2021 Hyundai Kona on sale in Australia, adds sporty N Line variant

The facelifted 2021 Hyundai Kona is now on sale in Australia, bringing in a range of updates and revisions, as well as the introduction of the all-new N Line version that features a powerful new turbo engine.

Six main variants are available, spanning from the regular Kona, Kona Active, Elite and Highlander, and then N Line and N Line Premium. These are split with two powertrain options, including a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol that develops 110kW and 180Nm, sent through a CVT, and a new 1.6 turbo that develops 146kW and 265Nm. The turbo is hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.

The turbo is only available in N Line form, where it becomes the most powerful SUV in its specific class. All 2.0 models are front-wheel drive, while the N Line turbo is all-wheel drive. Moving from a conventional automatic to a CVT, the 2.0 engine scores a 14 per cent improvement on fuel efficiency. It’s now rated at 6.2L/100km on the combined cycle, down from 7.2L/100km.

As we saw with the new model’s unveiling back in September, the 2021 Kona welcomes a facelifted exterior design. Highlight changes include a split front grille, elongated headlights instead of the rectangular main beam clusters on the outgoing model, while the rear end receives updated taillights and new indicator clusters, with a revised centre diffuser section lower down.

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Safety has been beefed up for the new model, with Hyundai’s SmartSense suite coming as standard. It includes autonomous emergency braking with adaptive cruise control, lane following assist and lane keeping assist, and rear occupant alert. All models also come with tyre pressure monitoring, LED daytime running lights, auto headlights, and a rear-view camera.

Stepping up to the N Line not only gets you the turbo engine and all-wheel drive, there’s also a sporty bodykit, multi-link rear suspension, 18-inch N Line alloy wheels, alloy pedals inside, and special red stitching for the interior. The N Line Premium adds heated front seats, LED headlights, head-up display, and a 10.25-inch fully digital instrument cluster (also fitted to the Highlander).

As with most Hyundai products, the 2021 Kona has been tuned and tested for Australian conditions. Local engineering has included thousands of kilometres of road testing in all kinds of conditions in Australia, with calibrations made to various components to help ensure it handles local standards.

The new model is on sale now from the following prices (excluding on-road costs). PerformanceDrive will be at the official media launch event next week, with reviews under embargo until February 5. Stay tuned.

2021 Hyundai Kona 2.0L FWD CVT auto: $26,600
2021 Hyundai Kona Active 2.0L FWD CVT auto: $28,200
2021 Hyundai Kona Elite 2.0L FWD CVT auto: $31,600
2021 Hyundai Kona Highlander 2.0L FWD CVT auto: $38,000

2021 Hyundai Kona N Line 1.6T AWD DCT: $36,300
2021 Hyundai Kona N Line Premium 1.6T AWD DCT: $42,400

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.