Published on August 19th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair


2 Hyundai Konas Spied on Malaysian Roads, Launch Imminent

Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors haven’t launched a new vehicle this year, and one look at their current portfolio shows they could use some beefing up. Some models, like the Elantra, IONIQ and Santa Fe have replacement models due. But more importantly, the smallest SUV they carry is the Tucson. There’s no B-segment crossover to do battle with the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, Subaru XV, and upcoming local models from Proton and Perodua.

But now we’ve got confirmation that this is about to change really soon. Hyundai have been talking about bringing in the KONA, most likely in fully imported CBU form from South Korea. And thanks to Facebook user Hef Riz, we know the cars are already on Malaysian roads.

The car in the foreground is finished in the paint colour known as ‘Acid Yellow’ and the one in the background appears to be finished in Galactic Grey. At this distance, it’s possible the car is actually in Phantom Black.

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The Kona is a pretty funky and customisable car in some markets. The interior can be optioned with accents in ‘Lime’, orange, red or grey. We wonder if Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors will be adventurous and match the Acid Yellow cars with Lime interiors or keep them on all in the safer grey.

Hyundai Kona with Lime interior

Under the hood, we’re not sure what engine will come either. There are 3 possibilities: the 1.0L turbo, 1.6L turbo and 2.0 naturally-aspirated engine. In our minds, the 1.0L turbo is out of the question, as it’s paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox.

The 1.6L turbo is paired to a 7-speed DCT, a similar setup to what we find in the Tucson Turbo right here in Malaysia. It was also offered in other locally-available Hyundai models in the past, such as the Elantra Turbo and Veloster. It’s a punch motor with 177 PS and 265 Nm on tap, which is mildly better than what the upcoming Proton ‘X50’ can offer with its 1.5-litre turbo. Given that car’s imminent arrival, it might be wise for Hyundai to at least match its performance and give potential customers a reason to look at their brand as an alternative to Geely/Proton.

That being said, the 2.0L naturally-aspirated engine with a 6-speed conventional automatic isn’t such a bad option either. If we take a look at their main rivals from Japan, none offer turbo engines or dual-clutch transmissions. The Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR still use 1.8L n/a engines, the Subaru XV uses a 2.0L n/a engine. Mazda on both the CX-3 and CX-30 use 2.0L naturally aspirated engines (though there is a 1.8L turbo diesel option too). Even the aging Mitsubishi ASX uses a 2.0L n/a engine. We’re not sure which is the better option for Hyundai in Malaysia. If you have any thoughts on the upcoming Kona, let us know.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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