Hyundai Kona: The 'Intrepid' SUV arrives in showrooms
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Hyundai New Zealand is aiming its new Kona compact SUV at the 'intrepid' buyer.
The five-door models are in the 26 New Zealand Hyundai showrooms from tomorrow, and officially go on sale from next week.
They feature a range of accessory options and a full suite of the latest safety and driver assistance technology.
Hyundai New Zealand general manager Andy Sinclair admits the company is late to the booming compact SUV segment of the market, but says it is a case of "last to the party but best-dressed".
The Kona is a smart compact SUV targetted at those under 30, and those over 50, who in marketing terms place more importance on experiences rather than possessions. They are said to be intrepid and adventurous.
The Kona is available with either a 2-litre or 1.6 litre turbo engines, and is priced from $31,990 for the entry-level model through to the top-of-the-range all-wheel-drive Elite model at $41,990.
It sits just below the well-established Hyundai Tucson SUV and the larger Santa Fe SUV in the South Korean manufacturer's model range.
The new model will go head-to-head with popular compact SUVs such as the Mazda CX3, the Mitsubishi ASX, the Nissan Juke and the Holden Trax.
Andy Sinclair said SUVs now made up 59 per cent of new vehicle sales in this country, and it was unlikely traditional sedan or hatchback models would regain the sales supremacy.
He said the Kona was Hyundai New Zealand's most important model for some years.
The new models would be joined by an electric-powered version around the middle of next year.
The Kona has a muscular front, dominated by the large Hyundai cascading grill, and twin headlamps. There are separate LED daytime running lights, and the car sits on either 16-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels. At each corner there is protective cladding that wraps around each corner and continues to accentuate the wheel arches.
There is cloth upholstery in the entry level models and electrically adjusted, heated and ventilated front seats.
Models also have coloured stitching in the upholstery, and mood lighting that can be adjusted.
The four wheel drive models have advanced traction cornering control, and rear collision avoidance is fitted with other features such as Lane Assist and blind-spot collision warning systems, and a rear cross-traffic collision warning function.
There are head up display units, and Hyundai is introducing a new smartphone app, Hyundai Auto Link, that enables the driver to access information and essential data from their new car.
The system provides an interface that joins the car's own computers with the user's smartphone, and if offers information about vehicle diagnostics, including tyre pressure monitoring. It also allows drivers to fine-tune their driving habits for greater fuel efficiency and safety.
The system also provides a parking timer and reminder and helps locate the car in big car parks.
Auto Link is available for Apple and Android operating systems.
A drive from Auckland to Wellington, via the Chateau Tongrariro, this week revealed a well-handling and comfortable SUV that could easily handle long distances.
Stay tuned to Driven.co.nz for a more detailed outline of the model Hyundai hopes will be a gamechanger in the compact SUV segment of the market.
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