It was December 2020 when Hyundai Philippines announced its ambitious plan to launch four models in 2021. At the time, they didn't mention which will come first. Will it be the updated Santa Fe that came out in June 2020? Or will Hyundai Philippines surprise us by bringing in the all-new Tucson ahead of everything else? Thankfully, we might have an answer.
It seems that the first of these four launches will be the facelifted Kona. That's judging from the teaser Hyundai Malaysia posted a few days ago. The Malaysia debut serves as the new Kona's debut in Southeast Asia, so it's only a matter of time before we get it here. The updated Kona will be revealed on April 16.
With that, we can expect the Malaysia-spec Kona to be a little close to what we can expect in local versions. That said, there is no mention of its specifications at the moment. But the most we can tell you now is what Hyundai changed in the Kona.
The facelifted Hyundai Kona debuted back in September 2020. The facelift gave the subcompact crossover a new bumper, a wider grille, slimmer headlights, and more distinct DRLs. Also, the Hyundai logo is now above the grille instead of within it. There are similar changes at the rear with a new bumper and taillights.
At first glance, it looks like Hyundai left the interior untouched. However, you will see the upgrades when you take a closer look inside. The center stack features a new 8-inch infotainment screen that can be upsized to a larger 10.25-inch unit. Also, the driver gets a new 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. Hyundai also got rid of the mechanical handbrake and replaced it with an electronic parking brake.
Under the hood, there is a new 1.6-liter turbo that's good for 196 PS and 265 Nm of torque. There is also a 1.6-liter turbodiesel putting out 136 PS and 320 Nm of torque. However, we're not expecting either of those engines for the regional models. ASEAN models might stick to the 2.0-liter, non-turbocharged engine with 149 PS and 180 Nm of torque. Of course, it would be nice if Hyundai Philippines gave us the new turbo-gas engine.