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Design

Without a doubt Kia shook up this segment in many ways and one of those is with exterior design. Designed to look adventurous, ready for action with obvious extroverted cues like what we have seen in the current color options, the Kona doesn't disappoint. Even if you don't like all that flash, spec'd right, it can remain reserved. A longer wheelbase with shorter overhangs with its wide stance are the foundation for this design that plays right into smaller features like its LED lighting, high belt-line and aggressive grille. Compared to similar options from rival brands, this is considered cutting edge design.

Kona employs refined aesthetics with sculpted body forms and sporty contours for an athletic, bold, and striking appearance. Its distinctive design is reinforced by the car’s voluminous, aggressive body styling that emphasizes its well-proportioned, dynamic silhouette. A low and wide stance complements its profile, with a long wheelbase and short overhangs, ensuring sporty, nimble handling, in addition to delivering superior driving stability at highway speeds. Its masculine, protective ‘armor’ combines powerfully with the futuristic LED lighting to create a high-tech look.

Kona’s front view conveys a powerful presence, as its armor shows readiness for adventuresome activities. It incorporates Hyundai’s new family identity, the cascading grille, featuring a sporty mesh pattern, flanked by flared, wing-like fenders that dominate the front visage. It’s further enhanced by a separated-headlight design, with high-efficiency LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs). The visual relationship between the composite lamps, Hyundai's signature cascading grille and unique armor design results in a distinctive crossover character.

Side-profile design elements reinforce its tough and functional qualities. Contrasting black armor provides a protective skin and visually connects the front to the rear. As with the front LED arrangement, the rear light configuration also creates a truly unique, signature appearance. The slim brake lights, turn indicators and reverse lamps are in a separate configuration, surrounded by protective skin that begins at the C-pillar garnish.

In keeping with its adventuresome demeanor, a number of extroverted color variations allow buyers to further express themselves by choosing colors such as Chalk White, Ultra Black, Sonic Silver, Thunder Gray, Pulse Red, Surf Blue and Lime Twist. The roof is finished with an optional color-contrasting color scheme, providing high contrast between the body and wheels for a distinctive appearance.
- Hyundai USA
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Interior

The exterior design elements highlighted above follow right into the cabin that can feel more up-segment than it actually is. All throughout Kia's line up this is happening, from the entry-level Rio Sedan to the flagship Stinger. Building on this are bold interior color schemes, and a whole host of technology. Feeding into this tech showcase are the impressive Apple Car Play and Andriod Auto connective systems accessible through the floating 7-inch touchscreen.

The unique features of the exterior continue inside with a strong horizontal character line creating a wide and spacious feel. Even with its compact dimensions and low roof line, the Kona delivers outstanding interior roominess, especially in front headroom.

The sleek and simple layout interior contrasts with the bold, adventurous exterior design. The audio/navigation display incorporates advanced infotainment features and the standard floating seven-inch touchscreen includes Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ capability. The floating display design adds further to the occupants’ sense of interior openness. Further, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls are surrounded by soft, fluid details that contribute to a sensuous experience and enhance the comfort-focused environment.
- Hyundai USA
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Platform

Fitting its visual character are drive component features that make this a very capable CUV, enough to give rival brands a lot to worry about. The advanced but compact AWD system give you all the AWD control required without impacting cabin volume. Structural adhesives placed strategically throughout the chassis boosts rigidity. Further improvements were made to ensure components related to the suspension system and transmission take up the least amount of space required.

The all-new Kona compact platform has been developed to provide customers with true CUV capabilities, CUV-level ground clearance and an elevated, command seating position to ensure better visibility and comfort on long journeys, as well as easy ingress and egress. Kona offers occupants generous interior space by optimizing the underfloor layout, including the AWD drivetrain and exhaust system, to reduce central tunnel intrusion on interior space. The optional AWD system and drivetrain is intelligently packaged to offer a spacious interior despite its compact exterior dimensions. Kona also benefits from strategic use of structural adhesives at high stress points on the chassis and extensive use of hot-stamping methods for greater rigidity.

To integrate the optional four-wheel drive system, Hyundai engineers packaged a new intercooler layout and mounting position for the transmission to minimize intrusion into the cabin space. The suspension, fuel, and exhaust components are carefully packaged to maximize rear occupant room. As a result, Kona offers a generous 19.2 cubic feet of rear cargo volume.

The powertrain layout is also designed to create a compact platform capable of incorporating the car’s four-wheel-drive system while maintaining interior space. Suspension component layout is minimized at the rear, allowing for a lower load floor and seating position to deliver impressive headroom and ease of access for rear occupants. Designers also maximized interior space for luggage storage capabilities, reflecting the requirements of customers with active lifestyles. The split-folding rear seats fold flat via a dual-level loading floor that gives three inches of additional vertical space and allows easy access for a variety of recreational equipment.
- Hyundai USA
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Powertrains

For improved fuel efficiency and power delivery, Kia mated a six-speed transmission the new bigger displacement 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Power and torque output from this powerplant is rated for just under 150. Upgrading to the more expensive but higher performing turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is ideal for owners needing more get-up-and-go. Its hard to beat the stronger power and torque numbers delivered at lower RPM ranges. Fuel efficiency is still maintained thanks to a 7-speed EcoShift DCT transmission.

Kona powertrain offerings have top efficiency levels as a primary target. Kona is offered with a choice of two gasoline powertrains. A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson engine produces 147 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 132 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Atkinson cycle design maximizes the effective cylinder expansion ratio (compression stroke vs. power stroke) for greater efficiency. The six-speed automatic offers SHIFTRONIC™ manual-shifting mode and includes an overdrive lock-up torque converter for higher fuel economy at highway speeds. Powertrain NVH has been reduced further through hydraulic transmission mounts.

Limited and Ultimate trims offer the Gamma 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injected, turbocharged engine generating 175 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 195 lb.-ft. of torque from 1500-4500 rpm, an advantage over its key competitors. Peak torque delivery starts at only 1,500 rpm and holds through 4,500 rpm, for low-RPM responsiveness and performance in everyday driving conditions. The turbocharger features low-inertia turbo-spooling response characteristics and an electronic wastegate control for more precise control of manifold pressure. Internally, piston-cooling oil jets ensure cooler piston temperatures for enhanced engine life. The Gamma engine also features a water jacket insert that prioritizes cooling in the upper level of the cylinder block where more combustion heat is generated, resulting in lower cylinder-head temperatures and allowing for leaner air/fuel mixtures for better fuel efficiency.

The turbo engine is coupled to a seven-speed EcoShift® dual-clutch transmission (DCT). This Hyundai-developed dual-clutch transmission offers outstanding efficiency with quick, seamless shifting and brisk acceleration. When compared with some competitors’ continuously-variable transmissions, this DCT is able to handle more torque with minimal power interruption throughout the engine operating range for natural acceleration and premium aural character with greater durability.
- Hyundai USA
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Chassis

With all the the key areas Kia hit here with the Kona it should come to no surprise that all of this started from the chassis. The longer wheelbase and widertrack is met with a McPherson Strut System for improved comfort all while still improving agility for owners that opt for the turbocharged 1.6-liter powertrain. Expanding on driving styles is Drive Mode Select that allows you to fine tune the Kona to your ideal driving style.

Kona was developed with a focus on enhanced driving dynamics and responsive performance for a variety of urban and multi-surface driving conditions. The long wheelbase, short overhangs and wide track create a planted stance that results in exceptional agility in urban environments with enhanced linear stability and ride comfort. The front suspension features a McPherson strut system using an innovative sub-frame bushing design for enhanced comfort and reduced NVH. The MacPherson strut design uses gas-filled shock absorbers and a hollow stabilizer bar for lower weight and enhanced responsiveness. Available 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/45R18 tires give surefooted, agile handling character on a variety of road surfaces.

Differentiated rear suspension design has been developed for 2WD and AWD models. 2WD models have a rigid torsion beam design for overall stability and control. The AWD drive model uses an independent, dual-arm multi-link design, optimizing ride comfort and stability in the wider ranges of off-road suspension articulation. Its geometry was specially designed for refined body movement on rough roads and off-road terrain. Rear suspension control arm design also minimizes camber and toe changes throughout the wider suspension travel range.

Kona also offers Drive Mode Select, which allows the driver to customize dynamic responses, such as steering feel, transmission and overall powertrain responsiveness to their preferences, and to changing road or traffic conditions. Two differentiated driving modes (Normal and Sport) optimize the torque distribution and shift mapping, tailoring Kona to a variety of driving preferences. In Sport mode, there is a greater emphasis on acceleration with earlier downshifts on braking, while Normal mode slightly prioritizes fuel economy over performance with a more conservative, lower-rpm shift schedule.
- Hyundai USA
 

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The high belt line makes me claustrophobic if I'm in any seat but the very position-able power drivers seat. Front passenger seat position is very low as well, I cant even see the hood. It doesn't matter, this vehicle is for ME. I drive it and it's what I wanted since June of last year. Parked next to a six year old Sonata, it really looks small but it's large inside, and so easy to park in the city. KONA is supposed to be a compact CUV but when you're driving it seems anything but small.
 

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Check out Larry H. Miller in Albuquerque. Talk to Nick or Raul Correra. Raul is the father of WSBK Rider.
 

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Kona's built after May 2018 have new headlight projectors.
https://www.cars.com/articles/2018-hyundai-kona-headlight-redo--passenger-side-test--top-crash-nod-1420702695389/


"The original design of the LED headlights available on the Limited and Ultimate trims produced too much glare for oncoming drivers to be rated higher than poor by IIHS. Hyundai has revised those headlights on Konas built after May 2018 and earned a good rating. (The Kona's standard halogen headlights still receive a poor rating regardless of build date.)"
 
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