Hyundai KONA Preview

Hyundai KONA Highlander The burgeoning small SUV market segment is bursting at the seams with offerings from most manufacturers. Those that aren’t there yet are developing something to be there. This is the urban jungle SUV market where form often takes precedence over function.

In this jungle 2WD is as popular as AWD because when you have nothing more difficult to negotiate that the local shopping centre car park, AWD is irrelevant. Style, connectivity, the ability to individualise and lifestyle are most important.

Into this segment Hyundai has launched the stylish KONA. The name is all in caps to reinforce the importance I think.

Hyundai KONA Highlander

This is a packed segment with excellent offerings already from Mazda CX3, Jeep Renegade, and Fiat 500 X, Honda HRV, Toyota C-HR, Mitsubishi ASX, Suzuki Vitara and the brilliant Subaru XV. For the more expensive tastes there is BMW X1, Audi Q2 and Mercedes Benz GLA.

So you can see the segment that Hyundai is sliding into is already crowded. How will the KONA stand out from the pack?

Well for one the looks. The KONA has a squat purposeful appearance about it. It isn’t overly styled like the Toyota C-HR or a little bland like the Mazda CX3. It seems to get the balance pretty right. It has a long wheelbase with short overhangs which means that internally it appears to have more space than some competitors.

Hyundai KONA Highlander

Secondly there is the features. The KONA, especially in Highlander form is absolutely packed with safety and comfort features. Being small is no longer synonymous with poverty pack. Even the entry level Active boasts a reasonably impressive list of standard features and options.

Hyundai KONA Highlander

Thirdly engine choice. The 2.0L seems a little ho-hum, but certainly on paper the 1.6L turbo version packs a reasonable punch with power output of 130kW @ 5,500rpm and torque – a generous 265Nm – starting at 1,500rpm and stays at its peak through to 4,500rpm. The turbo engine is mated to Hyundai’s seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission (DCT) which combines the fuel efficiency of a manual transmission with the ease and convenience of an automatic.

Lastly for the purpose of this preview and before we actually get to drive it, is the Hyundai reputation. The Hyundai Santa Fe and the Tucson are both pretty good pieces of kit. If Hyundai carry that philosophy over into the KONA, it can’t help but be a significant player in the segment.

Hyundai KONA Highlander

We are heading to the launch of the Hyundai KONA next week so come back then for first drive impressions and more details.

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About Rob Fraser 855 Articles

Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director
Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame.
Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive.
He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well.
Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures.
He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.