Chances are that in 2013, you probably jammed to Mafikizolo’s mega hit song “Khona” which took audiences in Africa by storm and had many singing along through out the year and beyond.Fast forward to the middle of 2018, and it might be possible to arrive at Kona bar and grill in Osu, Accra in your brand new Hyundai Kona vehicle.The buzz-kill is that, evidence provided by motoring.com.au, indicate that the newly-derived model’s name takes inspiration from the popular tourist destination on Hawaii’s Big Island–a naming tactic which follows in the tradition of the Tucson, Sante Fe and Tiburon, all recognisable American locations–and not from either the Khona song or the Kona bar in Accra.But that’s just by the way of giving you a little teaser about the nomenclature of this new small SUV coming out from South Korea.
Where does the 2018 Hyundai Kona sit in Hyundai’s SUV lineup?
The 2018 Hyundai Kona is a subcompact crossover(small 4X4, as we prefer to call them over here in GH) that slots below the Tucson as Hyundai’s new entry-level crossover in North America.Generally, Ghanaian car buyers tend to pay particular attention to vehicles which are made for the North American market because a great number of used cars are imported from that market.On the global market though, the Hyundai Creta which has a comparable proportions as the 2018 Hyundai Kona has been around since 2014 but it was not available to the North American market.The Hyundai Creta has been around in Ghana for sometime now, though not many due to the fact that, most private car buyers tend to settle for the imported used vehicles as a matter of affordability.
What are the engines, transmission and trim levels?
The 2018 Hyundai will come standard with Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is optional on all trims.The Kona will come in 4 main trim levels, namely:
- SE: The base Kona SE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, full LED headlights, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system, cloth uphosltery, keyless entry, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.
- SEL: Moving up to the SEL grade adds heated side mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, blind-spot monitoring, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, keyless start, and a leather shift knob.
- Limited: The Limited trim adds the 1.6-liter turbo-four, a power-operated driver’s seat, a sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels and LED taillights.
- Ultimate: the range-topping Ultimate trim is equipped with rain-sensing wipers, a head-up display, a wireless charging pad, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, an Infinity premium audio system, and navigation.
Why should you be giddy about the 2018 Hyundai Kona?
The 2018 Hyundai Kona and other subcompact crossovers such as the 2016 Honda HR-V, and the 2017 Toyota C-HR are very ideal for the Ghanaian setting due to the following reasons:
- High ground clearance–which is crucial in ensuring that even on many of our dirt and rough roads, your car’s undercarriage is safe from the elements which can damage parts such as the oil sump.Hyundai claims the Kona has been designed for a “true SUV experience” with plenty of ground clearance and that makes us on this side of the globe, very happy indeed.
- Low Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)–According to motortrend.com, the 2018 Hyundai Kona will go on sale in March with a starting price of $20,450.That is a very impressive starting price for a small 4×4–but well-equipped automobile–bearing in mind that prior to the emergence of these models, the lowest priced compact SUVs such as the Toyota RAV, Honda CR-V and the Hyundai would set you back at least $25,000–when purchased new.The 2018 Hyundai Kona is so reasonably priced that it even beats that of a mid level trim of the 2018 Elantra; the 1.4-litre turbocharged Eco model which sells for $20,550. Mind you the MSRP is what the Ghana Revenue Authority refers to as Home Delivery Value(HDV) which is used to calculate your import duty. A lower HDV is always good news for any importer as it usually translates into a lower import duty cost.
- Performance and Fuel Economy Rating–The 2018 Hyundai Kona is available with two engines, 2.0-liter I-4 with 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque and paired to a conventional six-speed automatic transmission. A 1.6-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine rated at 175 hp and 195 lb-ft is optional and comes exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.The Kona is EPA-rated at 27/33 mpg city/highway with the base engine and front-wheel drive, or 25/30 mpg with all-wheel drive. An upgrade to the optional 1.6-litre turbocharged engine and the fuel economy becomes 28/32 mpg with front-wheel drive or 26/29 mpg with all-wheel drive.These fuel economy numbers are impressive considering the Kona is a mini SUV, yet averaging a combined fuel economy rating of 30 mpg.In Ghana, the majority of prospective car buyers who might be upgrading to a mini 4X4 in the their next car purchase will find the 30 mpg combined fuel economy rating as really good news at a time when a gallon of petrol is selling for GHS20.30(US$4.51) or more. The added bonus of this impressive fuel economy rating is that you can keep your windows rolled up and your air-conditioning system turned on for most days and spare the fresh and beautiful interior of your Kona from dust–perhaps, a luxury some full size 4×4 owners might not be able to enjoy.
- Clean Interior design–Whiles the exterior of the Kona appears to be designed to be dramatic and attention-seeking, the interior was saved from all that flash.
The cabin design blends trendy color-matched bits and pieces with the outside paint color with a “floating” infotainment display located at the top of the center portion of the dashboard. There are lots of buttons and knobs, promising simplicity of use, and the transmission shifter is a standard PRNDL setup.
Editor’s Note: The optional 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo-four in the 2018 Kona is shared with the larger Tucson.