2022 Hyundai Kona Electric gains a smooth new mug, more tech
Hyundai's subcompact electric crossover SUV gets added convenience tech, but keeps the same underlying performance.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Hyundai revealed the new look of its 2022 Kona Electric on Tuesday, and the subcompact crossover SUV is getting an aerodynamic new face and updated cabin tech to go along with its 258 miles of range.
The Korean automaker removed the vestigial grille pattern from the Kona Electric's nose, giving it a smoother and somehow slightly more sinister look. That attitude is bolstered by even slimmer slash-like daytime running lamps at the leading edge of the hood and restyled, low-mounted main-beam headlamps that bleed into the fenders. Unfortunately, the Kona's shark-like new nose also means that the charge-receptacle door doesn't disappear into the front end as cleanly as before, resulting in an oddly asymmetric look that not everyone will love. Revised aero-pattern wheels grace the model's profile, while out back you'll find a redesigned bumper cap and new taillamps.
Based on the specs Hyundai is quoting, it doesn't sound like the new Kona has much in the way of under-the-skin changes. The aforementioned 258 miles of range is unchanged, as is the 201-horsepower electric motor that also delivers 291 pound-feet of torque.
2022 Hyundai Kona Electric gets more aero-forward look and new tech
Using a Level 3 charger, Hyundai is quoting a 10%-to-80% charge time of 47 minutes. Level 2 chargers (as are more typically found both in home garages and using today's public charger network) take 9 hours and 15 minutes to go from 10% to a full pack. Then as now, that synchronous electric motor is powered by a 64-kWh lithium-ion pack. Hyundai says the 2022 Kona EV's MPGe numbers are 132 city, 108 highway and 120 combined.
The Kona Electric's bigger functional changes seem mostly confined to the interior, including a redesigned center stack and new center display. Both the digital gauge cluster and infotainment screens are 10.25 inches, the latter of which sits quite high on the dashboard. A retooled center console storage area now includes wireless charging. Similarly, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available sans cord.
Other tech enhancements for 2022 center on an updated Blue Link telematics system, which includes remote profile management and the ability to send navigation instructions to the car with up to three waypoints. Most importantly for the EV, charge times can now be scheduled via app to take advantage of lower off-peak electricity costs.
Hyundai says that second-row legroom and cargo space have also been enhanced for the Kona's midcycle refresh (presumably through resculpted seatbacks), but it isn't immediately clear if those benefits also port over to this updated EV model.
There's no pricing news yet, but the new model isn't expected to stray too far from today's starting MSRP of $38,565 (including $1,175 delivery) before any applicable federal and state incentives. The Ulsan, Korea-built 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric is slated to arrive in the US this spring.