Hyundai has been crushing it in the crossover department, lately. The 3-row Hyundai Palisade was our 2020 SUV of the year, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe got a mid-cycle makeover to stand out from the pack, and now all eyes are on the subcompact Hyundai Kona which is getting a refresh for 2022. The smallest crossover in the lineup actually leads the brand's electrification efforts as the first model to be available with an all-electric engine. Now, it gets the attention it deserves as Hyundai reveals new styling elements for the gas and electric model, a new N Line trim, and improved tech and safety features. Here are the top 5 changes we can look forward to.
1. The Kona and Kona EV get Facelifts
Although Hyundai made a handful of tweaks to the styling of its small crossover, the most noticeable changes can be seen when looking at the vehicle straight on. The front fascia of the gas-powered Kona gets sportier lines and new protective cladding that contrasts with the body for an armor-like appearance. The longer hood flows into the grille to form a wide and distinctive shape for a more aggressive face. To keep the Kona proportionate, the vehicle is stretched 1.6 inches to balance out the wider stance. Finally, the Kona's LED daytime running lamps are enhanced for a piercing glare.
The Kona Electric also gets a new and improved front fascia. Gone is the dimpled grille area, and in its place is a sleek, aerodynamic front end with a strong horizontal character line under the badging. The Kona EV's lighting signature is also updated with new headlamps and DRLs. New lower fender sculpted vents blend form and function with a sporty look and increased aerodynamics.
2. A New N Line Trim Arrives
The Kona is Hyundai's latest crossover to be outfitted with the N Line trim. The new model is available for 2022 with a sportier front and rear fascia, body-color cladding, and unique 18" diamond-cut alloy wheels. Instead of the contrasting cladding on the standard Kona, the N Line's front bumper seamlessly blends in with the body color.
The N Line ditches the faux skid plate and in its place, it gets an aerodynamic lip with low corner fins indicating that this crossover belongs on-road, not off. The N Line's air intake stands out with a unique mesh design and surface treatment, and the rear end gets a large central aerodynamic diffuser in contrast to the body, with dual exhaust tips.
In addition to the exterior distinctions, the N Line gets sporty touches in the cabin. The interior offers a dedicated N Line color package with black seats and contrasting red stitching, black headliner, and metal pedals. Also setting the cabin apart from the standard model are N logos for the seat, steering wheel, and gear shift lever.
The N Line shares a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injected, turbocharged engine with the Kona Limited for 195 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The turbo engine is married to an upgraded seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that provides quick shifting and acceleration.
3. Performance Upgrades
The Kona's powertrain options carry over from 2021. The gas-powered Kona is available with two powertrain options, a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder for 147 horsepower and 132 lb.-ft. of torque and a 195 horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine in the Limited model.
The Kona EV uses a 201-horsepower high-efficiency 150 kW electric motor powered by a 64 kWh lithium-ion battery. The motor creates 291 lb.-ft. of torque which is sent to the front wheels. The Kona EV gets a 258-mile range with an estimated MPGe of 132 city, 108 highway, and 120 combined.
Just because the Kona's engines weren't updated doesn't mean Hyundai neglected the crossover's driving experience. The 2022 Kona gets suspension upgrades for improved responsiveness and ride comfort. Hyundai also improves comfort by reducing the Kona's noise, vibration, and harshness thanks to new acoustic windshield glass, new instrument panel insulation, and additional cargo insulation. Driving dynamics and agility are improved with refined chassis tuning and the large 18" alloy wheels which are now available.
4. Infotainment and Safety Tech Improvements
Some of the most dramatic improvements that drivers will notice in the 2022 Kona are its new tech and safety features. The crossover gets a new 10.25-inch digital cluster and 10.25-inch navigation center stack display which now comes with a split-screen function. Multiple Bluetooth connections and enhanced voice recognition are added including the options to control climate, radio, and windows through Dynamic Voice Recognition. Wireless Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and wireless charging are newly available.
Hyundai improves the Kona's safety features for 2022 starting with the newly available Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist. This safety system engages the vehicle's brakes if another vehicle is detected in the blind spot while the driver is attempting to change lanes. Another upgrade is the addition of the Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist which helps avoid a collision when the driver is backing up by applying the brakes if another vehicle is detected. Finally, Highway Drive Assist is freshly available. This feature keeps the vehicle in the center of its lane with a specified following distance to a leading vehicle, making speed adjustments to the posted speed limits on interstate highways.
5. Enhanced Blue Link Connectivity
Not only does the Kona get better looking for 2022, but it also gets smarter thanks to Hyundai's Blue Link Enhancements. Blue Link is the automaker's Connected Car System which comes complimentary for three years in most models. Blue Link allows the driver to stay connected to the vehicle through his smartphone with features like Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Stolen Vehicle Recovery, and Destination Search by Voice.
New for 2022, all Kona models get Blue Link improvements like remote profile management, remote start enhancements like seat heating and ventilation, vehicle status notifications, and maintenance alerts. Another brilliant feature of Blue Link is the ability to send as many as three-way points to be delivered to the vehicle together and automatically set order of destinations.
Kona Electric drivers can use the Blue Link app to start their vehicles and lock their doors as well as search for points of interest on their phone and receive directions when starting the vehicle. Blue Link is also useful for owners who charge the Kona EV at their homes, allowing them to manage the charging schedule. Vehicle charging options are available through the smartphone app, helping owners take advantage of off-peak rates by scheduling charging to start at specific times. Just like setting an alarm on your phone, you can set your Kona Electric to charge at 10 pm on certain days of the week, for example.
The 2022 Kona will be built in Ulsan, Korea, and is set to arrive this spring. Pricing has not yet been announced, but we don't expect a major increase from the 2021 Kona's base MSRP of $20,500 and the Kona EV's base MSRP of $37,390.