When we first got the Kona EV to review back in 2018, the first thing we did was book in a road trip from Wellington to Auckland and back. The Kona impressed on that trip, making it a worthy open-road EV.

Now Hyundai New Zealand has announced the arrival of the 2021 Kona Electric Series II, with a facelifted exterior and interior design, improved WLTP driving range, and specification upgrades across the model line-up.

While EV buyers are still fixated on range, the 484Km (WLTP) of driving range of the Kona II should appease those buyers.

Hyundai New Zealand General Manager Andy Sinclair says, “Since launching the ground-breaking Kona Electric in 2018 it’s been a popular choice of EV here in New Zealand for both private and fleet buyers. Additional standard safety, connectivity and convenience features ensure an even better driving experience in the 2021 model. Kona Electric continues to deliver one of the best all-electric driving ranges of any electric car.”

The EV comes fitted with Michelin Primacy4 low rolling resistance tyres, helping deliver a 7.8% improvement in real-world driving range when tested according to the WLTP standard.

2021 Kona Electric model range overview

The Kona Electric continues to be available in two trim grades, Entry and Elite.

Over and above the Entry specification the Elite option offers additional safety features, connectivity and the comfort and convenience features. They include LED headlights and tail lights, driver and passenger power seats, heated front and rear outbound seats, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, wireless smart phone charging and a Heads-Up-Display (HUD).

The Elite comes with a 10.25” multimedia touchscreen compared to 8” in the Entry model, along with satellite navigation and a Harman Kardon premium audio system.

The additional Hyundai SmartSense driver safety features include High Beam Assist (HBA), Electro Chromatic rear-view Mirror (ECM) and a front park assist system.


The 2021 Kona Electric has undergone a series of exterior design updates. Hyundai says that by combining a clean and sleek appearance with the protective and bold small SUV body type of the Kona, it expresses its exceptional electric technology while being even more recognisable on the road. The front is complemented by an asymmetric charging port, a feature unique to the Kona Electric which makes a strong statement about driving electric.

New, sharper headlamps stretch around the side of the car. The high-tech headlamp inner bezel now incorporates multifaceted reflector (MFR) technology. The headlamps are connected to the painted wheel arch claddings. Vertical air inlets in front of the wheel arch claddings enhance its aerodynamics, substantially reducing turbulence in the front wheelhouse area. Meanwhile, a functional air intake in the lower bumper is visually enhanced by horizontal satin accent bars, which give it a pronounced stance.

The rear also receives a styling refresh with a new bumper design and horizontally-stretched rear lamps, while new machined face 17” alloy wheels complete the exterior makeover.

Like the 2021 Kona with internal-combustion powertrains, the new Kona Electric is 25mm longer than the previous version.


The 2021 Kona Electric also incorporates several feature upgrades to the standard SmartSense safety suite featured on the outgoing model.

Lane Following Assist

Supplementing the Lane Keeping Assist system, Lane Following Assist (LFA) uses the front windshield mounted camera to detects lane markers and preceding traffic on the road, and provides steering assistance to ensure the vehicle stays in the centre of the lane.

LFA can be activated by a long press of the Lane Keeping Assist / Lane Following Assist button the steering wheel, and is operational when lane markers are detected at speeds up to 200km/h.

Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist

At speeds of 20km/h or above, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) uses radar sensors on either side of the rear bumper to detect vehicles next to and diagonally behind the Kona Electric. If a vehicle is present in the Kona Electric’s blind spot, a visual alert is displayed in the exterior mirrors. If the driver proceeds to activate the corresponding indicator lights, a flashing visual warning is provided and an audible alert is sounded.

Additionally, the system also scans for vehicles approaching rapidly from the rear, and uses the same warning measures to alert the driver of vehicles which may be entering the Kona Electric’s blind spot at a higher rate of speed.

At speeds of 60km/h or above, if the driver proceeds to carry-out a lane change after the audible alert is sounded, BCA will apply partial braking to help avoid a collision with an approaching vehicle. An active avoidance manoeuvre is undertaken with the system applying braking force to the wheels on the opposing side of the potential collision point, bring the vehicle away from danger, and lowering the chance of a collision.

BCA can also help prevent collisions when exiting a parallel parking spot at 3km/h or lower. If a potential collision with an approaching vehicle is detected, the system will apply braking force to help avoid a collision.

Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist

Using the BCA system’s radar sensors, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) monitors for traffic approaching on either side of the Kona Electric when reversing out of perpendicular parking spaces at speeds of up to 8km/h. Should RCCA detect a vehicle approaching, an audible warning will sound, with a visual warning displayed on the dash cluster.

In the case that the driver does not adhere to the warning, RCCA will apply a braking force and help avoid a collision with the approaching vehicle.

Safe Exit Warning

The Safe Exit Warning (SEW) helps occupants exit the Kona Electric in a safer fashion. When the vehicle is stopped and SEW is active, the system utilises the radar sensors on either side of the rear bumper to detect vehicles approaching from the rear. If a vehicle is detected, and a door is opened, the system will sound an audible alert and display a visual warning in the instrument cluster.

Rear Occupant Alert

Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) detects the entry of occupants via the rear doors opening and closing. Upon parking and opening the driver’s door, ROA issues an audible warning chime and prompts the driver with a visual warning message to “check rear seats”, to ensure that rear occupants are not accidentally left behind.


Harman Kardon premium audio system (Elite model only)

Featuring 8 speakers (including a front centre speaker and a woofer) and an external amplifier, Hyundai claims the Harman Kardon premium audio system on the Kona Electric offers exceptional sound quality through optimised system tuning.

10.25” digital Supervision cluster

The 10.25” colour TFT LCD Supervision dash cluster features a fully digital display. A variety of different user-selectable themes are available, and can also be linked to the selected Drive Mode. The cluster also displays a range of trip computer information, as well as system status and visual alerts from the various safety systems.

Wireless charger (Elite model only)

The wireless charging pad allows compatible Qi-standard devices to be charged in a dedicated recess in the front centre console, improving convenience for front seat occupants.

Rear USB power outlet

A new USB power outlet mounted to the rear of the console allows rear passengers to charge mobile devices.

Rear View Monitor

The new Rear View Monitor (RVM) system allows the rear camera to remain on constantly whilst driving if required, such that the driver can continually monitor the road conditions behind the vehicle.

Remote start

Kona Electric now features remote start capability via the smart key fob. With the handbrake engaged and vehicle locked, the user is able to remotely start the vehicle by pressing the lock button, followed by pressing and holding the engine start button.

Heated rear outboard seats (Elite model only)

Elite model is equipped with heated rear outboard seats. The heating elements ensure the rear outboard seating surfaces are warmed in cool weather.

Ambient lighting (Elite model only)

Ambient lighting in the front footwells add a gentle glow, providing a luxurious ambience to the interior.


150 kW Electric MotorReduction gear$79,990$85,990
Phantom Black Two-Tone RoofNo Cost

Note: All prices are RRP. Price excludes dealer delivery and on road costs.


Specification upgrades compared to the 2020 Kona Electric are highlighted in bold.

Kona Electric150 kW Electric Motor
Key specifications:
6 airbagsAuto dusk sensing headlightsPaddle shifters
SmartSense™ advanced driver assist:LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)8.0” touchscreen multimedia system
Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance AssistRear park assist system6-speaker audio system
– Driver Attention WarningRear view cameraIn-cable control box (ICCB)
– Forward Collision-Avoidance AssistTyre Pressure Monitoring SystemApple CarPlay compatibility
Lane Following Assist17” alloy wheels w/ Michelin Primacy4Android Auto compatibility
– Lane Keeping AssisttyresBluetooth connectivity
Rear Cross-Traffic CollisionTyre mobility kitRear passenger USB charging port
   Avoidance AssistLeather appointed interiorHeated exterior mirrors
Rear Occupant AlertPassenger height adjusterPower folding exterior mirrors
Safe Exit WarningElectronic parking brake (EPB)Front & rear power windows;
– Smart Cruise Control with Stop & GoShift By Wire (SBW)– front windows one touch auto up/down
  Electronic Stability Control (ESC)Smart key & push button startRear fog light
  Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)Climate control w/ auto defogFront closed grille
  Brake Assist System (BAS)Rain sensing wipersBody coloured cladding
  Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)Solar control glass w/ rear privacyDriver & front pass. seat back pocket
  Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)Acoustic film (windshield)Luggage net
  Traction Control System (TCS)10.25″ digital supervision clusterRoof Rails
  Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
Kona Electric Elite150 kW Electric Motor
Key specifications above Elite:
Front park assist systemElectro-chromatic interior mirrorHeated steering wheel
LED headlights and front indicatorsAir ventilated front seatsAmbient lighting
LED taillightsHeated front and rear outboard seatsWireless charging pad (Qi standard)
10.25” satellite navigation systemHarman Kardon 8-speaker audioDAB+ digital radio
High Beam AssistPower driver’s and passengers’ seatsOptional – Two-Tone Roof – Phantom Black
Heads-Up Display (HUD)
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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.


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