After a prolonged teaser campaign, Hyundai has finally pulled the covers off its new Kona compact SUV.

Whereas the Creta is aimed at select emerging markets such as India, Hyundai’s Kona is the brand’s first ‘global’ B-segment SUV and it’s designed to take on the likes of Mazda’s CX-3 and Nissan’s Juke.

But is it coming to SA then? Hyundai SA doesn't see it coming here in the foreseeable future but the company hasn't ruled it out and says it'll "watch the game and see what transpires".

And what’s with that name? Hyundai said it named its new baby SUV after the coastal region of Hawaii’s Big Island. Naming SUVs after places in the US is a thing for Hyundai – think Tucson and Santa Fe.

We dare say there’s also more than just a hint of Jeep Cherokee in its two-tier headlight design, which flanks a large ‘cascading’ grille, Hyundai’s new corporate face. In fact, the Kona is set to influence the look of other future Hyundai SUVs.

The Kona will be offered with a plenty of “playful” colour variations, complete with contrasting roof colours.

Depending on the market in question, buyers will have a wide choice of engines, including the 88kW/172Nm 1-litre and 130kW 1.6-litre T-GDI turbopetrol engines, a 110kW/179Nm normally aspirated Atkinson cycle petrol variant and a 1.6-litre turbodiesel.

Buyers will have a choice between front-wheel-drive, in which case the Kona has a simple torsion beam rear suspension, and an all-wheel-drive system, which is bundled with a more sophisticated dual-arm multi-link rear axle.

The interior has a simpler design than the exterior, with the centre piece being a monitor (available in 12.7 to 20.3cm sizes) that appears to “float” above the dashboard. The company also promises class-leading interior space.

The infotainment system is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and buyers can opt for a Head-Up Display system among a glut of driver assistance gadgets that includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning.

IOL Motoring

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