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By Craig Cole Jun 12, 2017

The 2018 Hyundai Kona subcompact crossover just made its world debut in South Korea.

This is the brand’s first global B-segment SUV. With an overall length of about 164 inches and a wheelbase spanning roughly 103, it’s perfectly sized to compete with rivals like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3.

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Kona will round out Hyundai’s lineup of crossover vehicles, joining the Tucson, Santa Fe Sport, and Santa Fe models. Like its larger siblings, this new offering is named after a popular travel destination, specifically a picturesque district on the big island of Hawaii.


Previewing what’s in store for future Hyundai utility vehicles, the Kona has a bold design and will even be available with a two-tone roof. This vehicle’s face is dominated by the brand’s new “Cascading Grille,” which features a mesh pattern. The front fenders are broad and help provide an aggressive appearance.

The Kona is built around an all-new crossover architecture that provides several desirable traits, chiefly greater ground clearance and elevated seating, the latter of which should improve outward visibility and passenger comfort. Additionally, Hyundai projects this subcompact vehicle will offer best-in-class rear headroom. In the cargo hold, there’s a two-level load floor for greater versatility.

SEE ALSO: Honda HR-V vs Mazda CX-3

Enhancing safety, the Kona’s structure is comprised of about 52 percent high-strength steel, a custom variety made by Hyundai. Further increasing strength and torsional rigidity is more than 375 feet of structural adhesive.

Given its global ambitions, the Kona will offer a wide array of different powertrains. Depending on market, gasoline and diesel engines will be available.

The base offering is a port-injected, naturally aspirated four-cylinder that displaces 2.0 liters. It should provide 147 horsepower and a zero-to-62 mile-an-hour time of around 10 seconds, which is completely adequate. This engine will be paired with a conventional six-speed automatic transmission.

For drivers that want greater performance – and likely even better fuel economy – Hyundai will also offer a 1.6-liter turbocharged unit. Rated at around 175 horses, it also churns out an estimated 195 lb-ft of torque. Matched with a quick-shifting seven-ratio dual-clutch automatic it should be able to hustle the petite Kona to 62 miles an hour in just 7.7 seconds. Not that this figure is very important to crossover customers, but top speed is 125 miles an hour.

A third gasoline-burning engine is also in the works. European customers will be able to get a 1.0-liter three-cylinder. Bolted to a six-speed manual, its 118-horse team should deliver 62 miles an hour in as little as 12 seconds. Finally, a 1.6-liter diesel engine will also be available. Unfortunately, no performance or output figures have been made available at this time.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Hyundai Kona Quick Spin

Four-wheel drive is optional in the all-new Hyundai Kona, but a drive-mode selector should be standard. With Sport, Normal and Eco modes, customers will be able to adjust how the vehicle performs.

On the tech front, an array of advanced driver-assistance features will be available including lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, and a driver drowsiness monitor. Rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring will also be offered, ditto for active forward-collision avoidance, which uses the Kona’s front-facing camera and radar to determine whether a crash is imminent. If so, the vehicle can react, either avoiding the impact altogether or lessening its severity.


Keeping today’s phone-obsessed motorists in the loop, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both offered, as are infotainment systems with five-, seven- or eight-inch screens. Wireless charging for electronic devices is on the menu, as is 4G data for on-the-go internet access.

The all-new 2018 Hyundai Kona subcompact SUV is slated to go on sale in South Korea this month. Deliveries to North America and Europe will follow later in the summer.

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