Hyundai seems intent on stirring up a sales storm with its new compact SUV.
LAST to the luau it might be, but first hint of pricing for the car with a name shared with a famous southwesterly wind in Hawaii suggests it is being tailored to blow a storm through its category.
While Hyundai New Zealand has yet to disclose stickers for every version of the Kona sub-compact sports utility, it has revealed this rival to hot-sellers such as the Mazda CX-3, Subaru XV, Toyota C-HR and Mitsubishi ASX will start from $31,990 – that’s within $5 of the entry edition of the Mazda, which dominates the scene, and between $3000 to $6000 less than the others.
That suggests a serious push for big market share for the city-focused crossover. It potentially might even rip sales away from the recently-released i30 hatchback, which is similarly sized – albeit with a 50mm-shorter wheelbase – but also costs more at entry, the cheapest siting at $35,990.
Kona arrives in showrooms on November 1 in two petrol-engined formats, front-drive naturally aspirated 2.0-litre and four-wheel-drive turbocharged 1.6-litre, each in standard and higher-end Elite formats.
The 2.0-litre runs with six-speed automatic transmission while the smaller capacity unit is matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch unit.
The 2.0-litre makes 110kW of power and 180Nm of torque (at 4500rpm), and uses a claimed 7.2L/100km of fuel. Familiar from the Tucson, the 1.6 makes 130kW and 265Nm (from 1500rpm), uses 6.7L/100km and does the 0-100km/h sprint in a sprightly 7.9sec.
When comparing within the segment, consumers will see Kona is smaller than most rivals, at just 4165mm long and 1800mm wide, on a 2600mm. Yet Hyundai claims above-average cabin space and packaging. The boot is a respectable 360L, expanding to 1143L with the back seats folded.
In comment provided ahead of next week’s media launch, which is set to be a two-dayer involving not only New Zealand journalists but also writers from overseas, Hyundai New Zealand general manager Andy Sinclair says the level of awareness and interest among consumers about the sharply-styled model has been “quite phenomenal”.
“This is a significant new model in the growing small-SUV segment and we knew people would respond to its size, styling and class leading on-board technologies. What we weren’t really expecting was for people to be putting down deposits before pricing and specification details were even finalised,” he said.
Sinclair said he had two promises for Kona customers: The model range will begin with a “super sharp” price, and yet also represent the best level of standard equipment of any entry model Kona in the southern hemisphere.
Every Kona will arrive with a full complement of the latest in safety equipment. Hyundai’s array of active safety technologies, known as SmartSense, include the radar-based Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Collision Warning and Driver Attention Warning.
“Our focus on safety goes hand in hand with our approach to fitting every new Kona with the very latest in safety equipment and other technologies – all aimed at ensuring that every new owner is protected by the best possible safety systems available.”
There will be nine exterior colour options, including striking new orange and blue hues plus an optional black roof to create an appealing two-tone finish.
The Elite has full leather interior, heated electric front seats, wireless smartphone charging, heads up display, LED Headlights and 18 inch alloy wheels.
“As a New Zealand-owned company, we have a close and enduring relationship with our customers and dealers that stretches across decades of excellent service and great vehicles. As Kona arrives we want to equip those who seek to discover experiences in their own backyard with a vehicle that does everything they need it to” Sinclair says.
The Kona seems set to win attention on its looks alone, Styling is the work of Hyundai’s studio in California. The car offers a new take on the familiar Hyundai grille, flanked by slim and angry little headlights. There are also lots of side-profile character lines, an aggressive stance, and heaps of garish faux tough plastic add-ons.