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Road test: The attractive Hyundai Kona. Now with a variety of upgrades

Seldom has the colour of a vehicle turned so many heads as the Surfy Blue Hyundai Kona. It's an unmistakable lifestyle colour that adds to the general zest of life. And wherever I drove the Kona to, there were always giving the Kona a complimentary once over. It's a colour that I would not hesitate to order on the Kona, assuming that I was in the market for one. But, let's get back to the vehicle instead. The Kona has dynamic new looks and, for the first time, a sporty N Line trim. The Kona has been a success story for Hyundai since its global introduction in 2017, and in South Africa close to 1,700 units of this crossover SUV model have been sold since its local introduction in 2018.
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj


The fresh design, including the all-new sporty N Line trim, offers a dynamic new appearance. An enhanced powertrain line-up provides both sporty and eco-friendly options to suit a wide variety of buyers, while upgraded convenience features make for an even more satisfying ownership experience.

The safety suite has also been improved with new active and passive safety features available.

“We are excited about the new Kona – Hyundai’s designers have really done a fine job with the new styling features, especially on the front.

Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj

The interior also has a new fresh, clean appearance, and the N Line stands out even more with its special exterior and interior styling treatments. We expect Kona sales to grow, and that this crossover model will take a stronger position in our leisure vehicle line-up,” says Stanley Anderson, sales and operations director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa.

Sleek, sophisticated design upgrades

Design updates on the front and rear give the new Kona an even more sleek, sophisticated look, which adds to the bold, progressive design of the model that was launched in 2018. The striking new front end design stands out through its sporty look and eye-catching, protective cladding panels.

At the top, the stretched bonnet ends sharply over the centre grille with a wide, distinctive shape giving the Kona a powerful look. Enhanced LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) provide a narrow, piercing look to the road ahead. Lower down, the main bumper fascia connects smoothly to the wheel arch claddings, forming a unique and robust armour in a contrasting material to the main body.

Lifestyle colours

The new Kona comes with six exterior colours: Surfy Blue, Ignite Flame, Cyber Gray, Phantom Black, Atlas White, Dark Knight and Pulse Red. Every colour can be combined with the Phantom Black two-tone roof for the 1.6 T-GDi Executive and N Line derivatives.

The two-tone roof also comes with matching mirror housings. This contributes to the Kona’s sporty and sleek appearance and gives customers more options for personalisation and self-expression.

Interior re-vamped

The interior is designed to express a more sophisticated and progressive appearance. A rugged, yet refined look matches the exterior boldness, appealing to customers with an active lifestyle. A new console is disconnected from the instrument panel to stress the horizontal layout, appearing wide for a spacious ambience.

Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj

The Kona’s rear cargo area has been increased and second-row legroom has also been improved, along with USB-port access for second-row passengers.

Lifestyle connectivity

Several new convenience features allow for a more comfortable ride, including a second-row USB port for backseat passengers. The new Kona Executive variants with manual seats has also been improved. Front passengers can also now adjust their seat height for an optimised seating position.

As standard, the new Kona has also been upgraded with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, meaning customers do not have to use a cable anymore to connect their phones to the 8-inch display infotainment system. A wireless cell phone charging pad in the centre console is also standard across the range. And all the bells and whistles are there for a safe drive.

Power drive

The powertrain lineup for the new Kona reaches new heights in terms of performance. At the top of the line-up is an enhanced Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi engine, linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which brings 146 kW maximum power and 265 Nm maximum torque to the table.

Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj

This drivetrain is found in the 1.6 T-GDi Executive and 1.6 T-GDi N-Line derivatives. A Smartstream 2.0 Nu Atkinson naturally aspirated petrol engine, delivering 110kW maximum power and 179Nm peak torque, is used in the Kona 2.0 Executive, where it is linked with an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT).


The suggested retail prices of the three derivatives in the Hyundai Kona range are:

  • Kona 2.0 Nu Executive (auto): R449,900
  • Kona 1.6 T-GDi Executive DCT: R499,900
  • Kona 1.6 T-GDi N-Line DCT: R579,900

Included in the prices are:

  • A seven-year/200,000km manufacturer’s warranty
  • A five-year/75,000km service plan
  • Roadside assistance for seven years or 150,000km

About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on moc.liamg@123jarahamn.

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