A very attractive new Hyundai Kona with a variety of upgrades, dynamic new looks and – for the first time – a sporty N Line trim, has arrived in South Africa.
The Kona has been a success story for Hyundai since its global introduction in 2017, and in South Africa close to 1 700 units of this crossover SUV model have been sold since its local introduction in 2018.
With the latest product enhancement, the Kona will be available for the first time as an N Line version, combining fun to drive with an emotional appearance. The Kona N Line stands out through its sporty front and rear end, body colour claddings, and specific diamond-cut wheel design.
“Interestingly, there is a happy vibe that I feel is common with many Kona drivers,” says SangYup Lee, senior vice president and head of Hyundai’s Global Design Centre. “Our design inspiration stems from this positive spirit, and this is a dedication to all the adventurers out there who explore life with a smile.”
The fresh design, including the all-new sporty N Line trim, offers a dynamic new appearance. An enhanced powertrain line-up provides both sporty and eco-friendly options to suit a wide variety of buyers, while upgraded convenience features make for an even more satisfying ownership experience. The safety suite has also been improved with new active and passive safety features available.
“We are excited about the new Kona – Hyundai’s designers have really done a fine job with the new styling features, especially on the front. The interior also has a new fresh, clean appearance, and the N Line stands out even more with its special exterior and interior styling treatments. We expect Kona sales to grow, and that this crossover model will take a stronger position in our leisure vehicle line-up,” says Stanley Anderson, sales and operations director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa.
The new Kona will be available in South Africa in three variants with two specification and trim levels: the Kona 2.0 Nu Executive with an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT); the Kona 1.6 T-GDi Executive with a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT); and the flagship Kona 1.6 T-GDi N Line, also with the DCT.
Sleek, sophisticated design upgrades
Design updates on the front and rear give the new Kona an even more sleek, sophisticated look, which adds to the bold, progressive design of the model that was launched in 2018.
The striking new front end design stands out through its sporty look and eye-catching, protective cladding panels. At the top, the stretched bonnet ends sharply over the centre grille with a wide, distinctive shape giving the Kona a powerful look.
Enhanced LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) provide a narrow, piercing look to the road ahead. Lower down, the main bumper fascia connects smoothly to the wheel arch claddings, forming a unique and robust armour in a contrasting material to the main body.
On the lower bumper, the robust skid plate embraces the lower air intake, and visually complements the surfaces surrounding the main grille. Integrated into the bumper corners are vertically oriented aerodynamic inlets that improve air flow.
The side body retains the muscular and sculpted shape of the previous Kona, but the sporty wedge-shaped silhouette is further accentuated by the visual connection between the shoulder creases and the sharper, cleaner, more harmonious front end.
At the rear, the new taillights feature horizontally stretched graphics. These reflect the unique identity of the front-end light signature. The new rear bumper, which also follows the protective armour concept of the front and sides, is also built with a contrasting material.
In addition, the latest model comes with an updated 17-inch wheel design for the Kona 2.0 Executive, and different 18-inch wheels for the 1.6 T-GDi Executive and 1.6 T-GDi N Line respectively.
In its dimensions, the new Kona is 40 mm longer than the previous version, giving it a sleeker and more dynamic look to balance out its wide, strong visual stance.
The new Kona comes with six exterior colours: Surfy Blue, Ignite Flame, Cyber Gray, Phantom Black, Atlas White, Dark Knight and Pulse Red.
Every colour can be combined with the Phantom Black two-tone roof for the 1.6 T-GDi Executive and N Line derivatives. The two-tone roof also comes with matching mirror housings. This contributes to the Kona’s sporty and sleek appearance and gives customers more options for personalisation and self-expression.
Interior design updates
The interior of the new Kona was designed to express a more sophisticated and progressive appearance. A rugged, yet refined look matches the exterior boldness, appealing to customers with an active lifestyle. A new console is disconnected from the instrument panel to stress the horizontal layout, appearing wide for a spacious atmosphere.
An electronic parking brake is now available in the N Line variant as a standard convenience feature. New ambient lighting illuminates the cup holder and foot wells, while an aluminium-like finish adds refinement. The Kona’s rear cargo area has been increased and second row legroom has also been improved, along with USB-port access for second-row passengers.
New rings around the speakers and the air vents with an aluminium finish establish a higher level of quality and refinement.
The 2.0 Executive and 1.6 T-GDi variants come standard with artificial leather seat trim, while the 1.6 T-GDi N Line features full leather seats with N Line red piping and stitching trim.
Special styling for Kona N Line
The front end of Kona N Line is characterised by the dynamic features of the front bumper, harmoniously linked and unified with the body colour treatment of the wheel arch claddings. Instead of the rugged skid plate of the new Kona, the N Line features a characteristic aerodynamic lip with low-lying corner fins for a road-hugging appearance. Larger, more technical air intake features are further distinguished by a unique mesh design and surface treatment.
On the side, the body colour claddings and new rocker panel are complemented by the dedicated 18-inch alloy wheel design.
The rear end completes the dynamic image of the Kona N Line. The rear bumper incorporates a large central aerodynamic diffusor in a contrast colour to the body, as well as a one-side double muffler. At the rear corners, the bumper fascia is formed with sharply creased lines and N-style fins for better air flow detachment. The Kona N Line has its own, dedicated 18-inch alloy wheel design.
The interior is now available with a dedicated N Line colour package in one-tone black with full leather seats. In addition, the distinctive red piping and stitching on the seats, metal pedals, and N logo on the gear shift and the seats all create a sportier look and feel.
Connectivity and convenience features
Several new convenience features allow for a more comfortable ride, including a second-row USB port for backseat passengers. The new Kona Executive variants with manual seats has also been improved. Front passengers can also now adjust their seat height for an optimised seating position.
As standard, the new Kona has also been upgraded with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, meaning customers do not have to use a cable anymore to connect their phones to the 8-inch display infotainment system. A wireless cell phone charging pad in the centre console is also standard across the range.
Rear passengers can charge their cell phones from a USB cable port in a centre console, with a place to store the phone.
Advanced safety & driving assistance
The new Kona N Line has been equipped with a range of Hyundai’s SmartSense safety and driving assist features for added peace of mind. They include:
All Kona derivatives are equipped with an Electronic Stability Program and Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Downhill Brake Control and Hill start Assist Control.
Static safety features in all derivatives include airbags for the driver and front passenger, side and curtain airbags. Five three-point safety belts with pretensioners for the driver and front passengers also makes the Kona a very safe choice of transport. The outer rear seats also have ISOFIX attachments points for child seats.
The Hyundai Kona has received a full five-star safety rating in the European New Car Assessment Programme. “The passenger compartment of the KONA remained stable in the frontal offset test. Dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and femurs of the driver and passenger. Hyundai showed that a similar level of protection would be provided to occupants of different sizes and to those sat in different positions,” was one of the conclusions in the test report.
The powertrain line-up for the new Kona reaches new heights in terms of performance. At the top of the line-up is an enhanced Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi engine, linked to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT), which brings 148 kW maximum power and 265 Nm maximum torque to the table. This drivetrain is found in the 1.6 T-GDi Executive and 1.6 T-GDi N-Line derivatives.
A Smartstream 2.0 Nu Atkinson naturally aspirated petrol engine, delivering 110 kW maximum power and 179 Nm peak torque, is used in the Kona 2.0 Executive, where it is linked with an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT).
Hyundai’s Smartstream refers to the “Smart” technological objectives of saving fuel, improving performance, and reducing gas emissions, which are then applied to every step of the “Stream” – the stream of air and fuel injected in the engine, and its explosive power delivered to the wheels via the transmission.
Hyundai’s Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) engine technology, a mechanical system which took Hyundai 9 years to develop and made its debut in 2019, is used in the Kona’s engines. It is. It alters the way the valves operate to boost both engine power and efficiency, and to allow flexibility based on the driver's driving style.
“The development of the CVVD technology is a good example how the Hyundai Motor Group is strengthening our powertrain technology,” said Albert Biermann, president and head of the Research and Development Division at the Hyundai Motor Group.
Typical variable valve control technologies manage the timing of the valve’s opening and closing (as in Continuously Variable Valve Timing - CVVT) or control the volume of air admitted by adjusting the depth of the opening (Continuously Variable Valve Lift - CVVL). Previous variable valve control technologies could not regulate valve duration, as the valve’s closing timing was subordinate to opening timing and could not respond to diverse driving situations. CVVD takes the technology in a new direction by adjusting how long a valve is open.
When the vehicle is maintaining a constant speed and requires low engine output, CVVD leaves intake valve open until the middle and closes the valve near the end of the compression stroke. This helps to improve fuel efficiency by reducing the resistance caused by compression. On the other hand, when engine output is high, such as when the car is driving at a high speed, the intake valve is closed at the beginning of the compression stroke to maximize the amount of air used for the explosion, enhancing torque to improve acceleration.
Optimized valve overlap duration for high-acceleration and high-economy driving needs also boosts performance and economy up to 4% and 5% respectively. Combustion efficiency is also improved, decreasing gas emissions by up to 12%.
Furthermore, the effective compression ratio of the cylinder may be adjusted anywhere between 4:1 to 10.5:1, essentially in variable-compression ratios.
Ride-and-handling enhancements for more comfort
The new Kona has been subject to a series of tuning updates for a smoother ride compared to its predecessor. The suspension has been re-tuned to improve driving comfort, without degrading the Kona’s sporty character. Next to springs and dampers, the stabilizer bars were modified for better ride comfort and isolation. The rear bump stop was also modified, bringing benefits for primary ride and lateral body control.
A McPherson strut type suspension is used at the front of the Kona, while a coupled torsion beam action type multilink is employed for the rear wheels’ suspension.
Several parts of the vehicle have also been renewed to lower Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels, further increasing the comfort inside the cabin.
The steering was fine-tuned to match the new suspension character. The new Kona now shows a comfortable yet connected steering behaviour. Steering efforts are also more linear and well-balanced across the complete speed range. This set-up is applied to the whole Kona range, including the Kona N Line.
The suggested retail prices of the three derivatives in the Hyundai Kona range are:
Kona 2.0 Nu Executive (auto): R449 900
Kona 1.6 T-GDi Executive DCT: R499 900
Kona 1.6 T-GDi N-Line DCT: R579 900
Included in the prices are: