Hyundai Showcases New Kona

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

[Images: Hyundai]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 11 comments
  • Poltergeist Poltergeist on Mar 08, 2023

    I like how Dungdai pre-installs weird creases in the sides of their cars now so you can't see the one's "installed" when their typically crummy drivers drive them into poles, traffic signs etc.

  • PeterPuck PeterPuck on Mar 08, 2023

    Someone here once said that Hyundai has a knack for designing cars that look like they’ve already been in an accident. It’s still true.

    Like Twitter users overstate things and use hyperbole to gain attention, Hyundai overstyles their cars to gain attention.

  • Leonard Ostrander We own a 2017 Buick Envision built in China. It has been very reliable and meets our needs perfectly. Of course Henry Ford was a fervent anti-semite and staunch nazi sympathizer so that rules out Ford products.
  • Ravenuer I would not.
  • V8fairy Absolutely no, for the same reasons I would not have bought a German car in the late 1930's, and I am glad to see a number of other posters here share my moral scruples. Like EBFlex I try to avoid Chinese made goods as much as possible. The quality may also be iffy, but that is not my primary concern
  • Tsarcasm No, Japan only. Life costs by Rank:#1 - House (150k+)#2 - Education (30k+)#3 - Automobile (30k+) why waste hard earned money in inferior crap => Korean, Chinese, and American cars are trash. a toyota or honda will last twice as long.
  • Tassos In the 90s we hired a former PhD student and friend of mine, who 'worked' at GM "Research" labs, to come work for us as a 'temp' lecturer and get paid extra. He had no objection from GM, came during the day (around 2 PM), two hours drive round trip, plus the 1.5 hour lecture, twice weekly. (basically he goofed off two entire afternoons out of the five) He told me they gave him a different model new car every month, everything (even gas) paid. Instead of him paying parking, I told him to give me the cars and I drove them for those 90 mins, did my shopping etc. Almost ALL sucked, except the Eldo coupe with the Northstar. That was a nice engine with plenty of power (by 90s standards). One time they gave him the accursed Caddy Catera, which was as fun driving as having sex with a fish, AND to make it worse, the driver's door handle broke and my friend told me GM had to pay an arm and a leg to fix it, needed to replace almost the whole damned door!