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New Hyundai Kona released in early 2023 as production starts: report


Korean automotive sources are reporting that the next-generation Hyundai Kona small SUV has gone into production at the company’s Ulsan plant

An early 2023 release date is firming for the new second-generation Hyundai Kona as production has reportedly started at the Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea.

As reported by Korean Car Blog and ET News, the start of production has either begun or will imminently occur at Ulsan for the next Kona, which is widely expected to again be offered with a choice of petrol and electric powertrains.

2023 Hyundai Kona exterior
The next Kona. Image: Auto Post Korea

With production reportedly starting this month – and lines potentially already pumping out new Kona units – an Australian release by late summer 2023 is not out of the question.

A Kona hybrid may also be sold in Australia this time around, and N Line versions are reported to be making a return for the second-gen small SUV that competes with the Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi ASX, MG ZS and other compact crossovers.

Hyundai Kona 2021
The current-generation Kona sits alongside the i30 hatch — but the next Kona could replace them both

Korean sources report that Hyundai will expand the number of production lines allocated to build the Kona, with KCB suggesting the small crossover will now be built in both HMC Ulsan’s Plant 1, where the first-generation car was built, and Ulsan Plant 3.

There have been rumours for the last year that the Hyundai i30 small car will not be replaced, and instead will be superseded by the incoming Kona as the mainstream small vehicle in HMC’s global range. That move has not been officially confirmed by HMC or by Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA).

Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander 2021 interior
Expect to see a range of upgrades over and above the current Kona small SUV

For the local market, it’s likely the Kona will continue with entry-level petrol engines, while the renewed Kona Electric will continue to provide HMCA with an entry level EV slotting beneath the brand’s well-received Ioniq 5 midsize electric SUV.

The first-generation Kona range arrived in Australia in 2017. Facelifted in 2020, the Kona is sold in 12 variants locally. The lineup kicks off with the simply-named ‘Kona’ entry grade ($26,900 before on-road costs). Electric versions start at $54,500 for the standard range Elite variant.

That makes the Kona marginally more expensive locally than the Hyundai i30 small car, which starts at $23,720 before on-road costs for a manual five-door hatch, or $25,720 for an automatic.