This is the year Hyundai breaks into the subcompact crossover market with an all-new model it's calling the Kona.
Like the brand's other crossover models -- Tucson and Santa Fe -- Hyundai says it named the Kona after a U.S. city it considers a tourist destination; in the Kona's case, the name is borrowed from a coastal region of Hawaii's Big Island, which we'd suggest is far more of a tourist draw than those southwestern cities.
For the Kona's front end, Hyundai appears to have taken design inspiration from Jeep, as this little utility's face bears a strong resemblance to the Jeep Cherokee with its curious lighting arrangement. The rest of the look ties the Kona more closely to the rest of the Hyundai range.
Kona's engine offerings begin with a 2.0L four-cylinder that makes 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque and comes paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, while a 1.6L turbo four good for 175 hp and 195 lb-ft and its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is the optional powertrain. AWD is available with both engines.
It's a bit surprising that an ambitious company like Hyundai has waited this long to dive into the small SUV segment, but it could be an indication the automaker wanted to see how its competitors fared before making the commitment. Size- and specs-wise, Hyundai seems to have created a vehicle that will line up nicely against the likes of Honda's HR-V and the Ford EcoSport, along with cars like the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, an AWD station wagon that VW markets as a crossover alternative.
Hyundai says all Konas sold in Canada come standard with heated front seats and a backup camera (among other things), while a heated steering wheel is an option. Other interior niceties include a 7.0-inch touchscreen-based infotainment system that supports the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration platforms. Option your Kona with navigation and that screen grows to 8.0 inches in size.
The upgrade list also includes items such as a power driver's seat, automatic climate control, four-inch colour digital gauge cluster display and a head-up display.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed