FACT was among a handful of publications invited to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the big reveal of the all-new Hyundai Kona, a multi-talented SUV-B that boasts a hybrid variant and a whole host of advanced features.

Hyundai Motor Company Middle East and North Africa – Regional Headquarters hosted us in the JAX District of the Saudi capital for an exciting first-hand view of the new vehicle’s class-leading design upgrade as well as its advanced safety and comfort features.

With one of the most comprehensive product packages in the B-SUV segment, this second-generation Kona offers a wide range of engines giving drivers the choice of either hybrid (HEV) or internal combustion engine (ICE) powertrain options in addition to the N Performance version of each. An all-electric EV variant will follow soon in selected markets.

First Look

Our first impression was that Hyundai have reconfigured the new model with active drivers and their families in mind who’ll be served by the unique proportions and increased dimensions. At 4.355m long, it’s 17.5cm longer than the previous generation, with a wheelbase of 2.66cm, an increase of 6cm. It is also wider and higher giving a feeling of improved strength and sturdiness.

Between the aerodynamic front and tailgate, sculpted wheel arches and parametric surfaces give a feeling of pure volume, with dynamic lines of chrome connecting the belt line to the rear spoiler and integrated high stop lamp. The bright exterior colours further emphasise the iconic design.

N Performance versions offer an extremely capable family vehicle with a little extra pizzaz, featuring black mirrors, an optional black spoiler and roof, more aggressive front and rear styling with a wing-shaped bumper to emphasise the lowered stance, dual exhausts and silver-painted trim.

Designed For Life

Making use of the model’s improved dimensions, Hyundai’s designers created a larger interior ‘living space’ to suit a wide range of lifestyles. The driver-focused front row is accentuated by a horizontal floating C-panel with integrated dual 12.3-inch panoramic displays that underscore the model’s tech-savvy personality.

As part of the interior upgrades, the gearbox shifter has been moved from the centre console to behind the steering wheel via paddle shifters, allowing for more storage. The new design imparts a feeling of space and comfort which is reinforced by the fact that all the driver’s controls are now found around the steering wheel. Ambient lighting is also supported by over-theair maintenance updates and new features.

The comfort reclining seat option for the first row has been optimised for ‘weightless’ body pressure distribution to help reduce fatigue after driving by adjusting to the body’s natural positioning. A reclining option in the second row also ups the comfort level for passengers.

The fully folding second-row seat and rear deck offer up to 466 litres of cargo space and loading anything from luggage to shopping bags is easier than ever thanks to the convenient Smart Tailgate customisable interior that enhances access to luggage space.

Convenience Via Technology

Inside, dual 12.3-inch panoramic displays are integrated into the audio and video navigation (AVN) system to give drivers an immersive digital experience. And the 2023 KONA will be the first Hyundai model to implement the new Vehicle Connected Cockpit (ccNC), which provides advanced graphics and a perfect match between vehicle displays. When parking, the Surround View Monitor (SVM) displays the vehicle from different vantage points for safe and easy parking while wide-projection LED headlights illuminate the road.

The second-generation Kona is equipped with the next level of Hyundai SmartSense Advanced Driver Assistance System features not available in most other B-SUVs, ensuring the highest levels of safety and comfort on the road.

The Driver Condition Monitoring (DSM) system uses the vehicle’s interior camera to analyse the driver’s face and, if drowsy or careless, alerts or intervenes, if necessary. The Smart Parking System (RSPA) helps drivers enter and exit parking spaces remotely. Pressing the smart key button moves the vehicle forward or backward.

The Blind Spot Vision Monitor (BVM) assists when the driver changes lane by sounding an alert to warn of the risk of collision with vehicles in the blind spot. If necessary, the brakes are applied automatically to prevent a collision.

The all-new Kona model is also packed with various other safety aids such as Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Blind Spot Collision Avoidance (BCA), Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and High Beam Assist (HBA). It is also equipped with many driving comfort functions, such as Intelligent Cruise Control (SCC), Navigation-Based Intelligent Cruise Control (NSCC), Lane Departure System (LFA) and Highway Driving Assistance (HDA).


Bose engineers have fine-tuned the Bose premium audio system with eight speakers plus a subwoofer to deliver a rich and immersive listening experience. Driver and passengers alike have access to two USB-C charging devices (one with data support) and a 12V power outlet in the front as well as two USB-C charging devices in the rear. The Kona is also equipped with the latest version of Hyundai’s connectivity technology and Bluelink music and video service will be made available later.

Our Verdict

We were impressed with the muscular, dynamic design of this upgraded model – which has been a firm favourite since its launch back in 2017. With the increased dimensions and numerous technological advancements, all-new KONA is true to the model’s distinctive character while offering an even safer, more connected and even more comfortable experience. ✤