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Hyundai levels up 2021 Kona EV SUV


Hyundai updates the 2021 Kona EV with a new look, extra safety tech and longer range.

Hyundai has given the Kona a more than superficial overhaul. Here's what you can expect of the 2021 electric SUV model.

Range boost

When it comes to electric cars, it's all about range. Hyundai's team of engineers have upped the range to 484km, which it says is now best-in-class. That's 35km more than the 2020 version. The current model made headlines when it set an electric car distance driving record.

You may be surprised to hear how Hyundai managed to improve the range, considering the current Kona's model and battery carryover to the face-lifted model, unchanged. Hyundai stated the gains were a result of tyre improvements, presumably picking a rubber compound that delivers less rolling resistance. Both power and torque stay the same, 150kW and 395Nm respectively.

Faster charge times

Charge times have dropped slightly across the board.

Hyundai is also making an optional 10.5kW wall charger accessory available, which speeds up the recharging process, as long as you can access three-phase power. Here's a comparison of the charging times for the 2021 and the 2020 model.

Charger type2021 Hyundai Kona2020 Hyundai Kona
DC Fast Charger (10-80%) 50kW Charger64 minutes75 minutes
DC Fast Charger (10-80%) 100kW Charger47 minutes54 minutes
AC Charge (10-100%) 7.2kW on-board charger*9 hours, 15 minutes9 hours, 35 minutes
AC Charge (10-100%) 10.5kW on-board charger#6 hours, 50 minutesN/A
Charging from 220V, 12A plug socket28 hours28 hours

*Optional accessory

#Optional accessory requiring three-phase power

Refreshed exterior

Hyundai Kona EV 2021 rear view

Stylists at Hyundai have spent time rejigging the exterior of the Kona EV. They've done a great job of modernising the exterior of a car that never even looked slightly out modish. Most noticeable is the front grille, which is now perhaps the most minimal and austere frontend of any new car. Adding to the new look are reshaped LED Daytime Running Lights that underscore the car's squat stance. Further enhancing the flowing lines are thinner Multi-Faceted Reflector (MFR) headlights that flow into the wheel arches.

Hyundai Kona 2021 front end and charging port

Hyundai places the charging port just off the centre line, which breaks car design norms, without rocking the boat too much.

The changes aren't just for style though. New vertical air ducts just in front of the wheel wells help minimise turbulence and improve airflow. Additionally, there's an intake housed in the lower bumper, which Hyundai says is fully functional.

At the back, matching trim pieces help harmonise the look, while the taillights were also widened. The body is now 40mm longer than before, again making the 2021 Kona cut a sleek and futuristic profile.

Hyundai Kona 2021 EV interior

Interior and safety features

The most obvious change internally is a massive 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster that now flanks the infotainment screen of the current model. There's also ambient cabin lighting for the front occupants. Passengers in the second row get a USB port of their own, while Hyundai also stated it has installed a button-activated electric parking brake.

But the biggest changes are less visible, as Hyundai has given the Kona a raft of new safety assists, which they label "best-in-class".

Hyundai SmartSense now has Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), as well as Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA). These technologies intervene, if needed, by applying the brakes. RCCA could help stop you getting bumped in a car park while reversing, as it'll also drop the anchors if it detects approaching vehicles.

Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LDVA) looks set to stop those embarrassing situations when you fail to set off quickly enough at the lights, by alerting you when the vehicle ahead has already started moving.

There's also a Safe Exit Warning, which alerts passengers if it is unsafe to open their doors. An interesting inclusion is the Rear Seat Alert (RSA), which seems geared toward preventing children and pets from being left in a car, thereby avoiding the danger of heatstroke.

SmartSense still has all the usual suspects, like Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Smart Cruise Control (with Stop&Go), Lane Following Assist (LFA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW) and Driver Attention Warning (DAW).

When is it coming to Australia?

Hyundai expects the 2021 Kona EV to arrive locally in the first half of next year. Prices will be confirmed closer to the release date.

Want to see more of our car reviews? Check out the car reviews page. If you already know which model you want, think about comparing car loan options as well as car insurance to see how much you could save...

Picture: Supplied

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