Hyundai has officially announced its upcoming sub-compact SUV. In Hyundai SUV tradition, the 2018 Hyundai Kona is named after American locations. In this case, the name Kona is derived from the Kona district on the Big Island of Hawaii, reflecting the island’s energetic image and unique lifestyle. Perhaps they should get Hawaii Five-O’s Kono as this model’s ambassador. Picture Kona, Kono in beachwear and a surfboard, with the series’ iconic jingle in the background. Perfect, no?

Anyway, the upcoming Hyundai Kona will be a “sub-compact” SUV for certain markets, but for us it will be a “compact” B-segment SUV that will take on the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota C-HR, among others. The Kona will sit below the Tucson and Santa Fe in the Korean carmaker’s SUV line-up.

Hyundai already has the Creta/ix25 SUV for India and China, but the Kona should have different and bolder styling. It “features a progressive style that reflects the lifestyle of modern customers” and “is a true SUV” according to Hyundai, which points out that it has sold over 1.4 million sport utility vehicles since 2001.

Spyshots show two-tier headlights, with the indicators and LED daytime running lights mounted higher up, and the main lamp units sitting low down. That’s a style seen on Citroens, the Nissan Juke and the Jeep Cherokee. The sole teaser image released so far shows the upper tier. The brand’s new six-point “cascading grille”, as seen on the new i30, is present.

The side profile is also curvier and more rakish than the Creta, with a fast rear windscreen rake suggesting that it will trade some practicality in the name of style. LED tail lights with light guides can be seen at the rear, along with the outline of a typical SUV skid plate. The Kona should be based on the same platform as the Creta/i20, and carry Hyundai’s usual range of T-GDi and CRDi engines.

GALLERY: 2018 Hyundai Kona spyshots