2022 Hyundai Kona N

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2022 Hyundai Kona N Test Drive Review: Hot Cross Fun

It's not often that an automaker creates a one-of-a-kind product, but the 2022 Hyundai Kona N is such a car. Based on the budget-friendly Kona, the Kona N injects a sporty flavor into the subcompact crossover segment the likes of which we've never seen before. With a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder pumping out 276 horsepower (286 hp on overboost), the Kona N's performance specs outmatch nearly every compact crossover on the market.

We struggled to find a close competitor to the Kona N. The Mazda CX-30 Turbo offers nearly as much power, but with a focus on luxury rather than performance. Likewise, the Ford Bronco Sport offers punchy power with its EcoBoost engine, but its priorities lie off the pavement, not the race track. The Mini Countryman John Cooper Works outmatches the Kona N with 301 hp, but at $41,500 to start, it exists in a higher price category. It's like we said… the 2022 Hyundai Kona N sits in a class of one. This might be the most hilarious crossover we've ever driven.

Read in this review:

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2022 Hyundai Kona N Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2021 Kona N?

The Hyundai Kona N enters 2022 as an all-new high-performance submodel for the Kona lineup. The second US-bound N model after the Veloster N, the Kona takes a similar angle of attack with a high-power 2.0-liter turbo engine, front-wheel drive, an enhanced chassis, and a lightning-quick eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to put it all to the ground through the "N Corner Carving Differential." Bigger brakes, stiffer suspension, and bespoke styling inside and out all differentiate this as not your average Kona.

Pros and Cons

  • Exciting styling
  • Reasonable starting price
  • Throaty exhaust note
  • Track-ready handling
  • Surprisingly spacious
  • Break-your-back suspension
  • No AWD option
  • Front end looks controversial
  • Some questionable materials
  • Thirsty!

Best Deals on 2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2022 Hyundai Kona N Trims and Specs

2022 Kona N Exterior

2022 Hyundai Kona N Driving Front Angle CarBuzz
2022 Hyundai Kona N Driving Back View CarBuzz
2022 Hyundai Kona N Front View Driving CarBuzz
See All 2022 Hyundai Kona N Exterior Photos


  • Length 165.9 in
  • Wheelbase 102.4 in
  • Height 61.0 in
  • Max Width 70.9 in
  • Front Width 62.2 in
  • Rear Width 62.0 in
  • Curb Weight 3,340.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Lunar White +$400
  • Ultra Black +$400
  • Racing Red +$400
  • Sonic Blue +$400

2022 Kona N Performance

2022 Hyundai Kona N Side View Driving CarBuzz
2022 Hyundai Kona N Front View Driving 1 CarBuzz
2022 Hyundai Kona N Aft View CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Hyundai Kona N takes the notion that crossovers are boring and turns it upside down. The base Kona was already a pretty fun vehicle to drive, but the N takes it to a new level. We've never met a crossover that could make us grin like this. It all starts with the engine. Hyundai did its best to manage all 289 lb-ft of torque going out to the front wheels using a clever N Corner Carving Differential, but the Kona N can still break its Pirelli tires loose from the pavement with ease. A fair amount of torque steer is transmitted through the steering wheel, though it's never enough to lose faith in the Kona's handling abilities. Speaking of which, the Kona N is a delight through the bends. The car feels nimble through the well-calibrated steering being one of the factors that make the Kona N handle more like a hot hatchback. High-performance brakes with large 14.2-inch front rotors help keep things under control, too.

Drivers can select five modes on the N Grin Control System (drive mode selection), including Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and Custom. The Kona N offers fine-tuning for the engine, exhaust, suspension, traction control, and more, and once you find the ideal combination for these settings, you can save it on one of two programmable N buttons on the wheel. We found the standard suspension mode firm but reasonable, while the harshest N mode was too uncomfortable for anything besides a newly-paved road. If we were programming the N buttons for ourselves, we'd have everything in the sportiest setting with the suspension in its softest mode.

Though it sacrifices comfort, the Kona N makes up for this shortcoming by putting a big dumb smile on the driver's face. Push the red N Grin Shift (NGS) button on the wheel, and the car delivers a 10-hp boost for 20 seconds along with the lowest possible gear and quickest shifts possible. If you weren't smiling before, the NGS button will have you bursting with laughter. The Kona N truly creates a new category for the hot crossover.

2022 Kona N Interior

2022 Hyundai Kona N Dashboard Hyundai
2022 Hyundai Kona N Instrument Cluster Hyundai
2022 Hyundai Kona N Front Seats Hyundai
See All 2022 Hyundai Kona N Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 41.5 in
  • Front Head Room 39.6 in
  • Rear Leg Room 35.2 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.8 in

2022 Kona N Trunk and Cargo Space

2022 Hyundai Kona N Trunk Space CarBuzz
2022 Hyundai Kona N Trunk Space 1 CarBuzz
2022 Hyundai Kona N Cargo Space Hyundai

2022 Kona N Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: Is the 2022 Hyundai Kona N A Good SUV?

The 2022 Hyundai Kona N is unlike any crossover we've ever experienced, at least not at this price level. Once again, Hyundai's N division has created a stellar vehicle that delivers class-leading driving dynamics and grin-inducing fun. The Kona N faces little competition elsewhere in the industry. Neither the Ford Bronco Sport nor the Mazda CX-30 Turbo matches the Kona N's performance, and the Mini Countryman JCW is too expensive. If you've been looking to replace your hot hatchback with a fun-to-drive crossover, this is the best one available.

If we had any hesitation in recommending the Kona N, the stiff suspension would be the number one culprit. Some conventional crossover buyers might hop into the Kona N, not expecting a sports car-stiff ride. It's better in normal mode, but the firmest suspension settings are pretty brutal. And, although the Kona just received a refresh for the 2022 model year, this vehicle is now in the second half of its life cycle, and there are one or two spots where you can feel its age.

Check out other Hyundai Kona Styles

2022 Hyundai Kona N Comparisons

Hyundai Veloster N Hyundai
Hyundai Kona
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Hyundai Kona N276 hp20/27 mpg$34,950
Hyundai Veloster N 275 hp22/28 mpg$32,500
Hyundai Kona 147 hp30/35 mpg$22,140

2022 Hyundai Kona N vs Hyundai Veloster N

You have your heart set on a Hyundai N model, but don't know whether the Veloster N or Kona N is best? Well, the two are similar in many ways, right down to the 2.0L turbocharged engine producing 276 hp. Both are FWD, but while the Kona N is DCT-only, you can have the Veloster with a manual gearbox and three pedals. Being closer to the ground with a lower center of gravity, it handles just a little better than the taller Kona, but the Kona feels more theatrical because of the extra height. It's in the practical areas that the two differ. The Kona N is lighter on gas, for example, at 23 mpg combined to the Veloster automatic's 22 mpg; that said, the Veloster manual can achieve 25 mpg combined. The Kona N has four doors and five seats while the Veloster has three and four, respectively. The Kona N has more than an inch of extra rear legroom, but the trunk is seven-tenths of a cubic foot smaller.

When it comes time to decide, these two are very similar packages. To us, if practicality matters most, the Kona N is a winner, but if you don't need rear seats that often and if you value three pedals instead of two paddles, the Veloster N is a winner. Either way, you won't be disappointed

See Hyundai Veloster N Review

2022 Hyundai Kona N vs Hyundai Kona

Do you really need a full-fat Kona N when Hyundai's own N Line - which forms part of the regular Kona lineup - looks the part and has nearly 200 hp on tap? That's the question many buyers will ask, and at $25,700, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N Line is several grand cheaper than what the Kona N is going to cost. You have to make some concessions though, like losing out on the adaptive suspension, Pirelli P-Zero tires, a fruity exhaust, and all the extra drive modes. You also only have 195 hp and 195 lb-ft, and the dual-clutch gearbox only has seven ratios and isn't quite as sharp. It comes with the smaller eight-inch infotainment screen as standard, but that has wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Still, the Kona N Line is quick, fun, and easy to live with, and because you can spec it with AWD, it's better suited to states that see snowfall in the winter. You get the same levels of practicality, a much more pliant suspension setup, and a little more versatility, while the Kona N is all-in on performance focus at the expense of things like ride comfort. For enthusiasts, the Kona N is a new breed of hot hatch that they'll love, but if you're a little worried about a stiff ride, the Kona N Line will surprise you with its balance.

See Hyundai Kona Review
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