With a bold front and rear design, confident and unique, the all-new Hyundai Kona has arrived in South Africa to fill an important slot as an eye-catching crossover model in Hyundai Automotive South Africa's local line-up.
Hyundai's new crossover model is launched in the local market with derivatives sporting a high specification level and a choice between two engines - including a perky 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol power source - that is bound to make it a strong performer in the brand's local sales figures.
"The Kona is an important milestone in Hyundai Motor's journey. The quality of the exterior and interior design and the fit and trim level in the cabin bears testimony of the status that Hyundai has achieved as one of the top automotive brands in the world," says Stanley Anderson, sales and operations director of Hyundai Automotive SA.
"We are launching the Kona with a 2-litre naturally aspirated engine and the punchy new 1-litre, 3-cylinder turbo engine that is frugal, yet powerful enough to make a drive in the Kona an exciting experience. The whole package is exciting and modern and represents our brand with pride."
The Kona 1.0 T-GDI Executive (manual) enters the local market at a launch price of R379 900, while its sibling, the Kona 2.0 NU Executive (automatic), comes with a price ticket of R399 900.
Both models are front-wheel driven. The 1-litre turbo-engine delivers its power via a 6-speed manual gearbox, while the 2-litre naturally aspirated version uses a six-speed automatic gearbox with the option of manual shift.
The Kona has been designed to turn heads - and to raise pulses. The bold exterior design catches the eye with muscular sculpted shapes, sleek LED lighting and one-of-a-kind details that highlight the DNA borrowed from its SUV siblings.
A striking design feature of the Kona is its unique twin headlight design with LED Daytime Running Lights that creates an unmistakable front signature, with the signature expressive and powerful cascading grille and composite headlamps.
The bold front and rear are emphasized by the car's wide stance and its voluminous, confident crossover vehicle body styling. The attractive 17-inch alloy wheels, standard on both derivatives, further contribute to the bold character of the car.
The all-new Kona is cool, confident and expressive - a completely new character in Hyundai's line-up. Daniel Kim, a senior designer at Hyundai America's Design & Engineering Centre in Irvine, California, who was in charge of exterior design during the development of the Kona, summarizes their approach to the car's design as follows:
"The basic thinking was to give the all-new Kona slim, modern and high-tech daytime running lamps. This was a priority as it is one of the main things people notice all the time, whether it's during the day or at night, which makes it appealing and visible. We took this opportunity to create something unique by having a main projection lamp integrated with fender cladding. Overall, this gives it a protective, but tough and modern aspect."
There are five exterior colours in the Kona range to choose from: Acid Yellow, Chalk White, Dark Knight, Pulse Red and Lake Silver.
The interior design of the regular Kona reflects the exterior theme, featuring smooth, contoured surfaces on top of the instrument panel contrasting with the dark painted parts representing the technological and rugged character.
The interior of the Kona come with two distinctive colour themes: Lime, for the Acid Yellow exterior colour; and Red, for the other four exterior colours. The interior colour accents are featured on the air vent surrounds, around the gearshift, the engine start button ring, the stitching on the seats and the steering wheel.
Kevin Kang, creative manager of interior design at Hyundai America's Design & Engineering Centre in California who was in charge of interior design during the development of the Kona, says: "My main personal highlight of the all-new Kona is the bold character line that hugs around the outside vents, which gives the interior a wide and engaging feel. This is complemented by a balance of smooth, contoured surfaces and high-contrast elements that create a rather unique character."
The floating screen of the 7-inch navigation touchscreen in its ergonomic position allows drivers to stay tuned to the traffic ahead at all times. The infotainment system, with its excellent sound from four speakers and two tweeters, integrates navigation, media and connectivity features, and the Display Audio allows passengers to mirror their smartphone's content onto the system's 7-inch display via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Kona offers plenty of space for both passengers and luggage. The front-seat legroom, measuring 1 054 mm, and 880 mm for passengers in the rear, are both generous. With a trunk capacity of 361 litres (VDA) that can be increased by removing the hidden storage tray, the Kona is optimal for weekend escapes and longer trips. When large objects are transported, the 60:40 split rear seat back rest creates the necessary space.
The all-new Kona comes with a host of convenience features including air-conditioning, rear passengers' arm rest with cup holders, and the 7-inch infotainment system that links to CarPlay on Apple iPhones or Android Auto on Android cell phones. That enables, among others, the display of the music and navigation applications on the centrally mounted touch-screen.
Remote control buttons on the height and reach-adjustable steering wheel enables the driver to operate the speed cruise control, answer phone calls, toggle the onboard computer's information screens and change radio stations or mute the sound system.
The onboard computer offers a wide variety of information, including instant and average fuel consumption, while the display in the instrument cluster in front of the driver also displays the tyre pressure monitor which is standard equipment.
The exterior rear-view mirrors can fold in with remote control to protect it from damage in tight parking spaces. The sun visors include vanity mirrors with illumination, and the centre roof console includes a sun-glass holder.
Front and rear headrests are all height-adjustable, as well as the mounting point of the front occupants' seat belts on the B-pillars.
The Kona's Kappa 1.0-litre T-GDI 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine provides 88 kW at 6 000 r/min. and 172 Nm maximum torque between 1 500 and 4 000 r/min. It is a perky 998 cc engine that gets its boost from a turbocharger that is equipped with an electronically controlled waste-gate actuator which improves fuel efficiency by reducing pumping losses as well as improving throttle response and low-end torque. The unit features a six-hole GDI injector, pressured to a higher-than-average 200 bar, securing a clean combustion.
Power goes to the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. The maximum speed of the Kona 1.0 TGDI is 181 km/h and fuel consumption, measured in a real-life combined cycle, can be as low as 6,8 litres/100 km.
The Atkinson 2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine employed in the Kona 2.0 NU Executive delivers 110 kW at 6 200 r/min. and maximum torque of 180 Nm is reached at 4 500 r/min. The four-cylinder engine is coupled with a six-speed automatic gearbox, also delivering its power to the front wheels.
The 2-liter Kona can reach a maximum speed of 194 km/h, and recorded fuel consumption of 7,2 litres/100 km on a combined urban/open road test cycle. In the Kona 2.0 Executive a button on the centre gearshift console offers a choice between Comfort, Eco or Sport driving modes.
An outstanding attribute of the all-new Hyundai Kona is its sure-footed, precise handling on the road, helped to a large degree by the enhanced Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS). It delivers better responsiveness and comes with an increased gear ratio of 58 mm per revolution, enabling quicker steering action by reducing steering wheel turns.
The accurate steering works with the firm, yet comfortable, suspension setup to give the Kona the sporty road manners that its exciting exterior design promises. For the front suspension McPherson type struts with a stabilizer bar, coil springs and gas filled high performance dampers are used. At the rear, a coupled torsion beam axle - also with gas filled high performance dampers - provides ride comfort with sporty handling.
The 17 cm ground clearance makes the Kona a competent vehicle to tackle a gravel road with confidence.
The Hyundai Kona is one of the safest cars in its segment, confirmed by the five-star safety rating that it achieved in the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP). The active safety features include an Anti-skid Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), Downhill Brake Control, Blind-Spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning.
Passive safety features include driver and front passenger airbags, complemented by curtain and side-impact airbags.
Hyundai is the only car manufacturer to make its own steel for the global production of its vehicles - with benefits for the new Kona, which features a strong, light body with 51% ultra-high-strength steel that enhances the dynamic performance and increases passive passenger safety. An optimized joint structure enhances side and roof rigidity, while the under and upper body has been designed to optimally absorb and disperse crash energy around the rigid safety cell.
The pricing of the all-new Kona is:
Kona 1.0 T-GDI Executive Manual - R379 900
Kona 2.0 NU Executive Automatic - R399 900
It includes a 7 years/200 000 km manufacturers' warranty (comprising the 5 years/150 000 km warranty with a 2 years/50 000 km drivetrain warranty); a 5 year/90 000 km service plan; and 5 years/150 000 km roadside assistance.