Refresh Awaits Hyundai's Kona; N Line Model to Arrive for 2021

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
refresh awaits hyundais kona n line model to arrive for 2021

The subcompact Hyundai Kona earned itself no shortage of attention on these digital pages after it landed in dealers in February of 2018. Some of that press was, ahem, not favorable to the little Hyundai, which impressed neither in interior volume or in off-roadability.

It’s a subcompact crossover, of course. Its utility will be limited. Still, the Kona proved a success for Hyundai, boosting sales volume for the suddenly-struggling brand and helping get it to where it is today. Despite the pandemic, July saw the model’s fourth-best monthly showing since its debut.

Committed to fielding the freshest lineup around, Hyundai already has changes in store for the Kona. If power was once a concern, a new variant should put that issue to rest.

Yes, there’s a Kona N on the way, but before that happens, there’ll be an N Line. Y’all know what that is, don’t you? The Elantra just received the treatment, and the Elantra GT just lost it (along with its life). A sportier ride, mild exterior flourishes, larger wheels, and a potent four-cylinder turbo denotes N Line.

In the Elantra version, it means a 1.6-liter turbo making 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft, with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic doing the rowing. This mill will likely find its way into the Kona N Line. Hold out a little longer if “N” levels of power are the only thing capable of getting you out of your seat.

As for the upcoming refresh, Hyundai saw fit to maintain the stacked headlamp motif, but changes abound. For starters, the grille is now horizontally-oriented and not nearly as tall. The Hyundai badge migrates northward, between the still razor-thin upper headlamps, while the lower lamps become a trio of upright LEDs placed on a slight diagonal. The lower bumper also sees significant changes, with a wider and larger lower intake. In the dark, the refreshed Kona looks more than a little like the Ford Escape.

Going N Line means a meaner front fascia, however, with an N Line badge tucked into the corner of the grille mesh. Three slots in the upper fascia replace the long slit seen in the current iteration of the Kona. While they look like the N Line needs to gulp more air, it isn’t known whether they’re even functional.

Elsewhere, the N Line’s LED Trio seems more on the level, literally, while the Hyundai badge returns to the center of the grille mesh. It shouldn’t be hard to tell the two variants apart.

Hyundai claims that a new front skid plate and bumper lends the Kona an “armored appearance,” which is certainly a statement worthy of debate. The automaker also claims the model boasts a wider stance, without elaborating on it. More details should land in the coming weeks as the ’21 Kona heads closer to these shores.

[Images: Hyundai]

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 1 comment
  • RHD RHD on Sep 03, 2020

    Not a single comment! Either the comment machine is out of order, or no one really cares about the Kona. I think it's the latter.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion:
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?