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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Facelift Hyundai Kona premiers along with pumped-up N Line

N Line package will be offered on all Kona drivetrains but it remains to be seen whether this will include the South African line-up.

Unveiled three years ago as the most controversially styled Hyundai ever made, the South Korean giant has officially taken the wraps off of not only the updated Kona, but also the sporty N Line as a teaser of what to expect from the incoming Kona N.

While still instantly recognisable, the overall look has been toned down, but not by a lot, with the inclusion of slimmer lower headlights now with daytime running LEDs, a new front bumper that links up with the lighter wheel arch cladding to form a single piece, a new grille as well as a revised lower air intake, a faux skidplate at the base of the front bumper and new alloy designs ranging from 16 to 18-inches.

At the rear, the Kona receives new taillights, a restyled bumper and cladding while the colour palette consists of five carryover colours; Chalk White, Phantom Black, Galaxy Grey, Dark Knight and Pulse Red, and five new hues; Cyber Grey, Surfy Blue and the somewhat humorously titled Dive in Jeju, Misty Jungle and Ignite Flame. As an option, all of the colours can be combined with a Phantom Black roof that extents to the A, B and C-pillars, as well as the mirror caps,

Building on the updates, the N Line rides as standard on N specific 18-inch alloy wheels, but adds a new bonnet with three slits similar to that of the Audi A1, coloured coded extended wheel arches and wider door sills, a gloss black mesh grille, fins on the flanks of the front bumper, N Line badging on the front wings, a faux diffuser integrated into the rear bumper, dual exhaust outlets and a spoiler incorporated into the roof.

Despite appearing untouched, several changes have taken place inside with the most prominent being the new eight-inch or optional 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the similarly sized digital instrument cluster.

Elsewhere, the centre console has been altered and the handbrake lever replaced by a button operated electric unit, while ambient lighting stars, along with upgraded materials and a selection of new upholstery choices; black fabric or leather, light beige, grey fabric or khaki leather. On the N Line, black fabric, leather or suede can be specified with red stitching, alloy pedals and an N gear knob rounding the touches off.

More thoroughly reworked is array of safety and driver assistance systems which includes Restart Warning that alerts the driver of the car in front moving, Lane Following Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Speed Limit Recognition, Rear Seat Alert as well as Safety Exit Warning that detects rear passengers and closes the door when an oncoming vehicle is detected, and Adaptive Smart Cruise Control. Reserved for models equipped with the dual-clutch gearbox are Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist.

Aside from the interior and exterior, the Kona’s dynamics have also been tweaked in that it now measures 40 mm longer overall and fitted with new springs, shock absorbers and stabiliser bars, new suspension and retuned power steering. Up front, all of the powerunits feature the 48-volt mild-hybrid system, but only as an option on models fitted with the new six-speed Intelligent manual gearbox.

In terms of outputs, the entry-level 1.0 T-GDI again produces 88 kW and the 1.6 Smartstream turbodiesel 100 kW with the latter having the option of all-wheel-drive, but only in conjunction with the manual. Sitting at the top of the range is the familiar 1.6 T-GDI that has been upgraded from 130 kW to 145 kW sent to all four wheels via the mentioned seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box. While nothing about the previously offered Kona Electric was made, the Hybrid has been carried over and blends a normally aspirated 1.6 with a 32 kW electric motor for a total system output of 103 kW. Drive is routed to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch.

Going on sale in Europe towards the end of this year, the updated Kona is expected to arrive in South Africa next year, but possibly keep with the current array of engines made up of the 1.0 T-GDI and the 110 kW normally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol.

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