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New Hyundai Kona hybrid expected to be best-seller by 2024


Hyundai’s local product planning division is preparing for the hybrid to make up around half of new Kona sales within a year of arrival in Australia

When the new-gen Hyundai Kona arrives in Australia in mid-2023, it’ll initially be released only with petrol engines — but a new hybrid version arriving later, alongside a returning full EV, could be the best-seller of the range within a year.

For the first time, Australians will be able to buy a Hyundai Kona small SUV with a Toyota-rivalling petrol-electric engine that’s expected to consume about 5.0L/100km, with the hybrid landing locally in late 2023.

The new Kona will be coming to Australia with a hybrid version

That’s around four months later than the Australian release date of the brand-new second-generation Kona’s more familiar petrol engines: a 110kW non-turbo 2.0-litre base petrol four-cylinder with a CVT, and an up-spec 146kW 1.6-litre turbo ‘four with AWD and a new eight-speed torque converter auto. 

By contrast, the naturally-aspirated hybrid will make less power — 104kW — but as much torque as the optional turbo, at 265Nm, while drinking about 50 percent less fuel on the combined cycle. 

Speaking with Chasing Cars at the reveal of the second-gen Kona, Hyundai Australia public relations manager Guido Schenken said aspirations are strong for the hybrid option. 

The interior has also been given a makeover

Schenken said the brand’s local product planning division is preparing for the hybrid to constitute 40-60 percent of new Kona sales by the time supply settles by the end of 2024. 

Such a feat would see the Kona match its most direct rival, the Toyota Corolla Cross, which — like the larger RAV4 — sees a majority of buyers opt for the Toyota’s $2500-optional hybrid powertrain. 

Australian pricing hasn’t been released for the new Kona, but the mdoel is expected to kick off from above $30,000, and the hybrid engine will likely command a premium of $2000 to $4000.

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid 2022 drift close front
The new Kona will offer a sharp rival for the Corolla Cross

Alongside the Corolla Cross, the Mazda CX-30 is another key target for the new-gen Hyundai Kona, which its maker claims is significantly more premium than the outgoing model. The CX-30 has an available mild-hybrid engine but not a series-parallel hybrid, as in the case of the Toyota or the new Kona.

With around half of Kona sales expected to go hybrid, and with the fully-electric model accounting for about 10 percent of existing sales, Hyundai is preparing for its new-gen small SUV to be majority-electrified from early in its life.

That planning reflects the view of Hyundai’s parent company that by the end of the lifespan of the second-gen Kona – sometime around 2028 – the fully-electric model will make up the majority of global sales.

Hyundai will also offer a fully electric version of the Kona once again

Alongside the two petrols and the new hybrid powertrain, the popular Kona EV will return to Australia in larger, new-gen form, with the choice of a 115kW standard-range model with about 340 km of driving range, or an upgraded 160kW long-range version with a similar range to the current model, at about 480 km.

Like the hybrid model, the new Kona EV will arrive in late 2023, a few months behind the standard petrol versions.