Hyundai launches Iron Man edition of Kona

Hyundai is extending its Marvel collaboration with a special Iron Man edition of the Kona subcompact crossover.

The Iron Man version, scheduled to be unveiled Thursday at Comic-Con in San Diego, is expected at dealerships in the first quarter of 2019. Production is slated to begin in December.

The superhero-inspired Kona is adorned with an Iron Man mask motif on the roof, Iron Man mask badging on the front fender, custom wheels with the Iron Man mask on the center caps and Iron Man engraving for the D-pillars, in addition to other modifications. The crossover's paint is Iron Man red with matte gray.

Hyundai says the daytime running lights resemble the mask and eye shape of Iron Man's suit. Inside, Tony Stark's signature graces the instrument panel alongside an Iron Man shift lever knob, a special head-up display and center stack featuring Iron Man visual graphics and a custom seat design.

The regular version of the Kona made a cameo in Marvel Studios' Ant-Man and the Wasp, which showcased the 2019 Hyundai Veloster hot hatch in a wild chase. The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe also received some screen time.

U.S. sales of the Kona, which went on sale in the first quarter, tallied 15,193 through June. The brand is fine-tuning its product portfolio to meet increasing consumer demand for utility vehicles.

Dean Evans, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America, calls the Kona Iron Man Edition "the perfect mashup," adding that there's "a nice synergy between the fun and adventurous nature of the Kona and the playful yet bold character of Iron Man/Tony Stark."

Hyundai has aggressively marketed the Kona. The brand ran a pregame Super Bowl ad this year to build awareness for the new nameplate and hosted a three-part concert series in June called Kamp Kona, where the crossover was stationed for spectators to get a look.

An armor-theme has followed the Kona, whose designers said they took inspiration from Spartan helmets when devising it. Hyundai said its exterior styling takes on the appearance of "urban smart armor."