Full disclosure: Our first drive of the all-new 2018 Hyundai Kona subcompact SUV lasted about 8 minutes. So this drive review won’t ask more than 8 minutes of your time to read.
Another disclaimer: We were in Seoul, and the prototypes we drove were Korea-spec. The Kona is a global car that engineers say will have different suspension, steering, and general dynamics depending on the region where it is sold.
In presentations as part of the global premiere of the vehicle in Seoul, it was described as having nimble driving for Korea, comfort for the U.S., and fun for Europe. Steering effort and dampers will be tweaked for each region.
The upscale engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The power seemed adequate on the straight stretch, courtesy of a pretty fat powerband. Hyundai executives feel their engine lineup is plenty powerful and say there are no current plans for a Kona N performance SUV. We noticed there are no paddle shifters.
The Kona rides on a new global architecture that is 18mm (0.7-inch) lower and wider than the existing low-cost, emerging-market Creta mini-SUV platform, and thus it is considered a second-generation platform. The Kona has a long wheelbase and short overhangs for a planted stance and greater agility to navigate the urban areas where it is expected to spend much of its time.
The platform will also underpin some sedans in the future, but executives declined to provide further details. The upcoming Accent will not be on the Kona platform, but it is a car that would be expected to eventually migrate over.
The vehicle will start arriving in showrooms in March. Pricing has not been disclosed, but officials say it will be competitive with others in the segment and less than the Toyota C-HR, which starts about $23,500, while entries such as the Honda HR-V start around $20,000 or less.