Hyundai has introduced the Hyundai Kona Hybrid to slot between the regular ICE-powered Kona and the battery-powered Kona Electric. Unveiled in Europe, the Korean carmaker says that the Kona Hybrid responds to the continent’s customer demand for more SUV-bodied eco-mobility models. Launched in 2017, the Kona has been a success for Hyundai with nearly 120,000 units sold in Europe.

The Kona Hybrid is powered by a 1.6 litre Atkinson GDI four-cylinder engine with 105 PS and 147 Nm of torque. The Kappa engine is paired to a permanent magnet electric motor that delivers 43.5 PS and 170 Nm, for a total system output of 141 PS/265 Nm.

The battery is a 1.56 kWh lithium ion polymer unit. Unlike the Japanese, but typical for Hyundai, this hybrid is paired to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission (with steering paddle shifters) instead of a CVT. This powertrain will be familiar to Ioniq Hybrid owners.

Straightforward hybrid job aside, the new model features Hyundai’s Blue Link, which allows drivers to remotely lock/unlock their car via a smartphone app. The optional Audio Video Navigation (AVN) system displays variety of useful info across its 10.25-inch split touchscreen, and features cloud-based voice recognition in six languages. The screen can be customised to provide two home screen versions and the ability to edit displayed widgets and icons.

The standard Display Audio system comes with a seven-inch display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. Hyundai Live Services (five-year free subscription) offers live info about weather, traffic, speed camera warning (where legally allowed), nearest fuel stations (with location and pricing) and parking availability, among other things.

Options include a head-up display, Qi wireless charger, heated steering wheel, three step heated/ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.

The Kona Hybrid has its own interior colour pack consisting of white accents around the air vent surrounds and gear shift bezel, as well as gloss black on the door handles, steering wheel spoke and air vent bezel. There’s a grey headliner, too.

Standard models feature black fabric seats with white stitching, while higher trims get black leather with white stitching. On the outside, the Hybrid gets unique alloys and this Blue Lagoon launch colour.

The AVN system is equipped with the Eco-Driving Assist System (ECO-DAS) to help improve fuel economy. The integrated Coasting Guide analyses road information from the navigation system to notify the driver when deceleration (for example change of direction, cross-roads, highway exits) is imminent. The feature aims to reduce fuel consumption and minimise brake usage. Coasting Guide can be activated when in Eco mode between 40 and 160 km/h.

ECO-DAS is further equipped with a Predictive Energy Management system, which manages charging/discharging of the battery in uphill and downhill situations. When an incline is expected on a route, and the battery state of charge is low, the vehicle increases engine operation slightly to pre-charge the battery ahead of the uphill section. This ensures that the electric motor can assist going uphill and minimises the inefficient use of the petrol motor on inclines.

If the battery is sufficiently charged, the Kona Hybrid increases the level of electric motor power usage before driving downhill to minimise fuel consumption. The electric power is then recovered on the way downhill by regenerative braking.

The regular Kona with a 1.6 litre turbo engine was previewed at KLIMS 2018 and is set for local introduction this year. What do you think of this funky compact crossover next to B-segment SUVs like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3?

GALLERY: Hyundai Kona 1.6 Turbo at KLIMS 2018