Slotting in below the Tucson and named after the coastal region on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Kona is claimed to set "a new standard for compact SUVs", and aimed at buyers "who pursue a challenging, active-filled lifestyle".
Sharing its underpinnings with the recently previewed Kia Stonic, the Kona boasts measurements of 4 165 mm in overall length with a wheelbase of 2 600 mm, height of 1 550 mm and width of 1 800 mm, putting it on par with the Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke, Opel Mokka X, Renault Captur and Toyota C-HR.
Breaking away from Hyundai's current styling language to a degree, the boldly styled Kona features a more pronounced version of the trademark Cascading Grille, complete with two-tier headlights, thin air vent at the base of the bonnet, two-tone roof, chunky body cladding, slim taillights and a number of colour trim options.
Aimed squarely at Milennials, the Kona's interior has been designed with connectivity in mind with a choice of five, seven or eight-inch infotainment displays depending on the market, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB digital radio, reverse camera, Heads-Up Display on high spec models and wireless smartphone charging.
Aside from using hot stamping methods to aid rigidity and improve cabin safety, driver assistance tech has been ramped up with items such as Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Autonomous Braking, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Blind Spot Collision Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning.
Underneath the bonnet, the Kona will initially available with a choice of three petrol engines and a single diesel, connected either to a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or seven-speed DCT transmission.
To be offered in Europe only, the smallest petrol option displaces 1.0-litres albeit aided by a turbocharger to produce 88 kW and 172 Nm of torque, with Hyundai claiming a top speed of 181 km/h and a 0-100 km/h of 12 seconds. Drive will go the front wheels via the aforementioned manual 'box only.
Gaining an extra cylinder, the familiar 1.6 T-GDI punches out 130 kW and 265 Nm, enough to propel the Kona from 0-100 km/h in 7.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 210 km/h. As with the Tucson, only the seven-speed DCT will be offered.
Completing the range, certain market will also get a normally aspirated 2.0-litre unit developing 110 kW and 179 Nm, which, when combined with the six-speed automatic 'box, allows the Kona to reach 100 km/h from standstill in ten seconds and a top speed of 194 km/h.
Like the 1.0-litre triple, a 1.6-litre CRDI turbodiesel will be made available in Europe only with outputs expected to mirror the i30's 100 kW / 300 Nm. Depending on the model and market, the Kona will also have the option of four-wheel drive, while a three mode drive (Normal, Eco and Sport) selector is standard.
Sales are expected to commence in its home market later this month followed by Europe and North America, although it remains to be seen whether the Kona will come to South Africa due to the Creta already being offered.