2018 Hyundai Kona Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Jun 14, 2017
  • New entry-level, subcompact crossover SUV
  • Seating for up to 5 people
  • Dual-level cargo loading floor
  • Standard 4-cylinder engine
  • Optional turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
  • Front-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • Three types of infotainment systems
  • Long list of driver-assistance and collision-avoidance systems
  • On sale in the United States in late summer or early fall


2018 Hyundai Kona front quarter left photo


With the new 2018 Kona, Hyundai has built an entry-level, subcompact crossover SUV that the company specifically designed to appeal to Gen Y buyers. When it arrives in the United States it will compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Rogue Sport, Subaru Crosstrek, and Toyota C-HR.

Exterior Features

If you’re reminded of the Jeep Cherokee while examining the 2018 Kona, you are not alone. To help distinguish the Kona from its competitive set, Hyundai uses unique lighting designs front and rear. Bold gray body cladding and a black roof treatment also set the Kona apart, and the SUV proudly wears Hyundai’s latest signature grille design.

Interior Features

Hyundai promises that the new Kona will have more interior space than any of its direct competitors, a neat trick considering that its SUVs are typically smaller than what everyone else is selling. In any case, the company touts a dual-level load floor, suggesting that the Kona can carry golf clubs and a mountain bike at the same time.


2018 Hyundai Kona interior photo Cabin design blends trendy color-matched bits and pieces with the outside paint color with a “floating” infotainment display located at the top of the center portion of the dashboard. There are lots of buttons and knobs, promising simplicity of use, and the transmission shifter is a standard PRNDL setup.

Basically, there’s far less visual drama inside of the Hyundai Kona than there is outside of it.

Optional Features

Hyundai hasn’t yet finalized a trim level structure for the Kona, but you can bet that it will include SE, Sport, and Limited versions similar to the slightly larger Tucson.

Based on initial information, the Kona will be offered with several infotainment and safety technologies (detailed below) along with automatic high-beam headlights, upgraded interior materials, and larger aluminum wheels.

Under the Hood

North American customers will choose between two powertrains. A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission is standard, expected to make between 145 and 150 horsepower. As an option, a turbocharged, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is available. The turbocharged engine is rated to make about 175 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.

Both engines will power the Kona’s front wheels. All-wheel drive (AWD) is optional, and when it is added the SUV swaps its torsion-beam rear suspension for an independent multi-link setup. Hyundai says the Kona AWD provides generous ground clearance, helping to ensure best use by active lifestyle types.

2018 Hyundai Kona rear quarter right photoSafety

Safety systems on the 2018 Kona include an available reversing camera, blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist, forward-collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, and a lane-departure warning system with lane-keeping assist. Those featues supplement a vehicle structure more than half composed of high-strength steel.


Depending on the version, the Kona is available with a 7- or 8-in. infotainment display. The technology powering the system also expands to include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, Wi-Fi connection, and a navigation system. Hyundai’s Blue Link subscription-services platform will also be available, as well as a wireless device charging pad.

Hyundai also plans to offer a head-up display for the new Kona. It will show vehicle speed, lane-departure warning system alerts, navigation instructions, and the currently selected radio station in order to eliminate driver distraction.

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