2024 Hyundai Kona - Design Review
growing product for the brand due to its price point and handsome styling. Appealing to more than just urban rebels, the Kona met fans from everywhere. From downtown cores to rural living, the Kona was an in product, but as with all Hyundai models, a facelift would soon be on the way to keep this gravy train flowing.
Now entering their 2nd generation (3rd design), the Kona is set to utilize Hyundai’s new design language. Borrowing some hard lines from the updated Tuscon, the new Kona is a change from the urban runabout which we have all come to love. Adding on some outdoor appeal, the Kona is now trying harder to appeal to the urban adventurer. But, can some hard lines, plastic cladding, and skid plates, be enough to keep this train a rolling?
As you gaze upon the front of the Kona you will start to notice how it has changed and yet kept the same appeal. Hyundai has done a wonderful job updating the front end so that it is an improvement over the last model. Gone are the smooth curves and vast wastelands of sheet metal. This time we welcome a large front intake inclusive of side gills and an overly extended skid plate. All of which seems to fit the updated front end look.
One thing we could ask Hyundai to take into consideration next time, is to tone down the use of flat base plastics. What year do they think this is, 1998. Along with this are the dismal looking running lights which have been forcibly placed into the plastic wheel arches. Hyundai could have done a better job with integration here. Really, you are the ones who blended these into the grille of the Tucson.
Heading over to the centre point of the front, Hyundai has made the bumper of this product very apparent. Protruding from above the front intake, the bumper can be seen by anyone looking this model over. Maybe an accent around the intake could help blend in the bumper to this front a bit better.
As with most vehicles today, Hyundai has decided to go down the band lighting avenue. This band does fit the design, but maybe bring in the ends a bit, as they do overextend the limits. Above this Hyundai has added one bland and boring hood. A bit more character here, would really help this model stand out a bit more.
Along the side is where you will find some hard-edge character lines. These do help break up the side profile taking away from a sea of emptiness. This emptiness has now been filled up by the mark of Zorro, as Hyundai has used a Z outline for their character lines.
Hyundai has kept a similar profile to the original, making this model easy to distinguish from the competition. Updates are usually a way of enhancing the product and the Kona’s side profile is an enhancement over the previous vehicle. Our major quarrel, is their use of body plastic. This does enhance the off-road appeal, but brings back memories of the overused plastic models from GM’s past. Remember the Aztec and 1st generation Avalanche. Unless you are a true trekking model, lets keep the plastic to a minimal use.
Large oversized wheels grace the size profile, giving us the illusion that this is a sport model. Do not be fooled as Hyundai has only done this to improve on the overall appeal of this model. The wheel size and design are nothing more than a piece of urban appeal. Do not try to use these oversized pieces of aluminum on rough roads.
Out back a similar aspect to the front has been used, yet again. Integration of the turn signals and running lights have been added to the oversized plastic body arches. The use of this plastic material and placement has made this area appear to be in another universe from the rest of the rear. Better integration of the arches and a better layout of the lights is required for the mid-cycle refresh.
Added to this is the use of an over extended band light and protruding bumper. Unlike the front the tail light blends in better, as Hyundai has inset the ends into the oversized wheel arches. Below this a two-tone rear bumper protrudes significantly from the rear. Tone down the rear skid diffuser and maybe the rear of this vehicle would be more appealing.
Hyundai seems to be on a roll of the wrong placement and material on the rear. Sitting a bit too low and seeming out of place, the rear section for your plate breaks the upper from the lower. But not in a good way. It almost seems like Hyundai realized at the last minute that they need to add some lighting above the rear plate to meet highway regulations. So, they added in a crease line which really takes away from a proper blend on the rear.
Overall, the Kona is more enhanced than its predecessor, but its not at all better. Using cheap plastic to an extent not seen since the early 2000’s along with cheap aluminum accents, really bring this design into the past. Hard lines and band lighting are the only updates from today’s age.
Even with a N-Line product on the way, the Kona is not going to be the crowd pleaser it once was. Too bad Hyundai, we thought you had a real winner on your hands. Guess there is always next time.
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