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Hyundai Motor plays catch up with new subcompact SUV

13 June 2017

"In particular, global carmakers are vying for a bigger share in the subcompact (or B segment) SUV market", Chung said in a press conference held for the Kona's world premiere.

The latest small SUV marks Hyundai Motor's first small-size auto rolled out in 15 years since the discontinuation of the Hyundai Atos compact vehicle in 2002.

The five new SUVs are an all-electric Kona, a fuel cell vehicle, a SUV larger than the Santa Fe and two smaller-sized crossovers, the company said.

"We will launch electric vehicle Kona EV model by next year", said Chung.

Given rapidly shifting consumer preferences, it's fitting that Hyundai's new design direction was unveiled on a crossover rather than a sedan.

Now, Hyundai is poised to move back into the segment with a new model called Kona.

More details coming soon. The name Kona comes from the Hawaiian Islands, as are other Hyundai names like the Santa Fe.

As we saw in Hyundai's previous teasers, the Kona has a decent amount of ground clearance that gives it the impression of a larger SUV. Domestically, it targets to sell more than 26,000 Konas this year and 45,000 units next year.

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Key to Kona's sales potential is its daring design.

It gets Hyundai family's signature cascading grille on the face of an aggressive, muscular body. The slim daytime running lights (DRL) incorporate turn signals and are positioned in a "stack", separate to the LED headlights.

Inside, the Kona features a flat-folding second row along with claimed best-in-class interior space. Rear suspension has also been arranged so rear seating can be lower, resulting in easier access and more headroom for passengers.

The South Korean automaker said Tuesday that Hyundai Kona will go on sales this month in South Korea before it launches in Europe and North America. Hyundai New Zealand is aiming to launch the vehicle during the fourth quarter of this year, but this will depend on global demand. It's matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Kona is covered in protective plastic addenda that Hyundai calls "armour". There will also be a 1.6-litre diesel version for select markets, including Europe, but once again it is unlikely to come to New Zealand.

Under the skin, the body frame comprises nearly 52 per cent advanced high strength steels, imbuing Kona with "class-leading passive safety levels". Safety features will include forward collision avoidance which uses a forward facing camera and radar and autonomous braking to help prevent or minimise rear-end impacts.

The car's radar systems will also assist with blind-spot collision warning, and rear-cross traffic alert.

A new combiner Head-Up Display (HUD) is fitted to the Kona, projecting a virtual image onto the clear glass panel mounted behind the instrument panel to enable the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. And in a first for the segment, the Kona will feature smartphone wireless charging as an option. We'll be filing updates from all of this action.

Hyundai Motor plays catch up with new subcompact SUV