Hyundai Kona facelift to arrive this year with a larger touchscreen [Update]

Update – EVW caught up with Minchul Koo, VP of Design at Hyundai Motor Company at the Auto Expo 2020 and asked him about the Hyundai Kona facelift.

EVW: Given the fact that the Hyundai Kona has a strong design identity and it is your first long-range electric vehicle in this side of the market, going forward as a designer would you maintain it as it is, or do you think there is opportunity to bring more of the Sensuous Sportiness touches to the facelift?

As you saw with the new Creta, there was a lot of changes (to the design) right? Our job is to always challenge something. At the moment customers are happy or satisfied (with the car’s design), but we’re not going to be happy! We are pursuing new challenges and adventures. With the (new) Kona you will find that everything is a surprise. In the first generation the Kona shocked and surprised the market with its unique design and we will just continue this kind of spirit.

Minchul Koo, VP of Design at Hyundai Motor Company

Kona received new features in South Korea and Europe since January

In January at its home market of South Korea, Hyundai introduced a feature revision for its electric SUV. Later this year, it will globally rollout a proper facelift which it has started testing.

The South Korean update has given the Kona three new features – heated second-row seat, a larger 10.25-inch navigation system as well as a new air filtration system.

The new screen is wider and clearer and has different multimedia contents. The navigation program can be updated over-the-air (OTA). On the air filtration system, it features what Hyundai terms as a micro air filter, that eliminates micro fine dust to improve the vehicle’s cabin air quality. Hyundai has left the battery and motor untouched with this update. Readers will note that some of the mentioned changes are already available on the USA-spec Hyundai Kona for the 2020MY.

Hyundai introduced small feature updates to the Kona in South Korea in January, while a version with 8 percent improved range was launched in Europe this month.

This month, the company began production of the Kona at its factory in Czech Republic to reduce waiting times for European customers. Here too Hyundai has some changes which we believe will be downloaded by the global-spec car.

The Kona electric made in Europe surprisingly gets an 8 percent improvement to the range for the same battery and motor specifications as South Korea. This is made possible due to the fitment of lower rolling resistance tyres (Michelin Primacy 4) and redesigning the underbody of the car which has helped reduce aerodynamic drag.

7 changes expected on the 2021 Hyundai Kona

  • 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system (in markets where the 7-inch screen is still in use)
  • Heated rear seat
  • Micro air filter
  • Improved tyres for better range wrapped around new alloy wheels inspired by the ‘Parametric dynamics’
  • Underbody redesign for smoother air flow
  • More ’emotional’ front and rear fascias while retaining the signature ‘composite lamp’ arrangement and body armour.
  • Soft changes to the interior trim

Although there are no details available regarding the power output and battery capacity, Hyundai would probably retain the same battery pack options and heat pump to maintain optimum battery performance in cold conditions, while looking for other ways such as aero enhancement to improve travel range. The Kona has already proven its mettle operating in low temperatures as it emerged the winner in a cold weather comparo test conducted by the Norwegian Automobile Federation with the 20 of the world’s best-selling electric cars, losing just 9% driving range.

The Hyundai Kona was the first long-range electric SUV in India when it was launched in July 2019 with an ARAI certified range of 452 km in a single charge. The 136 PS permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor is powered by a high-voltage 39.2 kWh advanced lithium-ion polymer battery. The motor develops 40.27 kgm of torque distributed to the front wheels, enabling an acceleration of 0- 100 km/h in just 9.7 seconds.

Also Read: CarAndBike feels the MG ZS EV is a better car than the Hyundai Kona

80% charge can be achieved in 57 minutes with a 50 kW DC quick charger) using the CCS Type II charging port, while a 7.2 kW Level-II charger takes 6 hours and 10 minutes. Kona offers four driving modes – Eco+, Eco, Comfort and Sport. As the names go, Sport mode emphasises more on acceleration, while Eco+ and Eco modes prioritize range over performance with more conservative power delivery and deliver maximum range by brake regeneration.

Hyundai Kona Electric dashboard - Auto Expo 2020
The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment will give way for a larger 10.25-inch unit on the 2021 Hyundai Kona. Functions such as AM/FM radio/MP3, auxiliary input, voice-command recognition and rearview monitor are controlled through this interface with new features expected on the facelift.

On the safety front, the Kona is equipped with 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, Electronic Stability Control, tyre pressure monitoring system, rear camera and four disc brakes. The Hyundai Kona is available with a warranty of 3 years/unlimited km, along with an 8 years/160,000 km for its battery.

Hyundai ‘mini’ Kona in development for Indian market

While globally Hyundai has many EV product programs that include the E-GMP based vehicles and facelifts, for India the company has confirmed a brand new electric car within 2 years time. The ‘mini’ Kona under the ‘Smart EV’ project that aims for EVs to break into developing markets would sport a crossover-SUV design and launch for a price of under Rs. 1 million.

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