Hyundai's Subcompact Crossover Has a Name: 'Kona'

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
hyundai s subcompact crossover has a name kona

After its skyrocketing post-recessions sales hit a roadblock in the United States, Hyundai can’t wait to sell Americans more crossovers. It just needs to build them first.

While the Korean automaker already has plans to tinker around with its existing utility lineup, it lacks product on the small end of the scale, which currently gives rivals an edge.

Well, not for long.

Today, Hyundai revealed the name that will soon join the subcompact CUV fray — Kona. Overseas markets will see the Kona in the second half of this year, but those all-important U.S. buyers will have to wait just a little while longer.

If you’re familiar with Hawaii, you’ll know the Kona name isn’t derived from anything Korean. A district on the west coast of the Big Island, Kona sounds like paradise to anyone who has to suffer through windshield scraping and block heater repair. It also sounds very global, key for a mass-market model.

Hyundai furnished us with a teaser image, but there’s not much else to go on besides Hyundai’s claim that the Kona will arrive with “bold, striking design and high interior refinement and spaciousness” — something we’ve heard about every product from every automaker. You’re guaranteed narrow LED headlights, folks.

Contrary to early reports, there won’t be a Kona at the New York Auto Show. According to Derek Joyce, Hyundai Motor America’s product public relations manager, the automaker plans to use the venue to get buyers interested in the refreshed 2018 Sonata.

“At this time, we can only confirm the Kona name and that it will compete with other B-segment CUVs, broadening Hyundai’s impressive CUV line-up,” said Joyce. “Kona will launch in the Korean domestic market in the summer of 2017 and in the U.S. market in early 2018.”

Product details should be available in the near future, he told TTAC.

With Ford targeting the U.S. with its overseas-market EcoSport and Toyota entering the B-segment game with its C-HR, Hyundai needs a product to rebuff those models, as well as Mazda’s CX-3 and Honda’s H-RV. An A-segment CUV could follow the Kona, but that market isn’t nearly as important. Meanwhile, Hyundai plans to grow the Tucson and Santa Fe Sport slightly, with the range-topping Santa Fe due for eight-passenger capacity and a name change.

[Image: Hyundai Motors]

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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Apr 04, 2017

    Kona bicycles is still in business - did Hyundai have to pay them anything to use the name? Or is it a non-issue, since these are cars? Also, remember the Kona Edition Focus, that came with a bike rack, and a Kona bike? I still see one of those occasionally.

  • Scott25 Scott25 on Apr 04, 2017

    Guess Ford has to change the name of their dark blue paint...

  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.
  • SCE to AUX One data point: my rental '23 Model 3 had good build quality, but still not as good as my Hyundais.Test mule aside, perhaps the build quality of the CT will be good in 2027.
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