Subtle yet significant, the MY21 Kona facelift elevates Hyundai’s small SUV and brings a hot-looking option.

Hyundai has officially revealed the rather heavily facelifted Kona for 2021, including an all-new Kona N-Line model.

At the front, the squinty face now looks more cohesive with a shapely new grille completing the look. On the N-Line, it works rather nicely and sets the tone for the upcoming, yet to be seen Kona N (the hot crossover). Around the back, the taillights are slightly different and the bumper refreshed too.

Inside the Kona gets a nip and tuck, with a new centre console design and trim materials around the cabin. Technology is upgraded to a larger 10.25-inch digital driver display screen and larger 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Underneath the metal is improved safety technology, too.

The Kona N-Line specifically gets larger 18-inch black alloy wheels and a bodykit to stand out. An aggressive front bumper has a lower front lip and fins, with a unique grille and requisite N-Line badging at centre, twin exhausts and a rear spoiler. finish the rear. Inside the N-Line are metal pedals and red highlights (pictured above).

Powering the model is Hyundai’s latest 1.6-litre Smartstream petrol turbo that becomes standard across the range. Poucing 145kW it is down by 5kW on the i30 N-Line but is a 15kW bump across the range for the Kona. Power is planted to either the front or four-wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The N-Line is AWD only.

The styling update extends to the Kona Hybrid in overseas markets which is yet to be confirmed for Australia (and with no likely confirmation in sight). We do, however, get the fully-electric Kona which has not been revealed in facelifted form yet. We expect the same significance to its refresh, though the lack of need for radiator and engine cooling means the nose will bring unique looks.

Though the new Kona N-Line certainly looks pretty hot, it will be the all-new Kona N that takes the cake for performance. Expected to bring the i30 N’s 2.0L turbo engine with a new DCT transmission it promises to be a fierce combatant in the hot crossover segment.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.

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