Hyundai Kona Electric gets a range of updates in mid-life refresh

Hyundai's Kona Electric has proved to be an extremely popular EV across the continent, with 53,000 sold since its introduction in 2018. It has now been given a light refresh, predominantly in the looks and technology departments, with the powertrains remaining fundamentally the same.

The most obvious updates are to the outside of the Kona Electric in what Hyundai is calling “bold exterior design updates”. Fortunately for the Kona, it was never a bad looking car in the first place, though the redesign most certainly represents an improvement to our eyes.

Styling enhancements

Up front, there's a new-look closed grille which has been tidied up, losing the chrome strip so just the Hyundai badge remains at the fore-end of the B-segment SUV. This is framed by new headlamps incorporating LED daytime running lights which are sleeker and aim to enhance the car's wide stance. The charging port is located on the front nearside of the grille.

The headlamps themselves feature multifaceted reflector technology and carry around to the side of the car more successfully, meeting the now painted wheel arches. Aerodynamically functional air intakes in front of the wheels are more vertical and neater, whilst the fog lights above them have also undergone a tidy up. The lower air intake is fully functional and now has pronounced vertical struts where the previous car didn't have any.

At the rear the makeover is more restrained, limited to new tail lamps which are stretched horizontally to complement the front of the car, as well as reinforcing the wide stance of the Kona. The new Kona Electric is 25mm longer than the outgoing version and can be specified in one of ten exterior colours, of which five are new.

Updated interior with new technology

For the first time, the Kona Electric gets a 10.25 inch digital instrument cluster (up from 7 inches), whilst the 10.25 inch touchscreen is carried over from a previous update to the car. It incorporates all of the major connectivity features you'd expect from a modern EV but now gets Bluelink, enabling owners to control the car via voice or smartphone as well as using the app to monitor and schedule charging remotely. Connected Routing has been incorporated, improving the navigation's accuracy as well as offering a greater level of real-time information.

We didn't have any complaints about the previous car's infotainment when we had the Kona on test, so the upgrade will simply ensure its right up there with rivals.

Ambient lighting now illuminates the front foot wells, whist there are two interior colour packages – one-tone black in cloth or leather, or two-tone grey which is available exclusively with leather.

Another thing that the previous Kona Electric wasn't short of was safety features, yet this hasn't stopped Hyundai from adding more. New to the Hyundai SmartSense package are blind spot collision avoidance, rear cross traffic collision avoidance, leading vehicle departure alert (alerts the driver if a vehicle in front moves off and the driver doesn't react), safe exit warning and rear seat alert (tells occupants when it's safe to open front or rear doors).

Two powertrain options maintained

As with the old car, the new Hyundai Kona comes with a 39.2kWh battery and 134bhp motor, or a long range version with a 64kWh battery and 201bhp motor. These are unchanged, but thanks to improvements in tyre technology, both cars get a few extra miles on a charge, with the standard range car achieving 189 miles on the WLTP cycle, and the long-range car 300 miles. In both cases these ranges are genuinely achievable in real life, with owners of the old car reporting 300 miles being eminently possible. Charging speeds are the same as previous, which you can read about in our review.

Price and availability 

Update 11.03.21: Hyundai has released the prices for its updated Kona Electric. A base-spec SE Connect spec car with the 39kWh battery starts at £30,125 after the plug-in car grant and sneaks below £300 per month on PCP finance. A Premium spec car with the same battery starts at £31,475, or with the 64kWh battery can be bought for £35,225. The top-spec Kona Electric Ultimate is available exclusively with the 64kWh battery and is priced from £37,375 after the PiCG is applied. 

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