The updated 2021 Hyundai Kona has made its official debut, arriving with revised exterior looks, more cargo capacity and rear legroom and a sporty new Kona N-Line model.
The addition of the Kona N-Line is arguably the most exciting part about the 2021 model year Kona, so let's focus on that first. Pulling inspiration from Hyundai's various motorsports ventures, the Kona N-Line gets a unique front fascia, a lower front lip spoiler, body-colour wheel arch claddings, new rocker panels, 18-inch alloy wheels, a different rear bumper, and a dual-tip exhaust. Inside, the crossover has cloth or available leather or suede seats with red contrasting stitching, metal sport pedals, and an N-branded gear shift lever. There's really no major performance enhancements (that's being saved for the likely upcoming full Kona N model) but N-Line models do get a specific tuning map for the electric power steering rack.
Powering Kona N-Line models will be the range-topping 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, which gets some small enhancements and now produces 195 hp, 20 hp more than the 1.6-litre in the 2020 Kona. The 1.6-litre engine pairs with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and is available with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Hyundai will also offer a new Kona Hybrid model in Europe (it's not clear if it will be in Canada yet) that will pair a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine with a 32 kW electric motor, six-speed transmission and front-wheel drive. This model will be good for 139 horsepower.
Inside, the crossover gets some minor revisions in the way of a redesigned dashboard and new ambient lighting. Customers can also specify a new available 10.25-inch digital driver's display and 10.25-inch central infotainment display, though even the standard system will come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Lastly, Hyundai went back to the drawing board with regard to the interior packaging and was able to eke out a little extra rear legroom and cargo capacity, making this popular people hauler even more appealing to budding families.
Like many new Hyundai vehicles, the Kona offers an impressive array of standard and available active safety features and the automaker even managed to add some new active safety items for 2021. These include, but are not limited to, blind-spot collision avoidance assist, safe exit warning, rear-seat alert, lane following assist, and intelligent speed limit warning. Additionally, all Kona models will now come standard with an 'e-Call' feature that will automatically alert emergency services if the vehicle's airbag goes off or the e-Call button is pressed.
Hyundai says the 2021 Kona and Kona N-Line will begin to arrive at dealerships "towards the end of the year," while the new Kona Hybrid will launch in the beginning of 2021. A revised Kona Electric model is also on the way, though it will carry over the powertrain and electric driving range of the current version.