Hyundai Showcases New Kona
The brand from Korea is no stranger to applying massive styling changes during next-gen redesigns and even some mid-cycle refreshes. This tradition continues with its latest Kona, an entrant in the B-segment crossover class which retains some of the old car’s overall shape but puts on an entirely new (and slightly alarming) front and rear fascias.
With the introduction of the overseas Staria minivan and now this Kona, we’re clearly into what historians will eventually call Hyundai’s ‘Robocop’ era. As with numerous vehicles on the road today, its headlamps are in the bumper jowls but, thanks to the human proclivity to assign anthropomorphic traits to vehicles, a narrow strip of LEDs span the new Kona’s hoodline in an effort to give the thing some form of relatable styling in the area we have been conditioned to expect a set of ‘eyes’. The charging door on EV variants is as prominent as it is invisible on some of its Genesis cousins.
Pixelated squares on the lower valance tie the Kona to members of the all-electric Ioniq family, and aggressive side strakes recall the Elantra. More pixels appear out back, some on the wide taillamp plus a few more on the bottom of its bumper. It’d seem Hyundai is keeping turn signals on this model tucked on the car’s outer corners; we’d complain this makes them more difficult to see in traffic than if they were integrated into the high-riding illuminated strip but that observation is already well-trodden.
Growing significantly in size, the new Kona is 6.9 inches longer with a 2.4-inch longer wheelbase compared to last year’s car. This bumps the cargo capacity behind the rear seats to 17 cubic feet from just 13 cubes. Interior trappings are also vastly improved, now offering twin 12.3-inch displays and zooty color combos. Note the retention of real buttons for common controls, which is a good thing.
There will be numerous power choices. Hyundai says the Kona was developed as an EV first, so let’s start there. Some markets will get a ‘standard range’ trim but it’s a safe bet we will only get the 65.4 kWh battery paired with a 214-horsepower electric motor. Euro estimates (which are always generous) suggest a driving range of over 300 miles but something closer to 250 is expected when the EPA has its say. Will all-wheel drive appear? Maybe as a hot N model later on.
Gasser trims will get the familiar 2.0L engine, though N Line will be treated to a 1.6L turbo. No one is talking power numbers for those cars as yet but it is reasonable to assume they’ll be similar – if not identical – to the present Kona, meaning roughly 150 horses for the 2.0L and nearly 200 for the 1.6L Gamma engine. All-wheel drive should be on the table in some configurations and whilst a hybrid powertrain is on tap in some parts of the world, the rumor mill says that powertrain won’t make it to America.
Look for the new Kona in dealers roughly when the kids go back to school in September.
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Like Twitter users overstate things and use hyperbole to gain attention, Hyundai overstyles their cars to gain attention.