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Facelifted Hyundai Kona aims to redefine compact SUVs

Details of EV version set to be unveiled in March

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : Jan. 18, 2023 - 13:14

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Chang Jae-hoon, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor, introduces the all-new Kona in an online media event on Tuesday. (Hyundai Motor Group) Chang Jae-hoon, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor, introduces the all-new Kona in an online media event on Tuesday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group on Wednesday launched the all-new Kona, a second-generation subcompact sport utility vehicle, with an aim to set new standards for small SUVs.

“Kona is Hyundai Motor’s most iconic SUV. We took the creative design of the existing model and applied a new method of designing the electric vehicle first and putting it on the internal combustion engine model later to create a more futuristic design,” said Chang Jae-hoon, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor, in a media preview event.

“The all-new Kona offers the best driving experience among (the other subcompact SUVs) as it is equipped with best-in-class safety and convenience technology. It will be the best option for customers who enjoy different challenges and lifestyles,” he said.

The facelifted Kona, which comes in gasoline, hybrid and electric models, features a seamless horizon lamp on the front side, a futuristic headlamp design that Hyundai Motor has continuously applied to its new vehicles since the launch of the minivan Staria in 2021.

The all-new Kona comes 4,350 millimeters in length, 145 millimeters longer than the previous generation model. The wheelbase, the distance between the centers of the front and rear wheels, is 2,660 mm, 60 mm longer than the old version. The boot provides 723 liters of cargo space behind the rear seat, up approximately 30 percent from the previous model.

Touting the new Kona as a “rule breaker,” the automaker underlined its first-in-class functions such as over-the-air software updates and next-generation infotainment system. The company also highlighted its third-generation platform that provides top-notch safety features.

The gasoline 1.6 turbo model -- the strongest powertrain of the all-new Kona’s four variants -- has a maximum of 198 horsepower. As for fuel efficiency, the hybrid model can drive up to 19.8 kilometers per liter, according to estimates at the automaker’s research lab.

Hyundai Motor said the goal for this year is to sell 37,000 units nationwide, adding that local customers who order the gasoline-fueled engine models will be able to receive their vehicles after the Lunar New Year holiday that runs from Jan. 21 to 24. Deliveries for the hybrid model will take place once the regulatory approvals are obtained.

Hyundai Motor predicts that hybrid models will take up about 40 percent of total Kona sales.

More details about Kona's electric version will be disclosed in March, with the official launch date set for the second quarter, the company said.

Each regional office is preparing for a global launch and overseas release announcements will be made depending on the regional launch schedule, it added.

Starting prices of the all-new Kona have been set at 25.37 million won ($20,468) for the gasoline 1.6 turbo model, 24.68 million won for the gasoline 2.0 model and 31.19 million won for the hybrid model.