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Hyundai Kona grows more sophisticated

Hyundai debuts new sleeker, more sophisticated Kona compact SUV, here Q1 2021

3 Sep 2020

JUST days after releasing three teaser images showing off a revised front end, Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) has revealed its new-look Kona compact SUV which not only scores new styling, but more room, enhanced connectivity and a new sporty N-Line variant.

 

Compared to the current model, the new Kona is 40mm longer which HMC says boosts legroom and rear cargo space, however the brand has not yet divulged how much extra room in either respect is on offer.

 

In terms of looks, designers have been careful to retain a few of the Kona’s signature styling cues – primarily the split headlight arrangement – while ushering in a new design language aimed at making the compact crossover sleeker and more sophisticated.

 

Gone is the boxy front end and tall cascade grille, replaced by a more sweeping bonnet line and much narrower twin-grille arrangement.

 

While the curve of the bonnet line may have been eased, the sharpness of its join with the grille has been amplified with the new longer and thinner grille sitting lower down in relation to the LED daytime running lights.

 

Flanking the grille on either side is a redesigned headlight arrangement that from some angles resemble the gills of a shark – hardly surprising given HMC said the new nose was “shark inspired”.

 

To make the new model appear more rugged and capable than its predecessor, the black cladding enveloping the wheelarches and side skirts has been extended to now run across the front fascia, serving as the barrier between the upper and lower grilles.

 

From there, a new plastic skidplate with shark tooth-shaped flicks underlines and surrounds the lower intake in contrast with both the black cladding and body colour.

 

The grilles themselves are comprised of black mesh, adding yet another layer of contrast to what is ultimately a busy front end.

 

From the side, the Kona’s flanks remain largely unchanged save for some subtly enhanced contour lines and body-sculpting.

 

At the rear things are also largely the same as before apart from the thinner tail-light arrangement and contrasting rear bumper, building on the armoured impression started at the front.

 

Inside the cabin, the rugged sophistication theme of the exterior has been continued with a new centre console that sits independently of the dashboard to “emphasise the horizontal layout”.

 

Also new is the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, ambient lighting, revised (read improved) materials and aluminium finish rings around the speakers and air vents.

 

Those chasing more of a sporting flavour to their Kona have been catered for too with HMC also confirming the introduction of a new N-Line variant, paving the way towards a possible Kona N performance flagship as well as upping the current model’s sporting credentials.

 

Style-wise, things have been stepped up in classic N fashion with thinner, more aggressive looking headlights with three horizontal intake slits laying between them as well as a completely different front bumper.

 

Gone are the shark-tooth flicks and rugged black cladding, replaced by a bumper design reminiscent of the current BMW M5 in its angular, trapezoid shape.

 

Underneath the headlights meanwhile reside an extra pair of air intakes helping to increase the N-Line’s sense of menace.

 

Elsewhere on the N-Line’s exterior, the standard car’s rugged black cladding is now body coloured, replaced at the rear by an aggressive new diffuser, from which twin exhaust tips emerge.

 

The interior also scores a few sporting touches including red stitching, metal pedals and an N logo on the gear shifter and seats.

 

Things have also been given a tweak under the skin of the new Kona, with the whole range being treated to a few subtle suspension changes including modified stabiliser bars and revised rear bump stops – naturally the N-Line will receive its own sports suspension tune.

 

While the exact Australian line-up and pricing is yet to be detailed, Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has confirmed the N-Line will be offered Down Under and is due to arrive with the rest of the range in the first quarter of next year.

 

In overseas markets at least, the Kona will be offered with a similar line-up of engines as the current model, albeit updated.

 

At the top of the range is a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine good for 145kW of power, below which sits the familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 110kW/180Nm.

 

Also offered overseas is a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel mill as well as a smaller 1.0-litre unit, both of which can be paired to a 48V mild-hybrid system.

 

GoAuto understands however that the updated 1.6 turbo will not make to Australia, meaning the current-generation 1.6 will be carried over and continue to develop 130kW/265Nm.

 

As for the hybrid system, HMCA senior manager for PR, sponsorship and events Guido Schenken said here were no plans to offer that powertrain locally.

 

“We are interested in all electrified powertrains and will always study new products carefully, but at this time no decision has been made to introduce Kona Hybrid,” he said.

 

“With no Australian government-regulate corporate/fleet emissions targets in place, we are not considered a priority market for electrified powertrains.

 

“This does not rule us out for any products, but it puts us lower down the list than we might otherwise be.”

 

One thing that was neither confirmed nor denied however was the inclusion of a flagship Kona N on HMCA’s wish list, a vehicle yet to be confirmed officially by HMC despite multiple sightings of camouflaged test mules at the Nurburgring.

 

“We've made no secret of our focus on building an N performance family,” Mr Schenken reiterated.

 

“We will of course be studying the business case for any new N product should it become available.”

 

As of the end of July, HMCA had sold 6264 Konas, occupying a solid 12 per cent share of the sub-$40,000 small SUV segment, making it the most second popular model behind the Mitsubishi ASX (7847/15.0%).


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