It was back in March when Hyundai first revealed teaser images of the Kona N. Based on what we saw at the time, the Kona N will feature an aggressive exterior that's dominated by an aero kit, huge alloy wheels, twin exhausts, and a large roof spoiler. No doubt, we were excited about its debut.
More than a month after the teasers, Hyundai has officially launched the 2022 Kona N. Serving as the sportiest Kona in the range, the N version packs a powerful turbocharged heart, a more aerodynamic exterior, and improved handling.
“Kona N is a true hot SUV with the performance level of a hot hatch. It breaks the rule that SUVs are less fun to drive. As an N model, it goes beyond the limits of an ordinary SUV. Kona N can carve corners on the racetrack and bring excitement to everyday driving,” said Albert Biermann, president and head of the R&D Division at Hyundai Motor Group.
Let's start with the most important bit, the engine. The Kona N is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four derived from the Veloster N, producing 280 PS and 392 Nm of torque. The motor is then mated to a wet dual-clutch, 8-speed gearbox developed in-house. As a result, the Kona N can sprint from 0 – 100 km/h in just 5.5 seconds (with launch control). The top speed is rated at 240 km/h.
Need a little more oomph? Hyundai put in a temporary over-boost function called 'N Grin Shift'. When activated, it bumps engine power to 290 PS. Hyundai says the feature not only delivers a more fun driving experience, but it also helps drivers make quick passes and faster launches.
There are five driving modes available; Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and Custom. Depending on the setting, it will adjust throttle mapping, exhaust sound, steering feedback, and electronic stability control.
Besides the powerful engine, Hyundai also tweaked the Kona N's chassis and improved handling. It gets a stiffer suspension, bigger disc brakes, and an electronic limited-slip differential to help keep the Kona N planted. Additional weld points helped reinforce the body, as well as provide extra rigidity and reduced body roll.
To match its sportier appeal, Hyundai gave the Kona N a more muscular and aggressive exterior. It has a reshaped front bumper with a distinct lip spoiler painted red, a sharper-looking front grille, and a new rear bumper that houses twin exhaust pipes. Other notable exterior features include a split-wing roof spoiler, body-colored wheel arches, 19-inch forged alloy wheels wrapped in low-profile tires, and a triangular third brake light derived from the Veloster N.
Hyundai did not forget to dress up the Kona N's interior. There are sport bucket seats at the front, a 10-inch digital instrument panel, and a leather steering wheel. There's also 10-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a heads-up display. Performance Blue accents are applied throughout the interior for some contrast.
The 2021 Hyundai Kona N will arrive in US dealerships later in the year. It is set to undermine more luxurious models like the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Jaguar E-Pace, and even the BMW X2.
But will Hyundai Philippines actually bring it in? It's possible, but the company has yet to officially offer any of N or even N-Line models. Fingers crossed they change their minds and decide to sell it here, possibly starting with the Kona N.