Hyundai revealed its first sub-compact SUV Tuesday at a world premiere at the automaker's amusement parklike facility an hour northwest of Seoul. The Kona is to go on sale in Korea this month and is to hit the U.S. in early 2018. It will be the fourth crossover in Hyundai's U.S. showrooms after the Tucson, Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe. The Kona is expected to lift Hyundai's U.S. sales, which have dropped 7.5 percent this year through May with a lineup dominated by cars and coupes, segments that have slumped in recent years.
Built on the platform that also underpins Hyundai's Accent subcompact car and Kia's forthcoming Stonic subcompact crossover, the Kona also introduces a design language that departs from that of Hyundai cars and will spread through Hyundai's crossover lineup. The company aims to set new standards for the compact SUV segment, with appealing design, cutting-edge connectivity and class-leading safety features. The design is meant to set the Kona apart from other forward-leaning models in the segment – which includes the Nissan Juke, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade – and appeal to millennials.
The Kona will offer two four-cylinder powertrains in the U.S., both of which are used throughout Hyundai and Kia's lineup. The base Kona gets a 2.0-liter engine that makes 147 hp and 132 pounds-feet of torque. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and will go from 0 to 62 mph in 10 seconds. A 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine will be optional. It will make 175 hp and 195 pounds-feet of torque, enough for a 7.7-second 0-to-62 mph run. It's matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front-wheel drive will be standard with both engines, while four-wheel drive will be optional. A trio of driving modes (Normal, Sport and Eco) will also be standard. When the Kona goes on sale in the U.S. next year it will join one of the fastest-growing and crucial segments in the industry.