Hyundai Plays Catch-up with New Subcompact SUV

Official images of the Hyundai Kona have emerged in low quality ahead of its official debut

"Our plan is to develop an A-segment SUV that is smaller than the Kona by 2020 so we can embrace the SUV from A to E segment, so we will also roll out an E segment SUV that is bigger than Santa Fe".

The reality of how entertaining the little SUV will be to drive is still up for discussion, but you can't deny that Hyundai's increasingly staid design language has been given a thorough going over, instilling the Kona with distinctive, if not necessarily attractive sheet metal.

It seems like the Hyundai Kona SUV has been around for ages, with more teases for Hyundai's new compact SUV than you can shake a stick at, and even a photo of the new Kona completely undisguised on a promo photo shoot. Mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT), the diesel Kona is quicker - 0-100kmph in 7.7 seconds and top speed of 210kmph.

Fuel cell electric vehicle and electric vehicle versions of Kona that can run 390 kilometers on a full charge will be released by 2018, the company said.

The Kona will compete with Nissan's Juke, Toyota Motor's C-HR and Renault's Captur.

Named after the coastal region on the Big Island of Hawaii, US, Kona joins Creta, Tucson and Santa Fe in Hyundai's global line-up of SUVs.

Kona models equipped with a 1.0 gasoline turbo GDi engine and 1.6 gasoline turbo GDi engine will be available in Europe.

In South Korea, its sales were almost flat this year.

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Also available will be a 1.6 diesel engine for select markets, including Europe.

A 2.0-litre MPI Atkinson engine produces 149PS paired with a six-speed automatic transmission is the primary petrol option.

The subcompact SUV market grew sharply over the past seven years, jumping to 4.64 million units sold in 2016 from 485,000 units in 2010. This year, the segment's annual growth rate is expected to be 19 percent.

To offset slowing sales in China and the U.S., Hyundai has made a decision to diversify its SUV lineup by launching a variety of SUV models, including a high-performance one, from the smallest A segment to the biggest E segment.

"We have suffered a setback in sales, but we will use this as an opportunity to overhaul our lineup".

After a prolonged long teaser campaign, South Korean vehicle maker Hyundai has unveiled its first global B-segment SUV, Kona. "We will strengthen business ties with technology firms, such as Baidu and Uber", said Chung, the only son of Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo.

Hyundai are clearly looking for a less traditional buyer than its current buyer demographic with the Kona, and its bold styling and funky feel should certainly appeal to younger buyers. The height of the new SUV is lowered by 5 centimeters than that of typical compact SUVs but wider based on its "low and wide stance" design concept, according to the company.

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