Hyundai introduced the Kona in June 2017, following the trend of funky-looking compact crossovers. It's appearance ushered in a new design language for Hyundai's high-riding vehicles, but today, Hyundai is updating that look for the 2021 model year. The 2021 Kona receives a new exterior appearance, interior design tweaks, changes to the available powertrains, and the new N-Line package.

The most significant changes are on the outside, where Hyundai has reworked the vehicle's entire look, making major adjustments to the front and rear fascias. The split-headlight design of the current Kona continues, but it sits on an entirely new face – a new grille, new headlights, updated DRLs, new intakes, a repositioned Hyundai badge, and more. It's a sharp upgrade over the outgoing look. There are similar changes at the rear with new taillight graphics, updated lighting elements, and a redesigned bumper.

Gallery: 2021 Hyundai Kona

Changes for the Kona N-Line package, available for the entire Kona lineup of engines, are more substantial, with wider air intakes, body-colored wheel arches, a prominent rear diffuser, unique 18-inch wheels, a dual-tip exhaust, and more. The badge stays in the grille, and there are now three "nostrils" above it on the leading edge of the hood that help enhance the sportier appearance. While the N-Line pack is available across the Kona's range of powertrains, those who opt for the N-Line with the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive will receive "specific steering tuning."

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The 1.6-liter mill, introduced earlier this year in the Elantra N-Line, isn't a surprise. It'll make 198 horsepower (147 kilowatts) in the crossover, and is only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Hyundai is also offering both the 1.6-liter diesel and 1.0-liter gasoline engines with 48-volt hybrid tech. The 136-hp (101-kW) diesel can pair with either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or six-speed manual gearbox, and all-wheel drive. The smaller 1.0-liter mill makes 120 hp (89 kW), though it's available without the hybrid system. The Kona Hybrid model carries over with the updated styling.

Hyundai Kona (2020)
Hyundai Kona (2020)

Inside, Hyundai has tweaked the dashboard and center console's design, giving the appearance of an airy and spacious layout, which is helped by the electronic parking brake. No update would be complete without adding more screens, and the Kona doesn't disappoint. There are a new 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a new optional 10.25-inch infotainment display. The standard screen grows from 7 to 8 inches, too.

There's no mention of the full-blown Kona N that we're expecting, though news of that model could later. The new Kona and Kona N Line will begin arriving at dealerships in Europe at the end of 2020. The Kona Hybrid will follow in early 2021.

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September 2, 2020 - New Hyundai Kona presents itself renewed, with a series of updates, inspired by the advice of European customers: a new design - which for the first time includes the possibility to choose also the N Line sports equipment - able to give the model a new dynamic look; a renewed range of powertrain, renewed powertrain, with the addition of new eco-friendly and "sporty" versions; improved connectivity, together with its functionality, making the road driving experience even more comfortable. All this, and more, allows the new Kona to be an even better product for Hyundai's European customers.

Kona has been a success story for Hyundai in Europe since its introduction in 2017, with a rapidly growing market share. In just three years, this compact SUV has become one of the most popular Hyundai models in Europe: more than 228,000 units have been sold in Europe since its launch. Its design has been consistently praised by customers and critics alike and has won major awards including the iF Design Award, Red Dot Award 2018 and IDEA design award 2018.

Kona plays a key role in Hyundai's electrification strategy, combining electrified powertrains with the style of compact SUVs. It was the first Hyundai SUV available with a range of electrified motors, including a full-hybrid and 100% electric version. Starting in March, Hyundai started production of Kona Electric at its production facility in the Czech Republic, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech (HMMC). Hyundai now extends the electrification of the Kona range with the introduction of mild hybrid 48-volt technology on diesel and gasoline engines.

"Customers are demanding more SUVs and electrified solutions. Hyundai is responding with a combination of both. Kona has played a key role in Hyundai's success in recent years in Europe, becoming one of the most popular models," said Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, Vice President Marketing & Product at Hyundai Motor Europe. "For this reason it is important for us to strengthen and improve the model so that we can continue to provide our customers with the best possible product".

Kona N Line: sporty, state-of-the-art design

New Kona will be available for the first time in the N Line version, which combines driving fun with exciting style. Kona N Line stands out for its sporty front and rear, body-colored exterior details and dedicated rims with two-tone finish.

The front of Kona N Line stands out thanks to the dynamic characteristics of the front bumper, which combines harmoniously with the body-colored wheel arches. Unlike the solid "skid plate" shelter of the new Kona, the N Line version features a characteristic N-style aerodynamic spoiler, with angled fins that give it an enveloping style. The wider and more technical air intakes are further characterized by a unique design and a dedicated surface treatment.   

The side view features body-colored details and the new rocker panel, combined with the new 18-inch alloy wheels with dedicated design.

The rear view completes the dynamic and emotional image of Kona N Line. The rear bumper incorporates a large central aerodynamic diffuser in a contrasting color to the bodywork, as well as a dual side exhaust. At the rear corners, the bumper fascia is formed by sharp lines and N-style fins for improved aerodynamics.

The interior is now available with a dedicated N Line package in black with fabric, leather or suede seats. In addition, the distinctive red stitching, metal pedals and the N logo on the gear knob give the model an even sportier touch.     

A refined and modern design for the new Kona

Hyundai Kona has become an icon in its segment, with a bold and innovative design combined with an adventurous personality. Updates to the front and rear design give the new Kona an even more refined and modern look, while maintaining its characteristic robustness.

The design of the new front end is distinguished by its sporty look and attractive wheel arches. At the top, the extended hood ends energetically on the central grille with a wide and distinctive shape. This effect is further enhanced by the wide, slim DLR headlights with LED technology. Further down, the main bumper fascia connects seamlessly to the wheel arches, forming a unique and robust shell made of a material that contrasts with the main bodywork.

On the lower bumper, the solid skid plate shield seems to embrace the lower air intake and gives visual continuity to the shape of the main upper grille. Integrated in the corners of the bumper are the vertically oriented aerodynamic intakes, which improve airflow.   

The side view maintains the muscular and sculpted shape of the previous Kona, but the sporty wedge-shaped silhouette is further accentuated by the sharper, cleaner and more harmonious front.

At the rear, the new headlights feature horizontally elongated graphics, reflecting the unique identity of the front signature. The new rear bumper is also made of a contrasting material, increasing the protective armor feel.

In addition, the new Kona features an updated design for 17- and 18-inch rims, in addition to the 16-inch rims already featured in the previous version. Kona Hybrid will be available with the same 16- or 18-inch wheels as the current version.

In terms of dimensions, the new Kona is 40 mm longer than the previous version, giving it a more elegant and dynamic look, balancing its wide and robust presence on the road.

In addition to the five existing colors, the new Kina is available in five new exterior colors: Surfy Blue, Dive in Jeju, Ignite Flame, Cyber Gray and Misty Jungle. Each color can be combined with the contrasting Phantom Black roof, which also matches the mirror housings, emphasizing the sporty and elegant look of the model and offering customers more options for customization.        

New Kona and New Kona N Line exterior colors:

  • Ignite Flame [new]
  • Cyber Gray [new]
  • Surfy Blue [new]
  • Dive in Jeju [new]
  • Misty Jungle [new]
  • Phantom Black
  • Chalk White
  • Dark Knight
  • Pulse Red
  • Galaxy Gray

Interior design news

The interior of the new Kona has been designed to express a more modern and innovative look than the previous version. They are characterized by a solid yet refined look to match the bold exterior design and to attract customers with a more active lifestyle. All this adds up to a significant technological improvement, which gives the interior a new level of perceived quality.

The new console area is disconnected from the dashboard to emphasize the horizontal structure and the dashboard appears large and airy to create a generous and spacious atmosphere. Now there is the new electric parking brake, installed following the customers' instructions.

A new ambient light provides illumination of the cup holder in the center cabinet and the compartment at the foot of the passenger and driver, emphasizing the lifestyle character of Kona.

The new air intake and speaker displays with their aluminum finish give a superior feel and refinement.

New Kona interiors are complemented by new colors and materials. New seat upholstery options include a black fabric with checkered weave or black and gray finishes and black, beige or khaki perforated leather seats.

The black checkered fabric seats, with modern, industrial-inspired textures, accentuate the linear seat upholstery, finely spun in its three-dimensional pattern. The black and gray fabric seats, with their shadows and dark shades in different anthracite gray tones, create sophisticated images. The optional leather seats show an elegant Scottish texture that is also reflected in the perforation of the material. Both the texture and the colors of the leather seats harmonize the dynamism of the interior range.

As an alternative to dark interiors, the new Kona is also available with light beige upholstery, which accentuates the fresh look already seen on the door panels and seats. As an alternative to the black and beige versions, khaki leather seats and the khaki center console, which offer a natural and stylish look, are available as an option.        

Color packages:

  • Two-tone light beige (leather) [new]
  • Khaki (leather) [new]

Base color:

  • One-tone black (fabric or leather)

Connectivity and technology

New Kona has the latest connectivity and technology on board.

New to the model is a 10.25" digital cluster, which debuted on the all-new i20 for the first time. In addition, the the new Kona also features a 10.25" central touchscreen display, which brings new connectivity features. The new AVN (Audio Video Navigation) screen also features split-screen multitasking functionality and can accommodate multiple Bluetooth connections.

In addition, the latest Bluelink update includes Last Mile Navigation, Connected Routing, Live Parking Information and much more. With the new "User Profile" function, drivers can also transfer their favorite settings from one Hyundai car to another. Last Mile Navigation, instead, allows customers to continue their journey to their final destination, even after parking, receiving directions in augmented reality or via Google Maps. With the new "Connected Routing" navigation, routes are calculated on a server in the Bluelink cloud. Finally, Live Parking Information provides users with real-time information about the location and price of available parking spaces in the vicinity. In addition, the latest Bluelink update includes free text search to allow users to enter addresses or points of interest.

As standard, the new Kona is equipped with Audio Display from 7 to 8 inches and includes DAB radio. It has also been upgraded with Android Auto and Apple Car Play wirelessly, allowing occupants to use their iOS and Android smartphones without a cable and take advantage of its features in an even more convenient and immediate way.

Advanced safety and assisted driving

The new Kona features a range of safety and assisted driving features for greater peace of mind for drivers and occupants.Smart Cruise Control (SCC) has been updated and now includes the Stop&Go function. The Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), available in combination with the DCT gearbox, has also been improved, activating the vehicle's brakes to prevent a collision if another vehicle is detected near the blind spot and the driver attempts to change lanes.

A new feature of the model is the Restart Warning (LDVA), which alerts the driver when the vehicle in front of him starts to advance, for example at traffic lights. Added to this is the Lane Following Assist (LFA), which automatically adjusts the steering to keep the car in the middle of its lane.

Among the updated features is also the Autonomous Emergency Braking with Vehicle, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection that uses a sensor, in addition to a camera, to better detect potential collisions. The new system increases the detection radius and the types of subjects that can be detected ensuring the operation of the system even in adverse weather conditions. If the system detects a potential collision and the driver does not react in time, the brakes are activated automatically.

Making its debut on The new Kona is the Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) - available only with the DCT gearbox - which prevents a collision during reversing by applying the brakes if another vehicle is detected. This is an update from the previously available collision warning, which provided only an audible warning.

Another unique system is the Rear Seat Alert (RSA), which alerts the driver by detecting the presence of people and objects on the rear couch when the vehicle is closed. For maximum protection of children there is also the Safety Exit Warning (SEW) which prevents passengers from getting out of the vehicle if it is not yet safe to do so by preventing possible accidents if the doors open when other vehicles arrive.

Finally, the Speed Limit Recognition uses the multi-function camera and information from the navigation system to identify the current speed limit and display it on both the navigator display and the cluster display. If the driver exceeds the speed limit, a visual warning appears on the cluster.

In addition, The new Kona is now available with eCall, a feature that automatically alerts emergency services if the e-Call button is pressed or airbags are activated.

Hyundai SmartSense Active Safety Features

  • Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) [NEW].
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) [NEW].
  • Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop&Go [NEW].
  • Restart Notice (LVDA) [NEW].
  • Lane Following Assist (LFA) [NEW].
  • Speed Limit Recognition (ISLW) [NEW].
  • Safety Exit Warning (SEW) [NEW].
  • Rear Seat Alert (RSA) [NEW].
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking with Vehicle, Pedestrian (FCA) Detection (now with [NEW] Cyclist Detection)

Other security features:

  • e-call [NEW]

Comfort and habitability

A series of new functionality features now provide a more comfortable ride for rear seat passengers who can count on a new USB port and heated seats. Front row passengers can also adjust the seat height for an optimized seating position while driving.

New engine options for sporty and environmentally conscious customers

The new Kona's powertrain range reaches new heights in terms of sustainability and adds the lightweight 48-volt hybrid system: this technology is applied to the 1.6-liter Smartstream diesel engine with 136 hp and is available with a seven-speed 7DCT gearbox or an intelligent six-speed manual transmission (6iMT), which can be combined with all-wheel drive. The 1.0-liter Smartstream T-GDI gasoline engine with 120 hp can also be equipped with lightweight 48-volt hybrid technology and 6iMT transmission for greater efficiency.

The clutch of the iMT, which debuted for the first time on the new i30 and the brand new i20, works in electronic mode instead of the traditional mechanical connection. The iMT disconnects the engine from the transmission after the driver releases the throttle ensuring greater efficiency: this allows the car to enter two possible levels of coasting mode, depending on conditions. In the first level the engine idles while in the second level the engine is temporarily shut down to save even more fuel.

The engine restarts in the same gear as soon as the driver presses the brake or accelerator pedal, thanks to the power provided by the Mild Hybrid Starter Generator.

The 1.0-litre T-GDI Smartstream engine is also available without the Mild Hybrid technology, while at the top of the performance is a 1.6-litre T-GDI Smartstream engine powered by a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, bringing maximum power to 198 hp. All engines are available with the new N Line equipment.

The Kona Full Hybrid system

The new Kona is also available with the Full Hybrid engine, which made its debut in the range in 2019: a 1.6-liter GDI engine is joined by a permanent magnet electric motor for a combined power of 141 hp, combined with a 6-speed double-clutch automatic transmission and two-wheel drive. The 32 kW electric motor is powered by a 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery.

Driving and handling improvements for greater comfort

The technical updates aim to make driving smoother than the current model. The suspension has been adjusted to increase comfort, without sacrificing the sporty character of Kona. Together with springs and shock absorbers, the stabilizer bars have been retouched to provide superior ride comfort and increased insulation.

The new Kona is also equipped with improved energy class tires for all sizes, featuring lower rolling resistance for more efficient driving. The 18-inch Conti Sport Contact 5 tires have been replaced by Conti Premium Contact 6 tires with the aim of optimizing ride comfort qualities. This means that drivers can expect greater efficiency and lower CO2 emissions, while benefiting from better noise insulation than before. This creates an excellent balance between eco-driving and sportiness. In addition, several vehicle components have been refurbished to improve the control of noise, vibration and roughness of the vehicle's ride (NVH), further increasing comfort inside the passenger compartment.

The steering has been tuned to adapt to the new character of the suspension and the new tires. The new Kona shows more direct and comfortable steering behavior. The steering effort required is more linear and well balanced at all speeds.

The same steering configuration applies to the entire Kona range. The only exception is the brand new Kona N Line, combined with the 1.6 T-GDI engine and all-wheel drive, which has received a specific steering tuning to match the sporty character of the vehicle.

New Kona and Kona N Line will arrive in Hyundai showrooms around the end of 2020, while New Kona Hybrid will be marketed from early 2021.

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