HYUNDAI KONA: AN IRRESISTIBLE URGE TO GROW
(Article published in L’Automobile Mechanic magazine, October 2023)
By Isabelle Havasy
To create the second generation of the Kona, no one at Hyundai Canada suggested starting from scratch. Which makes sense: the formula introduced in 2018 has made this model one of Hyundai’s greatest commercial successes.
It’s never easy to repeat a commercial success. For the Kona, however, the path was clear. The new Hyundai could only follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, which was launched in 2018 and almost immediately rocketed to the top of its class in terms of sales. Using the same platform, the Kona, the second of the name, embraces its heritage, but with a few tweaks.
To improve its competitiveness in the face of competition that continues to grow in size and number, Hyundai has found it necessary to increase the dimensions of its SUV. It is longer, wider, and taller than its predecessor. It’s also more welcoming, with considerably additional room for back-seat passengers and greater space in the trunk, where it’s now possible to load golf bags without compromising the rear seats.
This impression of brightness and space is not the only one that comes to mind when you slip aboard the Kona. The gear selector has been moved from its usual position—at the foot of the central dashboard—to take root in the steering column. This idea, taken from the Ioniq, provides more storage space. The redesign of the Kona has also led to technological innovation, says Steve Flammand, Product Manager at Hyundai Canada. “As standard, we offer two large 12.3-inch screens. One for the instrument cluster, the other for the infotainment system. We also offer remote updates (over the air) with the Bluelink system, and the Kona will be our first vehicle to offer the digital key.”
A Sweet Spot for Watts
With the Kona, the brand’s stylists have the credit of introducing a touch of eccentricity—let’s even say a little grain of madness—into an automotive landscape that has become terribly predictable. The Kona’s highly demonstrative front end is unlike any other product from the brand with the stylish H. In addition to its futuristic appearance, the Kona is more aerodynamic than its predecessor.
As for the internal combustion engines (1.6 turbo and 2-litre naturally aspirated), there’s nothing new. However, the 1.6-liter turbo drops the dual-clutch gearbox in favour of a more traditional 8-speed gearbox. All the attention of the South Korean manufacturer has been devoted to the all-electric powertrain, which is set to make its debut on the Canadian market this winter.
Price range: $25,999 to $38,499
Cost of transport and preparation: $1,925
Available at dealerships: N-Line (now), Essential and Preferred (later this fall).
Electric version expected in the first quarter of 2024.