The Hyundai Kona, judging by its aggressive looks, came prepared for battle in the competitive small crossover segment.
Its designers, after all, took inspiration from Spartan helmets when devising the vehicle. Hyundai says its exterior styling takes on the appearance of "urban smart armor."
The front end boldly sports the characteristics of the famed warrior helmet.
"It was a neat way of handling the front wheel [area] into the headlight array, [which] created the cheekbone coverage," Christopher Chapman, senior chief designer at the Hyundai Design Center, told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automotive New. "The character line on the hood, it comes down and mimics the nose plate that comes down."
The Kona's appearance is highlighted by a short rear overhang and long front overhang for a more aggressive stance. Hyundai's designers say they made a point of avoiding a "Russian doll" effect, in which crossovers come in different sizes, but identical shapes.
Even though the Kona will appear small when sharing the road with bulky SUVs and pickups, Chapman said the brand wanted it to have presence. The brand expects it to attract millennials and older empty nesters.
"It's analogous to the English bulldogs — dogs that don't know how small they are, but think they're really tough. We wanted the character of this car to stand on its own and have its own presence without feeling as though it was diminutive," Chapman said.
Kona competitors include the Ford EcoSport, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota C-HR.