The arrival of the 2018 Hyundai Kona subcompact crossover in March 2018 will be the first of eight all-new or redesigned crossovers that Hyundai will bring to the U.S. by 2020 according to an announcement from the company this week.

Hyundai had been noticeably silent until now about their plans to respond to the blossoming demand for crossover vehicles across multiple segments until now.  With their heavy reliance on sedan vehicles and just three older utility vehicles in the current Hyundai lineup (Tucson, Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe), Hyundai sales for the year are off over 15 percent from last year due to the shifting of customer demand from sedans to trucks and newer SUV vehicles.

Though Hyundai appeared to have been slow respond to the changes in market demand, it is apparent  that they have been working hard – behind the scenes – to respond all along.  As the announcement this week shows, Hyundai is committing to a very aggressive plan for getting back in the game quickly as they introduce multiple crossover vehicles with multiple powertrains and fuel choices across several segments in a relatively short time period.

“Very soon we are going to have the most diverse CUV powertrain lineup in the industry,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, product, corporate and digital planning, Hyundai Motor America. “These vehicles will show the engineering prowess of the more than 13,000 engineers Hyundai Motor Company has working on current and future models every single day. Our customers are going to have a lot of great CUV choices in our dealerships.”

Looking at the chart, you see that, beginning with the launch of the Kona small CUV in March, this new lineup will have Hyundai offering models from the A-segment (entry level) size class all the way up to the eight-passenger midsize class. In the process, Hyundai will also showcase their latest gasoline engine, diesel engine, hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric technologies in these vehicles.  When fully implemented by 2020, Hyundai will be the only manufacturer offering a CUV lineup with four different fuel choices.

2018 Hyundai Kona

The 2018 Kona subcompact crossover is Hyundai’s first global subcompact or B-segment SUV.  It is being rolled out in Korea and elsewhere globally this Fall with U.S. introduction planned for March 2018.

Designed at the Hyundai studios in California, the Kona will ride on a new global platform that is derivative of their emerging-market Creta mini-SUV platform. With a longer wheelbase and short overhangs, the Kona will be well-suited to urban markets where it is expected to sell best.

There will be four trim levels available SE, SEL, Limited and Ultimate.  A variety of what Hyundai calls ‘playful’ color combinations will be available – all with a contrasting roof.

There will be four trim levels available SE, SEL, Limited and Ultimate.  A variety of what Hyundai calls ‘playful’ color combinations will be available – all with a contrasting roof.

The standard powertrain in the SE and SEL is reported to be a 2.0L four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission delivering 147 horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque.  The Limited and Ultimate trims will be powered by a 1.6L turbocharged engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and will deliver 175 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque.

Two driving modes (NORMAL and SPORT) on the power trains will enable the driver to change the driving characteristics of their Kona to suit individual driving styles.

All-wheel drive will be available on all trims.

The base SE will feature keyed ignition, 16-inch wheels, daytime running lights, cruise control, Bluetooth and 7-inch infotainment screen.  The SEL offers push-button start, 17-inch wheels, roof rails, and more including blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

The top-of-the-line Limited and Ultimate trims feature 18-inch wheels, leather seats, power sunroof and LED headlights and tail lights.  The Ultimate also includes rear parking sensors, lane keep assist, rain-sensing wipers, an 8-inch display screen with navigation and (first for the segment) wireless phone charging pad.

Competing vehicles to the Kona include the Nissan Juke, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Ford EcoSport.  Pricing is not available, but it is reported that it will be less than the Toyota C-HR which has a starting MSRP of just over $23,000.

We will provide more detail and (hopefully) a first drive impression along with pricing closer to launch -just after the first of the year.