Hyundai has taken the wraps off the latest addition to its CUV lineup – the 2018 Kona.

Slotting below the Tucson, the all-new subcompact crossover is yet another entry into a rapidly growing segment. Decidedly smaller than the Tucson, the Kona is aimed at other subcomoact CUVs such as the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota C-HR.

Although available with a plethora of gasoline and diesel engines in other global markets, North America will make do with two available power trains. The base engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, putting out 149 horsepower and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

If that’s not enough kick, the Kona will also be available with a 1.6-litre turbo-four, putting out 177 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. That particular engine is paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. At some point in 2018, Hyundai will reportedly add an all-electric power train to the Kona lineup, complete with about 350 kilometres of range.

Both front- and all-wheel-drive will be available on the Kona, but there are some differences between the two beneath the skin. Front-drive models use a torsion-beam suspension setup in the rear, while AWD models utilize a multi-link setup, resulting in improved handling and driving dynamics. The Kona will also let drivers tailor how the little crossover behaves through selectable driving modes, choosing between Eco, Sport and Normal modes.

On the outside, Hyundai has put in considerable effort to toughen-up the Kona. Coming across as a mix between a Jeep Cherokee and a Citroen C4 Cactus, the Kona features Hyundai’s so-called cascading grille design, as well as a twin-headlight design and copious body cladding. Some might find it chunky from certain angles, but combined with the optional contrast-coloured roof, the Kona certainly doesn’t blend in.

Depending on the trim level, a five-, seven- or eight-inch touchscreen handles infotainment duties with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. A heads-up display will also be available, along with wireless charging for certain cell phones. Active safety kit such as a blind-spot monitor, lane-keep assist and automatic emergency braking, to name just a few bits, will be available.

The Kona will go on-sale in Korea later this summer, followed by North America in early 2018.



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