2021 Hyundai Kona: Expectations and what we know so far

Updated Dec 31, 2020 | Same topic: Car Sneak Peeks, Teasers, & Rumors

The front fascia gets huge updates.

The Hyundai Kona was first revealed in 2017 as a five-door subcompact crossover. It comes with sleek styling seen on the front and rear ends. The subcompact crossover first debuted in the country at the 2018 Manila International Auto Show and was made available a month after.

Thanks to its sleek styling, the Kona didn’t have a hard time finding its place in the local market. The Kona is a good entry by Hyundai to the local subcompact crossover segment as the segment is continuously being added with stylish vehicles such as the Kia Seltos and Geely Coolray.

2020 Hyundai Kona Review Philippines: Third time's a charm | Philkotse

Since the Kona is three years old already, it is due for a facelift. And yes, the facelifted version was already released in other markets and we are expecting to be launched in the country by Hyundai Philippines next year.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the new Hyundai Kona facelift and see what it can offer in the local market once released.

2021 Hyundai Kona: Exterior

The major changes can be seen in the exterior features of the Hyundai Kona. It received a new front design that made the Kona look sleeker than the outgoing model. The large Hyundai logo is moved to the hood which made the new grille look cleaner.

The new grille is now wider and extends to the lower front bumper. The lower front bumper is added with a large U-shaped chrome trim that creates a mirrored figure of the top front fascia of the subcompact crossover.

Hyundai Kona front view

The 2021 Hyundai Kona facelift

Adding to the Kona’s sleek styling is sharper and sleeker daytime running lights (DRLs). The DRLs are also used as the Kona’s turn signal lights which we think are a great feature to maximize the front fascia. The black claddings from the wheels arches are also now extended to the front bumper.

One of the best updates the 2021 Kona got is the redesigned headlamps that sport a three-lamps design. The two from the far end and middle are used as the primary headlights, while the third lamp functions as the high beam.

Going to the side, no major changes have been done. The 2021 Hyundai Kona still gets blacked-out A-pillars and a roof that blends well with the body claddings. It also retains the claddings around the wheel arches and the side skirts.

Hyundai Kona side view

The new wheel design sure makes the Kona looks sharper

The two noticeable changes on the facelift are the character lines that have now more depth as compared to the outgoing model and the redesigned wheels that replace the current five-spoke design. Both these changes add to the overall sleek design of the Kona.

As for the rear end, the 2021 Kona comes with a redesigned lamp design and bumper. The boxy housing from the outgoing model is replaced with a sleeker design with sharper shapes. Just like the headlamps, the turn signals sport a three-lamp design, while the backup lamps appear to be larger.

The design on the rear end looks to be more dynamic and free, while the outgoing model seems to enclose certain features. Overall, it seems like Hyundai wants the Kona to come with sharper design details from the front to the back.

2021 Hyundai Kona: Interior

Inside, no noticeable changes have been made. The interior of the Kona still comes with hard plastics with few soft materials. Of course, these materials are used for cost-cutting measures. The Hyundai Kona is still targeted to be sold as an affordable vehicle.

Interior view of Hyundai Kona

The interior comes with a more modern driving feel

No changes have been made as well for the dashboard layout. However, Hyundai seems to focus more on the overall ride comfort of the Kona as it gets a new suspension and steering tuning. These features further improve the comfort a crossover offers due to its unibody chassis configurations.

2021 Hyundai Kona: Engine and performance

The 2021 Hyundai Kona is offered with various engine options in its homeland, in South Korea. The first engine option is the new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that is capable of generating 193 hp and 265 Nm of torque mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Hyundai Kona rear view

Both the front and rear look sleek

The 2021 Kona is also offered with a 1.6-liter diesel engine capable of generating 134 hp and 320 Nm of torque. Lastly, it is also offered with a smaller 1.0-liter Kappa GDi gasoline engine capable of producing 118 hp and 172 Nm of torque.

As of this writing, Hyundai Philippines has yet to announce the launch date of the 2021 Kona. However, the 1.6-liter diesel engine is unlikely to be introduced here in the local market. The 2021 PH-spec could carry over the current 2.0-liter engine or be replaced with the said gasoline engines available in Korea.

2021 Hyundai Kona: On-board tech and safety features

The 2021 Hyundai Kona gets a handful of changes for its onboard technologies. The analog gauges are now replaced with a full digital display that creates a more modern driving feel. The new full digital display also shows the selected drive mode innovatively.

2020 Hyundai Kona front view

The current Hyundai Kona offered in the Philippines

The center console is installed with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system. This completely replaces the outdated looking center console of the outgoing model. The new infotainment system supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

As for safety, the Hyundai Kona is equipped with six airbags, a blind-spot detection system, lane-departure system, lane following assist, automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beams, smart cruise control, and more.

>>> Related: 2021 Hyundai Kona Night Edition shows the youthful crossover's dark side

2021 Hyundai Kona: Final thoughts

The local subcompact crossover is one of the most competitive segments we have in the country. With the addition of the updates of the Kona’s facelift, the subcompact crossover could have what it takes to be a contender in the said segment. 

New Hyundai Kona facelift front view

It's exciting to see the new Kona on Philippine roads

However, Hyundai Philippines hasn’t released any word regarding the plans for the 2021 model of the Kona subcompact crossover. But we can expect the Hyundai Kona facelift to be launched in the country next year.

2021 Hyundai Kona: Expected price

Most facelifts get a price increase due to the enhanced or added features. As for the Kona facelift, the subcompact crossover comes with a redesigned body from the front to the back, a new infotainment screen, a digital instrument cluster, and more.

The current PH-spec Kona is offered by Hyundai Philippines at Php 1,188,000. The expected price increase is expected to be not too high subcompact crossovers in the country are generally meant to be affordable. A hefty price increase would throw the Kona off its competition.

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Know more about Hyundai Kona 2024

Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona 2023 is a subcompact crossover brought in by the Korean marque. It is available in the Philippines in one variant only which is priced at Php 1,188,000. Powering this vehicle is a 2.0-liter NU MPI Atkinson gasoline engine capable of generating 147 horsepower and 179 Nm of torque. Only a 6-speed automatic transmission is used to drive the power from the engine to the front wheels exclusively.

In terms of dimensions, the Kona has a length of 4,165 mm, a width of 1,800 mm, and a height of 1,550 mm. Additionally, it comes with a wheelbase and ground clearance rated at 2,600 mm and 170 mm, respectively. In the local market, this Korean subcompact crossover goes up against the likes of the Mazda CX-3, Kia Seltos, and Geely Coolray.


Rex Sanchez

Rex Sanchez


Rex Sanchez grew up in Saudi Arabia where he saw and got into the automotive scene. He started his career for an aviation company in the said region, writing about turbines and rotors which are later distributed for educational purposes. And now, he joined Philkotse.com as a staff writer. Currently, he is the youngest on the team and is more than ready to grow in the field.

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