Following some teasers, Hyundai Sime Darby Motors have unveiled the updated Kona for 2021 for sale in Malaysia. The B-segment crossover arrives fresh from its facelift with an updated equipment list and powertrain alterations to accompany its new-ish exterior.
As before, the Kona will be available in 2 variants: the entry-level Standard, and higher tier Active. Prices now start from RM119,888 for the baseline and stretch to RM136,888 for that second range-topper, making it slightly more expensive than the pre-facelift versions introduced in October 2020 - that is, if you factor in the rebates and introductory prices offered at the time.
The first thing you’d notice about the new Kona is, obviously, its redesigned front end. Its sleeker shape, large grille, slim headlights, curved bonnet lid, and other repositioned elements do give it a more aggressive look when viewed head on.
With all the changes concentrated up front, you might not have noticed the increase of 40mm in overall length over the pre-facelift version, or the altered rear bumper and tail light cluster for that matter. However, the easiest way to tell apart the Standard from the Active its wheels: 17-inch alloys for the former and larger 18-inch ones for the latter.
Another major change over the outgoing Kona is the engine. Where previously the variants would be split between a 2.0-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder and a gutsier 1.6-litre T-GDI turbo-petrol with differing transmissions, this updated pair arrive exclusively with a single shared powertrain engine.
Under the bonnet of both the Standard and Active, we now find a 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol from Hyundai’s new Smartstream family of engines. This naturally aspirated unit produces 149PS at 6,200rpm and 180Nm at 4,500rpm and is paired to the company’s Smartstream IVT (intelligent variable transmission), which is basically a CVT that’s been engineered to mimic the shift pattern of traditional gear set for improved response and theoretical efficiency.
This is the same transmission found in the current-generation Hyundai Elantra, and should find its way into more Hyundai/Kia applications as well. Interestingly, this should make that C-segment sedan feel even more underpowered, having the smaller B-segment Kona crossover be fitted with a more powerful 2.0-litre version its 1.6-litre mill.
The interior has been improved in numerous aspects, or so says Hyundai, but the most glaring upgrade here is the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster ahead of the driver. Unfortunately, that’s reserved only for the Kona Active. That said, the 8-inch infotainment screen is thankfully standard across the range, as is support for the wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Another upgrade the Kona ‘Standard’ misses out on is the suite of active safety features. Exclusive to the Kona Active are Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) and Rear Cross Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA); and Safe Exit Warning (SEW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) with Leading Vehicle Departure Alert, Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) and High Beam Assist (HBA). The Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) has also been upgraded with pedestrian and vehicle detection.
Four new colours options are available with the Kona Standard, namely Chalk White, Galactic Grey, Surfy Blue and Pulse Red while the Active variant comes with five new exterior colours, including Surfy Blue, Dive in Jeju, Ignite Flame, Dark Knight, and Misty Jungle.
The new Kona comes with a five-year or 300,000km (whichever comes first) warranty as well as a 3-year or 50,000km (whichever comes first) free maintenance package.