To get into the new Hyundai Kona, you need to think outside the traditional crossover box.
Photos by Norman Woo
Ten years ago, if someone were to mention the word “Hyundai” to you, what springs to mind? You probably consider the inconspicuous, rounded shapes of the unassuming Elantra or Accent. Back then, their large Veracruz was just arriving on the scene in the U.S. Sure, with that car Hyundai built a practical, if unadventurous, crossover. Funky, however, it was not. In recent years, Hyundai’s corporate image has matured, and that’s by no means a bad thing. Their latest sedan and SUV offerings are more than just adequate. In some cases, such as the Elantra GT, they’re great alternatives to long-standing, more obvious marques.
However, just as we were starting to get comfortable with Hyundai’s latest image, they’ve gone and flipped the script with this: the new Hyundai Kona. Named after the coastal region of the island of Hawai’i, the Kona seeks to defy all previous conventions. At least in terms of its styling. Watch the video above as TFL’s Nathan Adlen gives you a first look at Hyundai’s new sub-Tuscon crossover.
Bold new exterior styling
Clad in Lime Twist paint, the Hyundai Kona grabs your attention whether you’re looking at it nose-on or from the rear. It has something of a stacked affair going on in its light cluster. In the front, you have the daytime running lights up top. Below those, you have traditional headlights, rounded off by optional fog lights near the bottom of the front bumpers. Around back, it’s a step more unconventional. In the usual position, you’ll find the brake lights, but that’s it. Where are the indicators and reverse lights? They’re lower down, at the bottom of the liftgate. It’s certainly different. Let us know what you think of the styling in the comments!
Powerplants altogether more traditional
Get under the hood, and things come back down to earth. The Hyundai Kona offers two engine options. The first is a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated Atkinson cycle engine, pushing out 147 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 132 lbs-ft of torque at 4,500 RPM. That comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Or, if you want some hot hatch-esque performance to match your Lime-colored paint and funky styling, you can get a 1.6-liter turbocharged Gamma unit. That’s good for 175 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and a meatier 195 lbs-ft of torque down low at 1,500-4,500 RPM. What’s more, the turbo is paired with a seven-speed EcoShift dual-clutch unit. When it comes available, you can get the Kona with front or all-wheel drive.
The interior is also normal, with some nice touches
Once you sit inside the Hyundai Kona, things also take a more conventional turn. There’s an eight-inch floating touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability. You can also get the Hyundai Smart Sense safety package, including all the assistance features you’ve come to expect (Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path Warning, etc.). Considering the car’s exterior dimensions, the Kona looks like it makes sensible use of its interior space. The color-matched piping and stitching throughout the cabin is also a nice touch.
The Hyundai Kona will be available in the first quarter of 2018. Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates, including the Kona’s inevitable trip up Gold Mine Hill. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more videos on your favorite new models from the L.A. Auto Show!