It's time for enthusiasts to embrace the bodystyle.
There are plenty of "hot" luxury SUVs and crossovers on the market, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 and BMW X6 M come to mind, but very few mainstream automakers have unleashed their in-house performance divisions on an affordable tall-roof model. Until now. Following several teasers leading up to the official reveal, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N is finally ready to introduce crossover buyers to a new level of speed. Debuting during Hyundai N Day, the Kona N delivers versatility combined with track-ready performance.
Under the hood, the Kona N borrows the potent 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the Veloster N, linked to a new eight-speed wet-type dual-clutch transmission driving the front wheels only. In this application, the engine produces 276 horsepower (or 286 hp using a cool N Grin Shift feature). Zero to sixty mph in this hot crossover takes just 5.5 seconds with launch control; top speed is 149 mph.
All-wheel drive would seem natural here. But Hyundai's head of R&D Albert Biermann explained why only two wheels are driven. "Front-wheel drive can be good all year round," said Biermann. "Put winter tires on and it's a beast, you can just keep the fun going. Plus, why carry around AWD all year?"
Hyundai's N division didn't just throw a larger engine in the Kona and call it a day; the Kona N has some serious handling upgrades. The car features an electronic limited-slip differential called the N Corner Carving Differential, 19-inch forged wheels, high-performance brakes, sticky tires, and a variable exhaust system. If it's anything like the Veloster N, it's sure to be a blast.
Hyundai could have slammed it to the ground, but it didn't. "They lowered it an inch, and I said 'hold up,' we already have a low hatch," said Biermann. The Kona N "isn't all about corner speed. It just needs to be enjoyable."
The N Grin Control System can do that with five selectable drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and Custom. Drivers can then save these mode settings on one of two steering wheel-mounted N buttons.
Inside, the Kona N receives sporty upgrades reminiscent of the Veloster N. These include a new 10-inch infotainment screen and digital cluster, head-up display, customizable N buttons, lap timer, Performance Blue accents, and heavily bolstered sport bucket seats. Despite its performance capabilities, the Kona N doesn't skimp on safety and comes standard with a full advanced driver assistance system array.
On the exterior, the Kona N receives a similar styling facelift seen across the 2022 Kona lineup, albeit at a sportier level. Body-colored fenders and unique forged wheels give the Kona N a more aggressive, muscular stance. Instead of recycling the Performance Blue color used on the Veloster N and i30 N, Hyundai designed a new color called Sonic Blue. The Kona N stands out over a standard model with a red accent line, front lip spoiler, double-wing roof spoiler, and side skirts.
Since this is a global reveal, Hyundai did not announce any pricing or market timing information for the United States. We assume this model will cost more than the similarly-powered Veloster N, which costs $33,750 with its DCT option.