Hyundai’s top-selling compact SUV is about to get a nip and tuck plus a sporty N Line version.

    Some three years after its initial launch, the facelifted Hyundai Kona and its new N Line variant have been teased in a series of shadowy sketches, with full details due in the “coming weeks”.

    The new Kona will don the Korean brand’s new “Sensuous Sportiness” design language which has been spreading across the line-up, with flowing lines and edgy details – though it will likely continue to polarise just like the original design.

    The split headlight design will continue, with LED daytime running lights up top and the main headlight beam below, as will the three slits above the front grille reminiscent of the Audi Quattro. Hyundai said the new, curvier face is inspired by a shark.

    Compared to the original, however, which featured kneepad-inspired cladding around the headlight and rear combination light clusters, the new Kona looks to be predominantly body coloured.

    A slimmer, sharper new grille will also feature, as will revised bumpers. The N Line version (pictured in red) builds on the new design with a sportier lower fascia look as well as N Line badging on the front grille. Expect unique alloy wheels and sporty interior trimmings as well.

    Non-N Line models get a new skid plate insert up front which Hyundai says “adds to its armoured appearance”, but we’re yet to see any images of the wheels, sides or rear end for more changes. If the Kona’s refresh is anything like the larger Santa Fe, the A-pillar rearward will mostly be the same with subtle revisions while the interior should get a comprehensive update in terms of technology and materials.

    More details will be confirmed in the coming weeks, though we’re also expecting Hyundai to confirm an expanded range of Smart Sense active safety technologies for the Kona – which is a key model for the brand in tech-hungry Europe – as well as new, more efficient powertrains from the ‘Smartstream’ family.

    Hybrid and electric options already exist depending on the market, though we could see a new plug-in hybrid as well as further refinements to the current eco options – perhaps more range for the Kona Electric, for example.

    The facelifted Kona should also eventually add a full-blown Kona N performance model, which has been rumoured for years and spied in prototype form numerous times. It’s expected to be powered by the i30 N’s 202kW/353Nm 2.0-litre turbo four mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, likely driving all four wheels.

    Stay tuned to CarExpert for our coverage of the new Kona’s reveal in the coming weeks, and let us know your thoughts on the new design in the comments.

    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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