Hyundai Kona – fresh looks and N Line models join the range

  • The popular Hyundai Kona has been facelifted for 2021
  • Sporty N-Line trim is added to the range
  • Full details of new model, on sale November 2020

Hyundai Kona (2021) front view

The Hyundai Kona has been given a facelift for 2021. The refreshed small SUV gets a lightly-revised front end, two mild hybrids, and a sporty new N-Line model that's available with a 197hp turbocharged petrol engine.

The new N-Line model features a more hunkered-down look, which loses the plastic side cladding that sets apart so many small SUVs from the hatchbacks they're based upon. Among the N-Line modifications are 18-inch wheels a bodykit and twin exhaust tailpipes.

The new front styling does sharpen up the Kona no end, though. In profile, there’s now a sharper-looking nose, new grille and headlamp design. There are new colours to choose from, though mostly a mix of greys and blues.

What's it like inside?

As you'd expect, the updated Kona gets more tech, and new trims. But there's more to it than that – especially as the new N-Line models get a sportier interior, with ‘N’ embossed seats, metal pedals and red embellishments.

Top models also receive a larger 10.25-inch digital instrument panel from the i20, and the central infotainment touchscreen can also bespecified in the same size. Connected features include running multiple Bluetooth devices at once, plus live parking and real-time traffic updates for effective navigation. 

Hyundai Kona (2021) interior view

It also gets updated adaptive cruise control that can can now stop and go, and the blind spot monitoring and rear parking systems will now brake the Hyundai if oncoming vehicles appear to be on a collision course. The Forward Collision Avoidance system can now better spot pedestrians, observe cyclists, and work better in poor weather.

What engines are now available?

Unlike most small family SUVs, the Kona is available with four-wheel drive on the 1.6-litre petrol and diesel. Mild hybrid petrols join the range, promising a useful reduction in consumption and emissions, with the facelifted Kona actually having to grow 40mm longer to accommodate the new tech.

Here’s the engine and transmission line-up:

>> 1.0-litre T-GDI, 120hp, seven-speed auto or six-speed manual
>> 1.0-litre T-GDI, 120hp, with 48v mild hybrid and six-speed manual
>> 1.6-litre T-GDI, 197hp, seven-speed auto, front- and four-wheel drive
>> 1.6-litre diesel, 136hp, with 48v mild hybrid, seven-speed auto or six-speed manual, front- and four-wheel drive

What this means for you

The Kona was always a good small family SUV, if not the best for your money. But the arrivals of these facelifted models, and their additional tech, certainly sharpen up its act. The sportier N Line models will certainly look good in the showroom, but we're interested to see if it will give our current favourite small SUV, the Ford Puma, a run for its money.

The 1.6-litre hybrid and Kona Electric will also get cosmetic revisions, too, but at a later date. Hyundai states that the 140hp hybrid with its 1.56kWh battery will arrive in early 2021. The new petrol and mid-hybrid range goes on sale in November 2020, and isn't expected to cost much more than the existing model.

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Hyundai Kona (2021) rear view