down drivers window
- Side garnish insert
- Climate control w/ auto defog
- Driver seat back pocket
- Skid plate – rear
- Solar control glass w/ rear privacy
- Front passenger seat back pocket
- Luggage net
And the top-spec Highlander gets:
- 18” alloy wheels
- Head-up display (HUD)
- Heated front seats
- Front park assist system
- Air ventilated front seats
- Electro-chromatic interior mirror
- LED headlights and front indicators
- 4.2” TFT colour supervision cluster
- Wireless charging pad (Qi standard)
- LED taillights
- Power driver’s seat
- Heated steering wheel
- High Beam Assist
- Power passenger’s seat
Both engine and drivetrain setups are offered across the board, and with only ‘Premium paint’ (a $595 premium across the board) and the two-tone paint finish ($295, only on Elite & Highlander cars) the available options.
The 2018 Hyundai Kona arrives in showrooms priced as below:
- Hyundai Kona Active 2.0: $24,500
- Hyundai Kona Active 1.6T: $28,000
- Hyundai Kona Active w/ Safety Pack 2.0: $26,000
- Hyundai Kona Active w/ Safety Pack 1.6T: $29,500
- Hyundai Kona Elite 2.0: $28,500
- Hyundai Kona Elite 1.6T: $32,000
- Hyundai Kona Highlander 2.0: $33,600
- Hyundai Kona Highlander 1.6T: $36,000
All Hyundai Konas come with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, 12-months complimentary roadside assistance, a complimentary first service, and lifetime fixed-price servicing.