GOYANG, South Korea -- Hyundai unveiled the Kona here on Tuesday, touting the model's "high-tech" styling as a key selling feature as the brand enters the booming subcompact SUV/crossover segment later than its main rivals.
Hyundai hopes to woo customers away from vehicles such as the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur with what it calls a "striking design," as well as advanced technological features for the segment such as head-up display.
The Kona will be part of an SUV/crossover product offensive from Hyundai with the brand launching a smaller SUV by 2020 and a larger model, bigger than the midsize Sante Fe, said Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Eui-sun Chung.
The Kona will go on sale in Korea later this month with a starting price of 18.95 million won ($16,800). It will arrive in dealerships in Europe in October and in the U.S. early next year. Sales targets for a full year are 45,000 units in Korea and 150,000 for export markets.
The subcompact SUV is the top-performing segment globally, growing at an annual average of 46 percent from 2010 to 2016, Hyundai said, citing IHS Automotive data. "Even as the global SUV market is nearing saturation, we believe that extra small or small SUVs have more room for growth than large SUVs," Chung said.
Rather than hastily entering the market, Hyundai released the Kona after thoroughly analyzing consumers and the market, as well as the technology,” he said.
The Kona will have a wide range of active safety features including a collision avoidance system which uses the car’s front-facing camera and radar to detect an imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking autonomously. Other equipment includes lane-keeping assistance and a driver attention warning system.