Hyundai Motor bets on new small SUV as China sales skid

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The new compact SUV is an entry level model in Hyundai's worldwide SUV line-up including Tucson, Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport.

Subcompact crossovers are all the rage these days and after announcing the Kia Stonic last Tuesday, the Hyundai Group has now revealed its sister model, the Hyundai Kona. To fit in, the Kona has a wedgy shape, stout fenders with armor-like body cladding, and a contrasting roof. With crossovers commanding an ever-larger slice of customer dollars across the entire industry, it was only a matter of time before Hyundai added a smaller, more lifestyle-oriented option to its popular line-up of SUVs, which now includes the Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Sport, and the Tucson.

Hyundai's pitching the Kona in the buzzy, youthfully styled niche that already counts the Toyota C-HR and the Nissan Juke.

Around the world, the Kona also will be sold with a 1.6-liter turbodiesel-4 and a 1.0-liter turbo-4. The slim brake lights, turn indicators and reverse lamp are placed in a separate configuration, while a number of playful color variations, including two-tone paint schemes, will allow buyers to customize their Kona.

Inside, the Kona benefits from a large infotainment screen, and has been created to "float" above the dashboard, giving a better sense of interior space.

Hyundai has unveiled its latest compact SUV - the Kona. Rear suspension has also been arranged so rear seating can be lower, resulting in easier access and more headroom for passengers.

Hyundai Kona
2017 Hyundai Kona baby SUV targets segment domination

The automaker launched the Kona in South Korea today, and said it would roll out the small SUV in Europe in August and the United States in December. The first is a 1.0-litre unit linked to a six-speed manual transmission, while the second is a larger 1.6-litre turbocharged engine driven through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Hyundai New Zealand is aiming to launch the vehicle during the fourth quarter of this year, but this will depend on worldwide demand.

Kona is covered in protective plastic addenda that Hyundai calls "armour".

Hyundai officials said they were aiming for the EV Kona to have a driving range of around 240 miles.

Also available will be a 1.6 diesel engine for select markets, including Europe. Whether these safety techs are standard on Kona are remains to be seen. Safety features will include forward collision avoidance which uses a forward facing camera and radar and autonomous braking to help prevent or minimise rear-end impacts.

The car's radar systems will also assist with blind-spot collision warning, and rear-cross traffic alert.

More details coming soon. In a first for the segment, the Kona features smartphone wireless charging.

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