New 2023 Hyundai Kona gets hybrid and full-EV power options

The new Hyundai Kona is bigger than before and comes with a comprehensive exterior redesign

This is our first official look at the new second-generation Hyundai Kona and while the design may have changed radically from the original, the Korean crossover will still offer a range of plug-in hybrid, full hybrid and pure-electric powertrains.

The Kona is expected to launch later this year, although Hyundai hasn’t suggested pricing for the new car as yet. We’d predict a slight price increase to around £22,500 for the mild-hybrid version all the way up to roughly £34,000 for the Kona Electric model.

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Although Hyundai’s line up of bespoke EVs will grow this year with the Ioniq 7 primed to join the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6, the Kona is set to continue to offer a range of different powertrains.

The Mk2 Kona – which will sit below the Tucson but above the Bayon in Hyundai’s line-up – clearly has a more grown-up approach than the original. It’s larger, for starters – 25mm wider and 150mm longer, at 4,355mm, just 70mm down on the Kia Niro. A 60mm stretch in wheelbase will help to increase rear space and expand on the current car’s 374-litre boot capacity.

Hyundai’s design team, led by SangYup Lee, has given the car’s exterior a more muscular, hi-tech look. It designed the all-electric version first, before transferring its principles to the editions that use combustion-engined power – and the result is a sophisticated front end, with a single light bar running across the leading edge of the bonnet, and pronounced wheelarch extensions (the car sits on 19-inch alloys) that give the new Kona a more planted stance than its predecessor.

The flanks have sharper, more chiselled surfacing than before, but the most eye-catching detail is undoubtedly the huge single LED headlight. Hyundai calls it the Seamless Horizon Lamp – and it will be pixelated on the all-electric variant, along with an area of the lower bumper, to help connect this car to the likes of the Ioniq 5 and 6. There’s also another full-length LED light bar at the rear with the reverse light integrated in yet another pixelated light cluster on the rear bumper. 

In addition to the electric and hybrid editions, Hyundai has also previewed a successor to the current sporty N Line model. It gets black trim detailing on the side mirrors and roof, a larger spoiler and reprofiled bumpers that reflect what is likely to be a lower ride height. The standard Kona hybrid gets its own exterior design, with silver bumper inserts, wheelarch cladding and its own set of diamond-cut alloy wheels. 

The Kona’s interior looks set for a major upgrade, too. The single image released by the company shows a much more premium appearance, with mood lighting and brighter, plusher materials used in all of the key areas – compared to the current car’s grey plastics. The fascia has a slimline ‘single line’ vent layout, designed to make the cabin feel wider, and the dash features a 12.3-inch central display and what is probably a 10.25-inch digital instrument screen, fused together onto a single ‘floating’ panel in the usual Hyundai way.

The brand’s designers have also relocated the gear selector from the centre console to behind the steering wheel; Hyundai claims this frees up space between the front seats, allowing additional storage. There’s also a flat floor in the rear, allowing for more legroom.

No technical details have been released, but we know that the Kona is moving across onto the K3 platform, the same architecture used by the latest Kia Niro. Hyundai is unlikely to offer the car as a plug-in hybrid, continuing the policy of the original, but expect 48V 1.0-litre mild-hybrid, 1.6-litre full-hybrid and pure-electric versions to be available.

The full-EV model should continue to feature a 201bhp motor driving the front wheels, but while it will receive improved battery management and a small increase in capacity, the larger dimensions are likely to keep its range at around 300 miles – which is still above the 285-mile Niro EV. Although Kia offers a seven-year warranty on the Niro, the new Kona will come with a five-year warranty.

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