2021 Hyundai Kona revealed, debuts N Line with up to 145kW

As promised, Hyundai has taken the covers off the significantly refreshed Kona for 2021, including introducing the first N Line variant for the popular small SUV.

The design team have applied a sleeker and more sophisticated styling language to the Kona. The front end still features a split headlight layout, but now the bonnet edge is curvier with a sharper end as it connects to the front grille. The grille itself is also wider and includes a new mesh pattern.

At the back the taillights are slimmer and wider than before and there’s a new light cluster in the lower corners, while the diffuser area is updated and includes a contrast silver skid-plate-like trim. Some new 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels are also brought in.

Overall, the new model is 40mm longer than the outgoing model, helping to provide a more dynamic profile. And five new paint colour options are introduced to further spice up the look; Cyber Grey, Dive in Jeju, Ignite Flame, Misty Jungle, and Surfy Blue. Five existing colours continue as well; Chalk White, Dark Knight, Galactic Grey, Phantom Black, and Pulse Red.

Perhaps the biggest news is the arrival of the N Line package. This comes in as a sporty trim level that showcases a range of motorsport-inspired garnishes and enhancements. Body-coloured cladding around the body and special diamond-cut 18-inch wheels, aerodynamic spoilers and larger air intakes provide distinction over the regular model.

Buyers will be able to select from a special N Line interior package, with either single-tone black with cloth or leather or suede seats. Sporty metal pedals, a N gear shifter, and various N logos provide extra flair.

Sticking to the interior, Hyundai has made some vast improvements inside. There’s now a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster available as well as a 10.25-inch touch-screen. Lower grade models receive a new touch-screen as well, jumping from the outgoing 7.0-inch unit to an 8.0-inch screen. All come with digital radio and offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Hyundai says the new model has been enhanced to be more comfortable and convenient than before, offering second row seat heating for some models, and USB charging facilities for the rear passengers. The manual seat adjuster in the front is also updated for easier use, and height adjustment is available for the front passenger.

Under the bonnet, Hyundai is introducing a range of new (for Kona) powertrains. At the top of the range is an updated 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder. It now produces an impressive 145kW (up from 130kW), and comes connected to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Both front- and all-wheel drive options will be available in some markets.

Trickling down, there’s a 1.6-litre Smartstream turbo-diesel being launched, producing 100kW, while a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol developing 88kW joins the range. Both of these new units come with 48V mild hybrid technology to optimise economy and performance. Specific market availability for these hasn’t been outlined.

A 1.6-litre hybrid powertrain continues from before (overseas), generating a combined power of 103kW. It comes matched to a six-speed dual-clutch auto with front-wheel drive, using a 1.56kWh battery and 32kW electric motor. It’s unknown if this unit will make its way to Australia, but judging by Hyundai Motor Group’s other hybrid options, it doesn’t seem likely at this stage.

Hyundai Australia confirms the 2021 Kona will go on sale locally during the first quarter of next year. Final specs and prices will be announced closer to launch.