Hyundai once suffered from a scarcity of SUVs, now is rolling out the second generation of those utility vehicles, in this case the 2022 Kona, with offerings ranging from gas-powered and performance models to the all-electric version.
The South Korean automaker showed off its new portfolio of Kona small utes with not only the regular model, but also an N Line variant as well as the next-gen battery-electric version. Unsurprisingly, the exterior changes are more updates than complete makeovers while the interiors get a little roomier and additional technology.
It’s easy to focus on the fact that Hyundai, like most other automakers, is pushing on its electrification efforts, much of that expected to be filtered through to its Ioniq line-up in the near future, but the new Kona ensures the all-electric sub-brand isn’t the only way to get a battery-powered ute from Hyundai.
New model plays role in electrification
This is especially important, the automaker notes, as the Kona was the first Hyundai SUV that was fully electric and it “plays a key role” in the brand’s move toward electrification.
“For 2022, Kona and Kona Electric have been freshly redesigned with new safety and convenience features that ensure they remain at the top of SUV buyer lists,” said Olabisi Boyle, vice president of Product Planning and Mobility Strategy, Hyundai Motor North America.
“Whether they desire the eco-focused Electric, Turbo or sporty new N Line version, we’re confident this new Kona will exceed the most demanding compact SUV buyer expectations.”
Exterior gets an update for 2022
The new Kona’s exterior isn’t a massive change from its predecessor, but the front end does get redone for the 2022 model year. Hyundai claims it’s looking for a more sophisticated look, and with slit-like LED headlights framing a smaller grille that look is achieved. However, with a contrasting color fascia housing fog lamps and air intake vents that sophistication is given an athletic touch.
That look is further enhanced by the skid plate elements under the lower air intake that mirrors the look of the grille. The overall look of the new Kona is described as “wedge-shaped” by the maker, and it’s an apt characterization. It appears as if it’s cutting through headwinds and keeping low to the ground. The rear gets a new look too with a new fascia that mimicks the front and taillights that are thin, wrapping around the rear corners.
The electric model strays from that look, with a solid front where the grille is on the other vehicle, making it look a bit snub nosed. Adding to that is the door that houses the vehicle’s charging port. The snub-nosed former grille is flat whereas the previous model featured a pattern on it. The lower intake also gets a different look than the conventional model.
The interior, according to Hyundai, was “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.” It’s tough to read all of that into it, but Hyundai interiors typically employ an elegant simplicity. That hasn’t changed for the 2022 model.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen sits atop the center stack console in the ICE and electric models. The HVAC controls are clean and easy to reach while the materials appear to be in line with the price point of the vehicle, although a strong point for recent model Hyundais.
Buyers of the N Line variant can expect the interior to let them know that’s exactly what they’ve purchased. It features a special color package with black seats with red stitching, metal pedals and the N logo on the seat, steering wheel and gear shift lever. You won’t forget it’s an N Line.
Under the hood
Also serving as a reminder is the 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder putting out 195 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque mated to a specifically tuned 7-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission allowing for simple, quick shifts. That’s available on the Limited model as well.
The standard powerplant for the 2022 Kona is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson engine producing 147 hp and 132 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s paired with a new Smartstream Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) for maximum efficiency, Hyundai notes.
Battery-electric fans geta 150 kW or 201 hp permanent magnet synchronous electric motor tied to a 64 kWh lithium-ion battery. It develops 291 lb.-ft. of torque and gets MPGe of 132 city, 108 highway and 120 combined.
Kona Electric utilizes a standard Level-II on-board charging system capable of a 7.2 kW rate of charge for rapid recharging characteristics, with an estimated range of 258 miles based on internal testing. Kona Electric, using a Level-III fast charge rate, can charge from 10 to 80 percent in approximately 47 minutes using its SAE-Combo charging port. This convenient fast-charging capability is standard on the Kona Electric. With Level-II charging, it can also charge from 10 to 100 percent in approximately nine hours and 15 minutes.
Other features for the new version
The Kona comes with or makes available the standard array for safety and convenience technology, including Bluetooth connectivity and Dynamic Voice Recognition to use features like navigation infotainment functions, even the heated seats and steering wheel. Of course, Hyundai engineers aren’t savages, the new Kona is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ready – wirelessly.
A slew of safety technology is at the ready with smart cruise control, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, highway drive assist, forward collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, safe exit warning and rear occupant alert.
The new models, which are built in South Korea, will hit dealerships this spring. No pricing information was released.