By on June 12, 2017

2018 Hyundai Kona, Image: Hyundai-blog.com

The 2018 Hyundai Kona, which American subcompact crossover aficionados will be able to drool over in person in early 2018, will see its first spotlights during a Korean launch event tomorrow. However, much like private celebrity photographs, the Kona has bared all on the internet a day before the big reveal.

Hyundai hasn’t provided much in the way of specifications, though it has teased us with ever-revealing photos of its new global model for some time. For the automaker, a B-segment crossover isn’t timely — it’s overdue. Utility vehicles are the company’s top focus as the market moves away from the vehicles that sent Hyundai sales surging in the post-recession era.

So, what do you think?

The low-resolution images, which look sourced from a manufacturer’s media package, appeared on Hyundai-blog, providing us with a a good, hard look at the Kona. First impressions? Wow, that’s interesting — many might say “questionable” — use of cladding.

2018 Hyundai Kona, Image: Hyundai-blog.com

While the short overhangs and fender bulges are commonplace among the segment’s occupants, the industry has more or less moved away from garish overuse of cladding. Thank General Motors excess for that. However, the Kona’s cladding is apparently so voluminous, some of it has migrated onto the rear doors and fascia — the taillamps seem unable to wrestle themselves free from its matte gray grip.

The front displays the same face we’ve seen before, albeit in purposely shadowed form. Thin LED running lights are positioned atop the main headlamps, flanking a broad mouth filled with black honeycomb. An air inlet in the lower fascia carries a third set of lights — foglights — tucked into the corners of the slit.

All told, it’s a lot of lights and openings. Funky? Busy? Buyers will be the judge. Wearing pea soup-like yellow-green paint, the vehicle seen here clearly wants to show off an all-black roof that extends down the A-pillars but leaves the C-pillars mainly untouched. No doubt Hyundai believes this gives the little Kona a dash of sporty flair.

2018 Hyundai Kona, Image: Hyundai-blog.com

So, what engine can Americans expect? We’ll have a better idea tomorrow, but a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder and a dual-clutch transmission are strong powertrain possibilities.

Inside, the Kona displays a much more conventional layout, with an infotainment screen rising from the dashtop, rather than set into the center stack. Body color accents abound.

When Hyundai’s Kona lands in the U.S., both it and the Kia Stonic will have to beat off the Mazda CX-3, Chevrolet Trax and upcoming Ford EcoSport in the non-premium subcompact crossover segment.

[Images: Hyundai-blog.com]

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20 Comments on “Not So Scantily Clad: 2018 Hyundai Kona Accidentally Drops the Towel...”


  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Geez, and we all thought the new Civic was ugly!

    I see they are following the “confusing and busy” styling trends set by the Jeep Cherokee and BMW i8:

    Jeep Cherokee – Where are the headlights? Why are the fog lights mounted so high? …you mean, the foglights are headlights? No? Oh, the headlights just look like fog lights…? Those are turn signals, not headlights? WTF?

    BMW i8: let’s take a decent design, then screw it up by grafting a completely different design onto the rear bumper. Success!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That front fascia has way too much going on. Other than that, it will probably do well, despite my personal feelings about it. And how successful is that color on the Subaru Crosstrek?

  • avatar
    scott25

    Love it. That’s how a crossover should look, upright, cartoonishly rugged and plasticky. Looks like a concept car from 1997.

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    This looks like the disfigured love child of the Cherokee and a Tucson.

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    It is the first car to pay homage to the heavily-cladded first-gen mid-2000s Tucson. All I can say is, however un-stylish, the black cladding on my wife’s cousin’s 2007 aged remarkably well….

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I sure hope for the Kona’s sake that growth between the rear wheel and marker lamp is benign.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    +1 to all the above comments.

    Too much cladding, a very busy nose, terrible color choice for the poster child, and I’ll add this: it will be way too small inside.

    Ultimately, the interior volume will limit sales.

    PS: I would have thought 1.6T engine, not 1.4T. Isn’t Hyundai using their 1.6T everywhere now?

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      The Tucson gets the 1.6T as an upgrade, so I’m not surprised this is gonna get less.

      This thing looks fine from most angles, but yeah, the front is a mess. Though I guess this is the class where quirky is a good thing. The next Santa Fe should dial this back a bunch. I hope.

  • avatar

    The basic shape is kinda nice. I like the wheels too. But it is ruined by the badly executed Jeep Cherokee face and those weird lumpy grey thingies. On top of that, the interior is a real snoozefest.

  • avatar
    Yesac13

    I wonder if the cladding is a way to reduce insurance costs. Difficult to ding that cladding – if there’s steel underneath, won’t notice the dents… Also useful for visually lowering the CUV, too. Rust rash also gets hidden a decade from today.

    I sorta like it. Practical.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I think it’s OK, in a distinctive-and-not-horrible way. Seems to be taking some cues from my ex-wife’s Element: black roof and pillars, cladding, even the color. Whoda thot? Hopefully Hyundai’s entry into the segment will drive prices down a bit. The interior is fine, I like the location of the screen.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Such a cheerful exterior, such a drab cave of an interior. I’m really tired of all-black interiors. It’s just depressing. I know this is a low-res photo, but that looks like a circa-2002 Gran Prix interior grafted into a mini-CUV.

    Still a better looking car than the new Toyota CR-H, CR-V, HRV, whatever the ugly little brute is called.

  • avatar
    The_Imperialist

    “…will have to beat off the Mazda CX-3, Chevrolet Trax and upcoming Ford EcoSport in the non-premium subcompact crossover segment.”

    Damn, I had no idea the price of admission to the segment was so high…and demeaning.

  • avatar
    otaku

    Um, so am I supposed to be impressed by this thing? Yet another ugly wannabe in an automotive wasteland already oversaturated with CUV’s.

  • avatar
    probert

    Cute in a surfacey way. No doubt they’ve been looking at this: http://jalopnik.com/why-the-isuzu-vehicross-is-the-next-great-future-classi-510733610 and figuring how to dumb it down.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Does anyone still live in rural areas? It’s like driving through rain, but it’s bugs around here sometimes. I can’t imagine washing that thing. Just scrubbed my tiny white Fit. 10X longer to wash front than all the other surfaces combined. Might not be bad in avocado brown instead of Spark green.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Geez, Kona looks like it’s put together out of a bunch of pieces like Mr. Potato Head. It’s the fender cladding that went too far. The lemonade pea soup body color is not my favorite either.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    From the angle shown, it looks identical to the MY06 Tuscon my then girlfriend had in 2008. There’s nothing new or exciting about this.

  • avatar
    absolutematt84

    I like it! It’s got that funky Citroen C4 Cactus thing going on, and I think our market needs more of that.

  • avatar
    bobmaxed

    NO, No, NO, I would not be seen dead in that vehicle.

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