Hyundai released details for its significantly redesigned and enhanced 2022 Kona and Kona Electric SUVs for the U.S. market. The 2022 Kona gasoline and Electric SUVs are produced in Ulsan, Korea and will arrive in the spring.
Somehow Hyundai buries the important information about the 2022 Kona. Its rear cargo area has been increased and second row legroom has also been improved, along with USB-port access for second-row passengers. A good little SUV gets even more practical.
The new Kona receives a variety of updates driven by U.S. customer research. The fresh design, including an all-new sporty N Line trim, offers a new appearance. An enhanced powertrain line-up provides both sporty and eco-friendly options to suit a wide variety of buyers, while upgraded connectivity and convenience features make for an improved ownership experience.
The new front design receives sporty character lines and bold protective cladding. The stretched hood drops sharply over the grille with a wide, distinctive shape, giving the Kona a more powerful demeanor. Enhanced LED daytime running lamps (DRLs) provide a narrow, piercing look forward.
Skid plate elements embrace the lower air intake and visually complement the surfaces surrounding the grille. Integrated into the bumper corners are vertically-oriented aerodynamic inlets that improve air flow.
From the rear, new taillights feature horizontally-stretched graphics, reflecting the unique identity of the forward illumination signature. A new rear fascia, which also follows the protective armor concept of the front and profile, is constructed with a contrasting material. In addition, new alloy wheel designs are visible from a variety of angles.
The interior of the new Kona includes a new console that is disconnected from the instrument panel to stress the horizontal layout, appearing wide for a spacious atmosphere. New ambient lighting illuminates the cup holder and foot wells, while an aluminum-like finish is added.
The Kona Electric has also been freshened with a new, sleeker front fascia design. The former dimpled grille area has been replaced with a sleek new aerodynamic shape with a prominent horizontal character line immediately below the badging and DRLs.
New headlamps and DRLs provide a fresh new illumination signature, and the lower fascia opening boasts clean horizontal strakes. New lower fender sculpted vents are both sporty and aerodynamically functional. In profile, a sporty new alloy wheel design has been optimized for efficient airflow.
From the rear, a new bumper fascia design carries the lower valance strake elements through to the rear of the vehicle, and a new tail lamp design neatly finishes the rear view.
Inside, the center-stack and center-cluster displays are all new for the Electric as well, with large 10.25 screens in each area for superb driver visibility. The lower center console storage area has also been redesigned with wireless charging capability and efficient use of space.
Hyundai has created an N Line version of the Kona to appeal to enthusiast buyers, available for the first time as an N Line version, combining fun-to-drive character with sporty differentiation. In profile, body color cladding and rocker panels are complemented by a dedicated N Line 18-inch alloy wheel design.
The rear completes the dynamic and emotional image, incorporating a large central aerodynamic diffuser in contrast to the body, with dual exhaust tips. At the rear corners, the bumper fascia is formed with sharply-creased lines and strakes enhancing air flow.
Kona powertrain offerings have top efficiency levels as a primary target. Kona offers a choice of two gasoline powertrains. A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson engine produces 147 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 132 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm, paired with a new Smartstream Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) for maximum efficiency. The Atkinson cycle design maximizes the effective cylinder expansion ratio (compression stroke vs. power stroke) for greater efficiency.
The N Line and Limited trims offer a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injected, turbocharged engine generating an estimated 195 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 195 lb.-ft. of torque from 1500-4500 rpm, an advantage over key competitors. Peak torque delivery starts at only 1,500 rpm and holds through 4,500 rpm, for low-RPM responsiveness and performance in everyday driving conditions. The 2022 Kona turbo engine couples to a retuned seven-speed EcoShift® dual-clutch transmission (DCT) for outstanding efficiency with quick, seamless shifting and brisk acceleration.
The new Kona has been equipped with the latest in-car connectivity and technology. New to this model is a 10.25-inch digital cluster and 10.25-inch navigation center stack display, bringing with it new connectivity features. The new screen comes with a split-screen function, multiple Bluetooth connections and additional voice-recognition features.
Keith Griffin covers Hyundai and Kia at Torque News. He has been writing continuously about cars since 2002. Keith used to be a researcher/writer for US News & World Report, as well as numerous car sites, including Carfax and Car Gurus, and a contributor to The Boston Globe. Most recently, Keith was the managing editor for American Business Media. Follow Keith at @indepthauto on Twitter, on @LinkedIn and on his Indepth Auto Facebook page.