The Hyundai Kona is now officially launched in Malaysia. The B-segment crossover – named after the west coast region of Hawaii’s Big Island – is a CBU import from South Korea and is priced from RM115,888 for the entry-level 2.0. The higher spec 2.0 Active is yours for RM130,888, while the range-topping 1.6 Turbo goes for RM143,888. These prices are on-the-road excluding insurance, with the 2020 sales tax exemption. Next year, the price list will read RM123,888, RM138,888 and RM151,888 respectively.

As you’d have gathered, three variants with two engines are available. The 2.0L models come with a Nu MPI naturally-aspirated Atkinson-cycle engine with 149 PS at 6,200 rpm, and 180 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Mated to a six-speed conventional automatic transmission sending power to the front wheels, the Kona 2.0L does 0-100 km/h in 10 seconds.

Shaving 2.3 seconds off the benchmark sprint time (7.7 seconds) is the 1.6 Turbo, which is powered by a 1.6L Gamma T-GDi engine making 177 PS at 5,500 rpm and 265 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm. Like every other compact SUV these days, it’s also front-wheel-drive, but the gearbox is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. It’s the fastest car in the class and outdrags the Proton X50 1.5 TGDi. All Konas get Comfort, Eco and Sport drive modes, but only the 1.6T has auto start-stop.

Size wise, the Kona is a European sized B-SUV, which you can read as more on the compact side of things. At 4,165 mm long and 1,800 mm wide, it’s 169 mm shorter than a Honda HR-V but 28 mm wider. If it looks planted and muscular, it’s because of the width and 1,550 mm height, which is 55 mm less than the Honda. However, the Kona’s 2,600 mm wheelbase is just 10 mm shy of the H-RV’s.

The smallest B-SUV everyone knows is the Mazda CX-3. Compared to the junior CX, the Kona is 110 mm shorter but 35 mm wider. Its wheelbase is 30 mm longer. The Mazda is proof that not everyone wants space in a small SUV, which seems to be favoured by young, urban ladies these days. The Kona’s boot capacity is 361 litres before folding the 60:40 seats; while this is way off the HR-V’s cave, it’s still 21 litres more than the CX-3. Proton X50? Smallest in class at 330L.

In the chassis department, the Kona rides on front MacPherson struts and a rear torsion beam, which is par for the course. It’s disc brakes all round, but the 1.6T gets larger discs at both ends – 16″ vs 15″ in front and 15″ vs 14″ at the back. The base model comes with 17-inch multi-spoke alloys with 215/55 rubber, while the 2.0 Active and 1.6 Turbo get 18-inch two-tone rims with 235/45 tyres.

We move on to equipment. The base car’s exterior comes with halogen projector headlamps and LED daytime running lights, plus auto folding wing mirrors. This means that the Kona’s standout looks are best seen from the 2.0 Active up – both it and the 1.6T get bi-LED headlamps with bending lamps, fog lamps and LED tail lamps. The two-tone look with floating roof and roof rails are exclusive to the Turbo, as are front parking sensors.

Inside, the base car gets keyless entry and push start, auto headlamps, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system, steering buttons, fabric and manual seats, manual air con and a Supervision cluster meter panel with 3.5-inch multi-info display.

The head unit is a factory 7.0-inch touchscreen with physical buttons and knobs on each side. It comes with AUX, USB, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support, which means Waze and Google Maps navigation can be displayed on the main screen. It’s hooked up to six speakers and a reverse camera with dynamic guides. This head unit is standard across the board.

Moving up to the mid spec 2.0 Active nets you a fair bit more. Among the goodies are leather/fabric combi seats, eight-way powered driver’s seat with lumbar support, single-zone auto air con, a 4.2-inch multi-info screen, auto wipers and head-up display. Equipment that are exclusive to the 1.6T are full leather seats, electrochromic rear view mirror and Qi wireless charger.

In the safety department, the Kona comes with six airbags, ESC, hill start assist and two Isofix child seat mounts across the board. The 2.0 Active receives blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert, but Hyundai’s SmartSense suite of driver assist tech is reserved for the 1.6 Turbo. This pack includes Smart Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Warning and Avoidance Assist, Driver Attention Warning and High Beam Assist.

Lastly, colour combos, which are notable for the Kona. Available colours are Chalk White, Lake Silver, Phantom Black, Pulse Red, Blue Lagoon and the nice 1.6T-only Ceramic Blue you see here. The black roof is a turbo-only affair.

From the 2.0 Active onwards, the Kona comes with a dash of colour inside – red stitching and seatbelts can be found in red and black cars (see the gallery below), while white cars get funky lime green stitch and seatbelts. Blue cars get grey stitching and regular black belts. The interior accent colours – if applicable – will be repeated on the AC rings, push start button and gear lever area.

Once again, the CBU Korea Hyundai Kona is priced at RM115,888 for the entry-level 2.0, RM130,888 for the 2.0 Active and RM143,888 for the 1.6 Turbo. It comes with Hyundai’s usual five-year or 300,000 km factory warranty.

So, what do you think of the Hyundai Kona in terms of design (if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, don’t count on the Proton X50) and package? I’ve had a short spin in the 1.6T and found it to be very quick, and the NVH is good. See more in our first impressions drive video above. You can also compare specs and kit in this very crowded class here.

GALLERY: Hyundai Kona 1.6 Turbo

GALLERY: Hyundai Kona 2.0 Active

GALLERY: Hyundai Kona official images