New 2023 Hyundai Kona gets EV option and sporty N line trim

Hyundai Kona driving

The new Kona will arrive in March 2023

Crossover is bulked up with reworked design, ICE and petrol-electric drive and over-the-air updates

The heavily restyled Hyundai Kona will arrive in March with new technology and ICE, hybrid and EV powertrains to keep it competitive in the saturated crossover market.

Taking influence from the Hyundai Seven concept of 2021, the 2023 Kona features a shark-nose front end adorning a wraparound LED lightbar, or what the Korean firm calls ‘Seamless Horizon Lamps’. The forthcoming EV variant will use a visually different pixelated version of this.

The reborn crossover also has a clamshell bonnet, wheelarch cladding and a 19-inch wheel design bespoke to this particular model.

EV variants will use a slightly different front bumper with a skid plate in lieu of the usual radiator grille, while combustion and hybrid cars add contrasting black wheel arch cladding. All cars use active air flaps to enhance aerodynamic efficiency. 

SangYup Lee, Hyundai’s executive vice-president and head of design, said the new Kona has been created to express a “bold and dynamic presence” on the road, adding how the car has evolved to become a “true lifestyle supporter.”

Using the same K3 platform sister brand Kia deploy, customers can expect the ICE variant will be available with a 1.6-litre or naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine with 195bhp and 146bhp respectively. The former uses a turbocharger giving it an additional 63lb ft over 132lb ft available in the 2.0-litre engine. 

The hybrid variant pairs the 1.6-litre engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 139bhp and 261lb ft. Kia could not comment on specific details of the electric variant or which powertrains the UK will receive, however we suspect the EV variant will use the same powertrain as the current Kia Niro. 

This means it is likely to use a 64.8kWh battery, allowing for 285 miles of range and a 43-minute charge time from 10-80% when using DC current. This means total power output stands at 201bhp and 188lb ft of torque. With this, expect the Kona to offer a 0-62mph time close to that of the Niro EV’s 7.8sec.

Each variant will have a sporty N line variant which adds deeper front and rear bumpers, twin exhausts on ICE and hybrid cars, silver side skirts and the options of adding a black roof and 19 inch N line alloys. Smaller touches inside will include metal pedals and an N-brand gear lever.

There is currently no word on a full-bore N variant. 

Elsewhere inside, the Kona will feature technology not before seen on rivals, including over-the-air updates that can control functions like the infortainment software and ambient lighting. Wireless charging and NFC central locking for smart phones and watches will also be used. 

Hyundai says the Kona features “best-in-class” space as it is 150mm longer and uses wheelbase extended by 60mm over the current Kona resulting in 77mm more legroom and slightly increased headroom.

These increases provide “maximised living space” and makes it larger inside than the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia Niro, with a wrap-around digital drivers display using two 12.3in displays that also integrate physical buttons for the climate control and heated seats.

With the gear shifter also migrated upward to the steering column, the firm has managed to create additional front storage space around the centre console. Foldable second-row seats give way to 723 litres of boot space. This is, however, 433 litres less than the current Kona. 

The Kona will also make use of Hyundai’s par-for-the-course safety systems, including forward collision-avoidance assist to warn of an impending accident, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring.

Pricing is yet to be revealed, but will likely increase on the current Kona’s £23,625 starting price and push the EV – which currently starts at £32,450 – above the £35,000 mark.

Source: Autocar

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