The new Hyundai Kona is larger than the model it replaces, offers more technology and will be available in Australia for the first time with hybrid power when it arrives later this year.
More details of the second generation Small SUV Hyundai Kona 2023 were unveiled before the first Australian showrooms arrived later this year – now confirmed to include hybrid powertrain for the first time.
The first photos of the new Kona were released late last year – a preview of the larger body, new interior and upgraded technology – but Hyundai has now delved deeply into the new model’s specs and features.
Hyundai Australia has confirmed that hybrid powertrain will be available locally for the first time alongside pure petrol and electric versions – after being introduced overseas for the previous model.
First deliveries in Australia are due mid-year for petrol versions, followed by hybrid and electric models between October and December.
N-Line versions of the petrol, hybrid and electric models are available overseas – but it’s unclear which will be offered in Australia.
drive understands that there is unlikely to be a new Kona N Performance model amid tightening emissions regulations overseas.
As previously reported, the new Hyundai Kona has seen a significant growth spurt, with an increase of 145mm in overall length, 25mm in width, 15mm in height and 60mm between the front and rear wheels for a more spacious interior.
The exact dimensions (for a petrol model with 17-inch wheels) are 4350mm long, 1825mm wide, 1580mm wide and 2660mm between the front and rear axles (the wheelbase).
The design of the new Kona is inspired by the Staria people mover and the latest mid-size family SUV Tucson, with blocky shapes, sharp creases and the triangular body lines on the doors (similar to the subcompact i30 Sedan).
There are Staria-like front and rear LED light bars – with the main headlight and taillight beams located in separate units underneath. Alloy wheels up to 19 inches in diameter are available.
Hyundai claims that the Kona’s design started with the electric version and has been adapted for petrol and hybrid variants – and not the other way around.
Gasoline and hybrid models feature black wheel arches and unique front and rear bumpers with silver skid plates, while the Kona Electric opts for body-colored arches and a largely closed front end.
Exclusive to the electric version are what Hyundai calls Parametric Pixels, which are visible in the front and rear LED light bars and lower bumpers – inspired by its range of Ioniq electric cars.
The N-Line sport variant carries over to the new generation with more aggressive front and rear bumpers, twin exhaust pipes, silver side skirts and, on top-of-the-range versions, a black roof and 19-inch N-Line wheels.
2023 Hyundai Kona interior and technology
Inside, the new Kona upgrades to two 12.3-inch screens for the instruments and infotainment system, which are expected to run the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Hyundai highlights a column-mounted gear selector that reduces space in the center console, which has largely been replaced with open storage that the automaker says “can be used for cup holders or large bag storage.”
Available features confirmed so far by Hyundai – and visible in its images – include heated front seats with memory, heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger, interior ambient lighting, power tailgate, dual-zone climate control and satellite navigation.
The 60mm longer wheelbase – combined with slimmer, 85mm thicker front seats – has resulted in 77mm more rear legroom and 11mm more rear headroom than the old model, according to Hyundai, plus rear shoulder room that’s reportedly “the largest in its class”. .
Boot space is rated at “up to” 723 liters – but this is measured to the more optimistic SAE standard, which isn’t used in Australia and it’s unclear whether that’s the case with the rear seats folded or upright.
The outgoing model claims 374L behind the rear seats according to the more stringent VDA trunk measurement standard.
The infotainment system includes over-the-air updates – while there’s support for Digital Key 2 Touch, which allows drivers to unlock, lock and start their car with their smartphone.
N-Line specific interior features include metal pedals and an N-branded shifter.
2023 Hyundai Kona engines
The new Hyundai Kona is powered by a range of petrol and hybrid engines in South Korea, also shared with its non-identical triplets, the Hyundai i30 Sedan and the Kia Niro.
The petrol engines consist of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder without turbocharger with 110 kW/180 Nm and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with turbocharger and 146 kW/265 Nm.
The hybrid combines a 1.6 liter non-turbo four-cylinder with an electric motor for outputs of 104 kW and 265 Nm.
Details on the new Kona Electric won’t be confirmed until March, but it’s expected to match the electric Kia Niro’s 150kW/255Nm electric motor and 64kWh battery pack.
More details on which engines are destined for Australia, as well as other specifications for the local market, are set to be released in March, but it’s expected that all South Korean options will come here.
Advanced safety technology available in the new Hyundai Kona includes Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Departure Warning, Lane Following Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Assist, Speed Sign Recognition and Auto High Beam.
There’s also door exit warning, speed limiter, 360-degree camera, front, side and rear parking sensors, slow rear AEB for parking spaces and the Blind-Spot View Monitor, which projects a camera image from the side mirrors into the instrument cluster when changing lanes.
Also available is Hyundai and Kia’s Remote Smart Parking Assist feature, which allows the driver to stand beside the car and maneuver it backwards or forwards into or out of a parking space using buttons on the key fob.
the 2023 Hyundai Kona will be in Australian showrooms from the middle of this year. Further details are due in March.
Prices are yet to be confirmed.