People laughed when the Japanese arrived in the Fifties with their rickety little rin-din-din cars, that always started and never broke and cost less and offered more.
And then we laughed at the Koreans when they did the same thing. But even though Hyundai as a group has broken into the global top five when it comes to largest car manufacturers, the Koreans still aren’t satisfied.
Hyundai has set itself the unprecedented target of supplanting the likes of Toyota and Honda in Europe as the market’s leading Asian automotive brand by 2021. Hyundai aims to do that with a massive product onslaught, of no less than 30 new models over the next four years.
The Koreans have much of the cost-conscious market covered with loads of hatchbacks, saloons and SUVs on offer, but one huge slice of the market-share pie is missing since Hyundai doesn’t have the crucial Nissan Juke/Mazda CX-3/Renault Captur/Toyota CH-R rival that it needs in the sub-compact crossover segment.
The Koreans, then, are launching the new Hyundai Kona to join the Grand Santa Fe, Santa Fe and Tucson in the company’s crossover line-up as the smallest of the lot.
The all-new model takes its name from a place in Hawaii, and unlike the existing crossovers in Hyundai’s range, the Kona will hit the road looking decidedly more sharp.
Since Hyundai started dabbling with SUVs seriously in 2001 with the first-generation Santa Fe, the brand’s sold 1.4 million SUVs and the Kona will hope to add to that.
Based on Hyundai’s latest generation of hatchbacks, like the i20 and i30, the Kona will similarly utilise a new generation of turbocharged 1.0 and 1.4-litre four-cylinder engines as well as diesel options for the Europeans.
So far Hyundai has only released a teaser image of a slim headlight, but for more clues as to final production styling take a look at the Hyundai Intrado concept first released back in 2014 at the Geneva motor show.