This is the new Hyundai Kona Electric facelift that will be launched in Malaysia this year. Two units of the EV, one in blue and another in white, were spotted by Adi Azri Ari at Petronas Ara Damansara. They weren’t there to fill up with fuel, of course, but to fill up the tyres with air.

The EV version of the Kona B-SUV isn’t merely here for internal training purposes (cars as weird as the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and i30 Wagon have been spotted on Malaysian roads in the past), as this car is set to hit showrooms before the end of the year. Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) has confirmed to paultan.org that the Kona Electric’s Malaysian launch will happen in the fourth quarter of this year, which we’re in now.

Late last year, Hyundai gave its Kona range a facelift, and HSDM has already brought in the refreshed B-SUV, first with a 2.0 litre naturally aspirated engine in April, followed by the 1.6 litre turbo and sporty N Line in July. When it arrives, the Kona Electric be HSDM’s first full electric offering in Malaysia, having already done hybrid with the Ioniq.

The Kona Electric will be available here in two battery sizes, just like in Europe. Like the pre-facelift, the EV can be had with a 39.2 kWh or 64 kWh battery.

The base model’s single motor is a 136 PS unit while the 64 kWh car gets a more powerful 204 PS motor. Both have the same 395 Nm of torque. The 0-100 km/h sprint is dispatched in 9.9 seconds for the 39.2 kWh and 7.9 seconds for the 64 kWh version. Top speed is 155 km/h and 167 km/h, respectively.

While there are no changes to the batteries, there are slight changes to driving range on a full charge in the WLTP cycle. The 39.2 kWh version is now rated at 305 km (-7 from 312 km) while the 64 kWh is officially pegged at 484 km (+2 from 482 km), with the slight increase attributed to tyre improvements.

As for charging, DC fast charging from 10% to 80% with a 50 kW charger takes 48 minutes for the 39.2 kWh model, or 64 minutes for the 64 kWh version. Use a 100 kW charger and it’s 47 minutes for both batteries, Hyundai says.

Regular AC charging with the single-phase 7.2 kW onboard charger from 10% to 80% will take six hours in the base model and nine hours 15 minutes in the 64 kWh. Charging times go down to four hours 20 minutes and six hours 50 minutes respectively with the optional three-phase 10.5 kW onboard charger. The upgraded BlueLink app displays info such as range, battery state and charging times on a phone.

In Europe, there are two interior themes – the first is a black interior in cloth, cloth and leather mix or leather upholstery; while the second is a grey interior in a cloth-leather mélange or leather. We can’t see the interior from these pics due to glare.

The SmartSense driver assist suite has been upgraded and now includes rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist (RCCA) and blind spot collision avoidance assist (BCA). Basically, these functions add on auto braking to the previous warning. Also new to the Kona Electric are features such as Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (LVDA, like Perodua’s Front Departure Alert), Safe Exit Warning (SEW) and Rear Seat Alert (RSA).

Lastly, the new face in the facelift. While the pre-FL Kona Electric featured a blocked-off grille (no engine cooling needed) there was still an outline of a traditional grille, with elements within. Here, there’s no hint of a grille and the Hyundai logo has moved up to the level of the LED DRL eyebrows. It’s still easily recognisable as a Kona, but also more “EV looking”.

For this update, Hyundai introduced two distinct faces for the ICE-powered Kona – one regular and one for the N Line and full N. The Electric’s fascia is unique, making it three different front ends in the range.

The big question is how much? The base Kona Electric with its 39.2 kWh battery is quite a similar prospect to the Nissan Leaf, which is still the sole EV officially sold here without a premium badge. The Leaf was launched in 2019 with a 40 kWh battery and RM189k price tag. The MINI Cooper SE facelift was launched in June. With the four-year warranty and service package option ticked, and sales tax subtracted, the cute 28.9 kWh EV is yours for RM217k.

We’re expecting the base Kona Electric – which trumps both Leaf and MINI in range – to start from below RM200k. For those who like the idea of an EV, but can’t spend the equivalent of a house on the BMW iX or Porsche Taycan, one of the best mass market brand EVs coming to town is something to look forward to. What do you think – can do?

GALLERY: 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric facelift

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