The Know It Guy

Quick Take: 2018 Hyundai Kona

ANYANG, South Korea – Amidst Hyundai’s sprawling, town-like research, and development middle, a bunch of 2018 Kona crossovers awaits on the take a look at-song in advance. Camouflaged and black vinyl-classed prototypes zip by as finely-dressed security employees hover silently, staring at as we hop into the motive force’s seat for our alternatively brief 8-minute runabout on Hyundai’s place of birth coping with the path.

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Hyundai releases the Kona in the U.S. Till March 2018, properly behind the now-hooked up Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Jeep Renegade, and more current Toyota C-HR. “We had to make the effort to make sure we were given things right for the marketplace and for our customers,” said Hyundai vice president Chung Eui-Sun.

Based on our very limited drive of a pre-production Korean-spec Kona, Hyundai will have a strong shot at scooping up what’s left of this booming phase. Our check vehicle is a loaded instance that boasts the optionally available combination of a 1.6-liter faster-four and 7-speed twin-take hold of automatic.

As in previous models, which include the Veloster Turbo and Sonata Eco, the engine makes one hundred seventy-five hp and a wholesome 195 lb-toes of torque from 1,500 to four,500 RPM. The base engine can be a 2.Zero-liter Atkinson cycle 4 exact for 147 hp and 132 lb-toes of torque paired with a six-velocity automated. Drive modes encompass Normal and Sport, with the latter including barely heavier steerage, sharper throttle sensitivity, and a sportier transmission mapping that downshifts in advance under braking and holds gears longer below heavy throttle input. Other markets may also get an Eco choice that, truly amusingly, isn’t blanketed for U.S. Fashions; revel in taught Hyundai that customers regularly unknowingly leave the drive mode in Eco and then bitch the auto is underpowered.

Down the lengthy straightaway at the start of our take a look at run, the punchy little engine impressed with its beneficent low-quit torque and smooth-moving transmission. There’s a piece of hesitation at low speeds because the twin-snatch attempts to find its footing, but once at the boil it’s an adept and perfectly appropriate powertrain. Hyundai expects 35 to 40 percent of Kona buyers will spring for the uprated engine, so as to be well known on SEL and Ultimate models. The base engine and transmission will be the only powertrain for the decrease-level SE and SEL trims. All-wheel pressure may be presented as a stand-by myself choice on all fashions, and Hyundai expects approximately 45 percentage of consumers to tick that box.

Hyundai is up to now frustratingly mum on how exactly the suspension and steerage will be tuned for U.S. Spec models, but the Korean-spec Kona has a fairly company suspension and nice heft to the guidance. While no longer as sharp and responsive because the Mazda CX-3, the Kona is a much cry from the lethargic Honda HR-V, even in Normal mode. Body roll was noticeable — but now not excessive — all through speedy navigation of several roundabouts.

Over enlargement joints and small bumps, the Kona suggests off very strong frame manipulate and compliance, despite the fact that Hyundai’s coping with direction is a global far from some of America’s greater decrepit roads. (Engineered imperfection simply isn’t the same as correct or’ normal forget about and terrible infrastructure control.) Our check vehicle became prepared with all-wheel power, meaning it featured a multi-hyperlink rear suspension in vicinity of the front-wheel-force version’s torsion-beam setup.

Dynamics are, but, not the largest enchantment for subcompact crossover shoppers. Those might be style, equipment, and area. The Kona’s design, led by a veteran cohort such as chief Peter Schreyer, Sangyup Lee, and Luc Donckerwolke, is one-of-a-kind sufficient to attraction to those looking for some thing clean and signals a greater extroverted course for Hyundai. It may want to thoroughly be too busy and incoherent for some, even though, specially the scrunch-confronted the front stop. From the Jeep Cherokee-like eyelid-style day time jogging lamps to the faux air scoop, loads of “armor” cladding all over, and Land Rover-ish D-pillar kink, there’s a lot to digest. Fortunately the indoors is significantly extra restricted with its cognizance on space efficiency and intuitive functionality.

Hyundai says the Kona rides on an all-new worldwide B-phase platform, that is 0.7-inch decrease and wider than that of its Creta subcompact crossover, which has been on sale in emerging markets for some years. Executives had been tight-lipped when it got here to details about the platform or what it’d yield down the road, but it did pop out that a few destiny B-section sedans could undertake the brand new structure.

Bare-bones Kona SE models will come preferred with power seats, cruise manipulate, Sixteen-inch aluminum wheels, a 7-inch touchscreen, and an old-college ignition key. Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is preferred, as nicely. From there the SEL trim adds 17-inch wheels, roof rails, push-button begin, a leather-based-wrapped steering wheel, rear go-site visitors alert, and an non-obligatory package deal with computerized emergency braking. Spring for the Limited version to get a leather interior, sunroof, and LED headlights and rear lights. Goodies for the top-spec Ultimate trim include a 8-inch display screen with navigation, lane-keep help, rear parking sensors, automated emergency braking, and a phone-charging pad. There can also be an available shade head-up display, which flips up from the dashboard in a style just like the Mazda3 or Mini Cooper.

Pricing received be announced till towards release, however, Hyundai’s U.S. Public members of the family crew says it’ll be positioned competitively, and cheaper than the $23,460 Toyota C-HR. Expect the bottom version to start at approximately $20,000.

With its exact chunk of to be had tools, now not to say the pedestrian-detection safety era that’s some thing of a rarity thus far in this space, the 2018 Hyundai Kona must gift a wonderfully valid alternative inside a area that’s turning into ever greater crowded with alternatives. It’ll be the first strike in Hyundai’s deliberate SUV product assault, for you to include a smaller crossover beneath the Kona in addition to a 3-row circle of relatives SUV above the Santa Fe.

Jessica J. Underwood

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