2018 Hyundai Kona Ultimate AWD Review - Double Take
One of my personal auto reviewer “rules” is that I try to test any vehicle I drove on a press junket later, at home, even if it’s months later (and even if it’s many months before I get around to writing about it). I do this because the potholed roads and unpredictable weather of the city I call home stand in stark contrast to the pleasant places where automakers hold their splashy first drive events.
I also do this because driving a car in normal grocery-getting duty is different than driving it hard on a twisty road, because I don’t always get to drive on the freeway on a junket, and because a car reveals things about itself over the course of several days or a week that it wouldn’t in just a few hours.
Enter the 2018 Hyundai Kona. Several months after driving it on the Big Island of Hawaii (not long before that volcano erupted — the same one I toured while there. Did I piss off the volcano gods somehow?), I took possession of one here in Chicago. Would I think differently about the Kona, in one way or another, after a week behind the wheel? Or would I just end up confirming my first-drive review?
Spoiler: It’s more the latter than the former.
2018 Hyundai Kona First Drive - Content Comes at a Price
It’s probably a little too on the nose for any automaker to launch a car in the city, state, or region it’s named after, but that didn’t stop Hyundai from bringing media to Hawaii to drive the newest entry into the subcompact crossover class.
Hyundai did so not just because of the “synergy” (ugh) between place and name, but because the company wanted to show us scribes how sporty and fun and well-suited to outdoorsy folk the Kona is. Never mind that most compact SUV buyers aren’t hauling long boards – they’re hauling little humans.
Every automaker does this — projecting their crossovers as the key to adventure. And I have no doubt that equipped with the correct accessories, the Kona can haul your bikes to the trailhead just fine. But most of these are going to be found in traffic on city streets, just like most of the crossovers buyers will cross-shop against the Kona.
The bigger question, then, is where does the Kona fit in a segment Hyundai calls the “Wild West?”
Ace of Base: 2018 Hyundai Kona
Earlier this year, Hyundai mixed up the nomenclature of its largest crossover. The three-row Santa Fe XL takes the place of the old three-row Santa Fe, with that name migrating to the smaller machine (which is only available as a two-row unit unless you opt for the diesel, in which case it’s a three-row, but not an XL). Understand?
No, me either. What I do know is the littlest crossover in Hyundai dealerships is no longer the Tucson. Enter the Kona, a pint-sized ute ready to take on competitors like the CX-3 and HR-V. The Korean automaker usually runs long on features and short on price, so let’s find out what its newest nameplate offers in the sub-$20,000 range.
Hyundai Releases Kona Pricing, Positions Subcompact Crossover As Value Leader
We’ll have to wait until Nissan releases pricing for its weirdly named Kicks before we can declare the 2018 Hyundai Kona the least-expensive subcompact crossover in America, but that’s the way it is for now.
The Korean automaker released its pricing list for the Kona on Wednesday, revealing a vehicle that undercuts every one its American and Japanese rivals in entry cost. Starting price for a Kona? $20,450 after delivery for a front-wheel-drive SE model.
There Just Might Be a Kona Under the Tree This Christmas
[s]Desperate[/s] eager to fill holes in its product lineup and put some bounce in its sales step, Hyundai unveiled the subcompact Kona crossover earlier this year, with the model arriving on North American shores in the first quarter of 2018. The Kona is just one part of Hyundai’s revamp of its crossover lineup — and its culture.
More crossovers, bigger and smaller crossovers, EV crossovers, and faster crossovers make up Hyundai’s short-term goals. By “faster,” we’re referring to the development cycle, unless the brand has some hot “N” action waiting for one of its cargo-friendly models. Caught off guard by the utility vehicle craze, Hyundai wants to pare its product planning window down from three years to a year-and-a-half, allowing a quicker response to new market trends.
But the first step towards a more agile Hyundai Motor Company is the Kona. Small, cladded, and efficient, the 2018 Kona might arrive sooner than planned.
2018 Hyundai Kona: Late But Not Too Late, Little But Not As Little As The Next One
Nearly seven years after the Nissan Juke. Five years after the Buick Encore. Three years after the Jeep Renegade. Two and a half years after the Honda HR-V. Finally, the 2018 Hyundai Kona is set to arrive as the fourth and smallest member of Hyundai’s utility vehicle lineup.
With the silhouette of a Mazda CX-3, the quirky light treatment of a Nissan Juke, and the cladding of a Pontiac Vibe, the Hyundai Kona will arrive in North America in early 2018 with optional all-wheel drive and a new platform that will be shared with the unfortunately named Kia Stonic.
The platform, Hyundai says, “is optimized to permit SUV levels of ground clearance.” Don’t expect more than 6.7 inches, yet in the Kona’s segment, the little Hyundai won’t actually be that low. But it is small. At 164 inches from bumper to bumper, the Hyundai Kona stretches only two inches longer than a Hyundai Accent hatchback and is four inches shorter than the Mazda CX-3.
Yet by 2020, Hyundai intends to strengthen its crossover lineup by positioning below the B-segment Kona an even smaller A-segment utility vehicle. Like a sidecar for your Santa Fe.
Not So Scantily Clad: 2018 Hyundai Kona Accidentally Drops the Towel
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?
Hyundai's Newest Crossover Has Hit a Snag
Hyundai, which found itself lagging behind its rivals in the lucrative crossover and SUV market and figured it should do something about it, is having trouble getting its desperately needed subcompact crossover into production.
The 2018 Kona, which we’ve so far seen only a portion of, is part of a better-late-than-never product push by the Korean automaker. A new small crossover was needed to to mine a growing segment and boost Hyundai’s flagging U.S. sales, but the reality of building cars in Korea has thrown up a roadblock.
The Little Kona Crossover is the Future Face of Hyundai's SUVs
Hyundai has teased its entry into the subcompact crossover segment in the past but only acknowledged that it would have at least one thin LED headlamp, be called the Kona, and finally serve round out the company’s SUV lineup. On Friday, the company released another teaser to give us a better sense of what the little crossover will actually look like.
For starters, the thin LED strips are now running lamps positioned above the vehicle’s actual headlights, à la Nissan Juke. However, Hyundai appears to have accomplished it in a much more understated manner than Nissan. Unlike the Juke, the Kona has its light strips running just below the hood opening and very near the actual illumination sources. It’s a lot less funky, but should be interesting enough to set it apart from the rest of the segment — an important consideration, as there’s much more stylistic variation between subcompact crossovers than between their compact equivalents.
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.