We look at the roomier and more advanced 2023 Hyundai Kona

The ruggedly charming 2023 Hyundai Kona is an ideal choice for urban commutes. Initially designed as an electric vehicle (EV), the upcoming second-generation Kona now comes in a range of options, including internal combustion engine (ICE), Hybrid-electric (HEV), and all-electric (EV) variants. 

While the availability of the all-electric model in the South African market remains unconfirmed, the N Line versions are making their way to our shores. Furthermore, we are eager to get our hands on the plug-in hybrid model, aiming to compete with the likes of the Corolla Cross Hybrid and the Haval Jolion HEV.

The brand-new Kona offers increased roominess compared to its previous iteration, primarily attributed to a lengthier wheelbase and sleeker front seat backs, resulting in enhanced comfort for passengers in the rear. Below, we explore this model's precise modifications and noteworthy characteristics.

The latest Kona model has undergone some notable enhancements. It has been extended in length by 150mm and widened by 25mm, resulting in overall measurements of 4,355 mm. This increase in size is attributed to the elongated wheelbase, which has been expanded by 60mm to reach 2,660mm. In addition, the Kona now provides improved comfort for passengers in the second row, with increased legroom by 77mm and headroom by 11mm. Occupants in the backseat also benefit from a generous shoulder room of 1,402mm. Furthermore, the luggage space has been significantly boosted to 723 litres, a substantial increase of 179 litres.

The front design showcases a prominent horizontal lighting feature. In the case of the petrol-powered and HEV versions, the bumper incorporates a three-dimensional embellishment and protective plate, replacing the traditional grille. The HEV variant additionally includes both upper and lower Active Air Flaps (AAF), whereas the petrol-powered model utilises only the upper AAF to enhance its aerodynamic efficiency.

The sides exhibit sleek black cladding, carefully designed side panels, and an intricate chrome strip running from the bottom of the A-pillars to the front of the tailgate spoiler. The back of the vehicle also features a complete lighting arrangement spanning its entire width, accompanied by a brake light positioned on top and seamlessly integrated into the spoiler. 

The interior design is sleek yet modern, and the Kona boasts elegant ambient lighting, a shifter mounted on the column, and the option of luxurious leather seats. The dashboard is highlighted by two prominent 12.3-inch displays, seamlessly integrated behind a single, uninterrupted glass panel. These displays also support software updates delivered over the air (OTA). The first display can be customised to show various gauges, while the second serves as a big touchscreen for the infotainment system. 

The ICE lineup feels quite recognisable. The entry-level variant features a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine producing 109.5 kW of power and 180 Nm of torque, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). As for the higher-end versions, they come equipped with a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine churning 145.6 kW of power and 265 Nm of torque that goes to the wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The all-new Hyundai Kona comes with basic safety facilities, but the N-Line models boast advanced functionalities such as:

  •  6 Airbag System 
  • Blind Spot Detection
  • Lane Departure Warning System
  • Fatigue Detection
  • Rear parking sensors and camera
  • Smart Cruise Control
  • ESP (Electronic Stability Program)

The 2023 Kona starts at 509,900, while the range-topping Kona N goes for R641,900. The Kona N Line model starts from R811,900, boasting 206 kW/392 Nm power, paddle shift, red brake callipers, electronically limited-slip differential, and heightened safety features. (Prices correct at time of publication.)

Looking for a new car?
Every month we’re seeing more EV options becoming available for the South African market. If you’re looking for a new car, make an informed decision! Check out the MotorHappy blog, where every month we review some of South Africa’s latest new car models. 

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