Taking the name from the venturesome coastal region on Hawaii’s Big Island, Hyundai said Kona reflects the “adventurous spirit of Hyundai Motor’s newest SUV”. This follows a similar geographical naming convention to Hyundai’s other SUVs – the Creta (sold in China), Santa Fe, Tucson and Veracruz (sold in Korea).
Sharing the same technology and underpinnings as the third-generation Hyundai i30 due on sale this month that we’ve already sampled overseas, Hyundai claims the Kona will deliver “best-in-class interior space” and Hyundai’s signature strong design features.
The Kona will be the Korean carmaker’s first entry to Australia’s baby SUV segment, sitting below the Santa Fe and Tucson and taking on the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Toyota C-HR and Mitsubishi ASX. It’ll also be available in Europe, the US and Korea.
Hyundai Australia public relations general manager Bill Thomas said the Kona’s platform was “related to the new i30 [and] should give more luggage space and be a slightly larger car than the [Mazda] CX-3”.
Hyundai added that the small SUV had “also been developed with a focus on enhancing driving dynamics”.
Expect the Kona to feature similar engines to the i30, which will include a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit. And while its form will be shaped by Hyundai’s European design centre and it is expected to be built in both Korea and Europe, Kona’s ride and handling will be fine-tuned in Australia before it goes on sale.
A teaser image of the Kona reveals a two-tier headlight assembly, but at this stage there’s no more information about the compact SUV’s appearance.
The Kona is due to arrive in Australia in the second half of 2017, although it should make its debut before mid-year.
Sister company Kia is also expected to launch a Rio-based small SUV this year to sit below the large seven-seat Sorento and the five-seat mid-size Sportage.