Aw, look at that lil’ face.
Hyundai revealed the 2022 Kona late Tuesday night. It’s a pretty comprehensive update for a vehicle only a few years old, nipping and tucking the exterior while adding more room and more functionality inside.
Out front there’s a redesigned bumper below slightly altered LED headlights. They’re still of the super-narrow, squinty variety, but Hyundai designers have softened the inner corner and changed the interior lighting elements. A big grinning grille links the Kona to its Sonata sibling, with redesigned foglights framing it.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review
Around back the changes are more subtle. The lower bumper design is tidier, for starters. Hyundai has also rejigged the lower lighting housings, looking less like the Kona swallowed up some other car’s taillights. Speaking of, its own tail units are the same shape as before, with simplified interior details mirroring the ones up front.
The new design stretches the Kona an additional 1.6 inches (40 mm). Hyundai has added five new hues to the palette for 2022, including the pictured Surfy Blue and Ignite Flame; others include Dive in Jeju, Cyber Gray, and Misty Jungle. All nine paint colors can be had with a contrasting black roof.
Now, a word of caution: Hyundai announced the European specifications for the new Kona, so some of the following specs may or may not make their way across the Atlantic. We expect most of it to carry over, but we’ll update if it doesn’t.
The biggest news is the addition of a sportier N Line model at the top of the range. It uses an uprated version of the familiar 1.6-liter turbo engine, producing 195 hp. The Kona N Line hooks the four-pot to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; unlike the mechanically similar Elantra N Line, there’s no manual option. Taking some of the sting out of that, however, is the option of either two- or all-wheel drive. Hyundai says it gets a unique steering tune as well. The N Line gets its own look outside, with body-color side cladding, a more aggressive front end, and seriously cool 18-inch wheels.
SEE ALSO: 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line is an Angular 201-HP Sport Sedan
Europe also receives a 48V mild-hybrid system for its 1.6-liter diesel and 1.0-liter gas engines. These both offer the choice of Hyundai’s clever Intelligent Manual Transmission, which eliminates the clutch pedal, instead operating it purely electronically. There’s also a Kona Hybrid across the pond, producing 139 hp through a combo of 1.6-liter engine and 32 kW electric motor.
Hyundai has dropped more tech inside the Kona too. The base infotainment screen grows from 7.0 to 8.0 inches, running a newer version of BlueLink with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The optional screen is now a 10.25-incher. Another screen, the same size, can also be optioned in for the instrument panel.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Hyundai Venue Review
Finally, the Kona features a larger suite of standard and optional safety features. Blind-spot alert, forward collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-following assist are all present. Hyundai has upgraded the adaptive cruise control for full stop-and-go functionality, and there’s also a speed limit warning and rear seat reminder.
Hyundai made a brief mention of the Kona Electric, only saying it would carry over the existing model’s powertrain and range. It will “be revealed soon.”
The 2022 Kona will touch down in North America during the second quarter of 2021. We’ll have more news on any market-specific changes closer to that time.