New 2023 Hyundai Kona gets bold look and extra space

The Mk2 Hyundai Kona will continue with electric, plug-in and full hybrid power, and will sit between the Tucson and Bayon in the brand's range

The Hyundai Kona was one of the first vehicles to really embrace a choice of hybrid and electric across its range – but as the Korean manufacturer has pushed more towards EVs, its small SUV has risked being left behind by progress on design. That should change in 2023 with the second-generation Kona, previewed for the first time in these official images.

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. Hyundai will be hoping that a 60mm stretch in wheelbase will help to address two of the original’s biggest shortcomings: rear cabin space and boot capacity.

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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 that give the new Kona a more planted stance than its predecessor. The strip – which Hyundai calls the Seamless Horizon Lamp – 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.

The flanks have sharper, more chiselled surfacing than before and pronounced wheelarch cladding, helping to reflect the Kona’s positioning between the all-electric vehicles in Hyundai’s range and the likes of the Tucson. The car sits on 19-inch alloys.

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 Kona’s interior looks set for a major upgrade, too. The single image released by the company shows a much more premium look, with brighter and plusher materials than the current car’s grey plastics used in all of the key areas. 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.

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 latter 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.

The new Kona should land in UK dealers next summer. Hyundai hasn’t issued any specs or prices, but given the SUV’s slight increase in size, it’s fair to expect a modest rise over the current car’s price tag, with a potential starting point of £22,500 on mild-hybrid versions.

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