Update: This article has been updated to include the latest information related to the U.S.-spec 2022 Hyundai Kona.
Hyundai’s entry into the subcompact class, the new-for-2018 Kona crossover SUV, sure made a splash. It was small and affordable but wore bold styling with odd eyebrow-like running lamps hovering over headlights disguised as fog lamps in the bumper. Mix in its fun paint colors, available turbo engine, and cheeky vibe, and the Hyundai Kona was about as exciting as subcompact crossover SUVs come. A couple of years later, it’s due for an update, and it is getting one: Meet the 2022 Hyundai Kona.
2022 Hyundai Kona: A New Face
Will the ’22 Kona make as big of a splash as the original? As a mid-cycle refresh, not an all-new design, you’d expect it to wear mildly revised exterior lights, maybe add a new paint color option, and get some new touchscreen or something. The 2022 Kona receives all of those and more—and even what appear to be more comprehensive cosmetic changes than is typical for this sort of refresh.
Hyundai has reworked the little SUV’s schnoz, extending it 1.6 inches and shaping the hood into a prow that leans out over the grille. The Kona’s signature eyebrow running lights are reshaped, too, as are the low-mounted headlights; they fit into a face with more curves and angles than before. There aren’t any notable changes to the car’s tail, but the net effect of the changes at the front is a reduction in the current Kona’s blockiness.
2022 Hyundai Kona: Massaged Drivetrain
The standard powertrain for the 2022 Kona is still a 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 132 lb-ft of torque. The optional turbocharged 1.6-liter engine featured on Limited and N Line trims is updated and now makes 195 hp (up from 175 hp) and that same number in torque. The Kona’s base engine comes with a six-speed automatic and the more powerful turbo engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automative. Hyundai also said 2022 Konas will get suspension changes that result in sharper handling and greater ride comfort.
2022 Hyundai Kona: Get ‘N Line
Following a few other models in Hyundai’s lineup, including the Elantra and Sonata sedans, the 2022 Kona will be available in N Line trim. This package brings a sportier design and the aforementioned turbocharged engine to the Kona. It also includes body-color trim, cooler-looking 18-inch wheels, more aggressive front and rear fascias, a more businesslike interior scheme with red-colored seat piping front and rear.
The Kona N Line also gets metal pedals, a shifter head, and available leather or suede seats. Consider the N Line a preview of what’s to come: Hyundai is widely expected to introduce a high-performance Kona N (N is the automaker’s new performance sub-brand, similar to BMW M or Mercedes-AMG in concept). That full-blown N will bring a big power increase, suspension changes, and more.
2022 Hyundai Kona: More Changes Lurk Nside
The Kona adopts a few upgrades to its dashboard, including more upscale appearing finishes around the console and air vents, as well as a switch to a bigger 10.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard (today’s Kona has a 7.0-inch unit standard). A standard 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster replaces the Kona’s previous analog setup for 2022.
Hyundai makes smaller changes to the SUV’s interior as well. There’s more legroom for second-row occupants, ambient lighting in the cup holders and footwells, and more cargo room. Additionally, Hyundai adds dedicated USB ports for rear-seat riders.
Safety equipment has been upgraded, as well, with a new blind-spot monitoring function that can use the brakes on one side of the Kona to guide it back into its lane if the driver attempts to change into an occupied lane. The 2022 Kona also can be equipped with a rear-seat reminder (to check for children left in the car), a lane-centering self-steering function, and stop-and-go ability to the adaptive cruise control system.
Look for the 2022 Hyundai Kona to reach dealerships sometime early next year.
This article was originally published on September 2, 2020.
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