The Hyundai Veloster N is a hot hatch fun machine, and soon Hyundai will apply that philosophy to the Kona compact crossover SUV in the form of a new Kona N version. The Korean automaker revealed the 2022 Kona N on Tuesday as part of an expansion of its N and N Line offerings.
The Kona N is the second full-fledged N model to come to the U.S., though other markets have also received the compact i30 N, a version of the Elantra hatchback we get here, and more recently the smaller i20 N. It is one of the 18 N and N Line models Hyundai plans to offer through 2022. Hyundai promises an N or N Line model in every major vehicle segment it offers.
Like the Veloster N, the Kona N is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4. In the Kona N, it makes 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque, though the N Grin Shjft mode will up that to 286 hp for 20 seconds. Hyundai says the Kona N can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 5.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 149 mph.
2022 Hyundai Kona N
Unlike the Veloster N, the Kona N offers only one transmission, a version of the 8-speed wet dual-clutch automatic used in the Veloster N (sorry, no manual). Hyundai says the transmission, which sends power to the front wheels exclusively (sorry, no all-wheel drive), is beefed up to handle the engine's power, has unique gear ratios, and is programmed for quick shifts.
The transmission also has N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift modes. N Power Shift is simply a manual shifting mode through the steering wheel shift paddles, and N Track Sense Shift detects if the driver is driving on a track and holds gears to provide the right gear for best performance.
To improve handling, the Kona N's platform is reinforced with extra welding points and a stiffer strut ring structure. It also uses an electronic limited-slip differential and lightweight aluminum knuckles, rides on performance tires mounted on lightweight 19-inch forged alloy wheels that widen the track slightly, and has larger brakes with higher performance pads. The Kona N has the same ride height as other Konas to retain its all-year utility. To make it handle and provide the feedback enthusiasts want, Hyundai developed the Kona N on tracks around the world, including the Nurburgring.
2022 Hyundai Kona N's 8-speed dual-clutch transmission
In addition to N Grin Shift, the Kona N has the N Grin Control system that offers Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and Custom drive modes. Each mode changes the settings for the engine, stability control, exhaust sound, and steering. A launch control system is also standard.
On the outside, the Kona N gets design, cooling, and aerodynamic changes. A front lip spoiler, lower side skirts, and a double-wing roof spoiler improve the aerodynamics, while larger front air center intake provides more engine and brake cooling for the Kona N's track capability. The fender flares are also body color instead of black on other Konas.
Inside, Hyundai aims for a combination of sportiness and a video game experience. It has a 10.0-inch digital instrument cluster that can also show some infotainment features. A racing-style head-up display is standard, and the center infotainment system can show lap times and track maps. The pedals are metal, and Performance Blue accents trim the seats, steering wheel, and shift knob.
2022 Hyundai Kona N
Hyundai also equips the Kona N with plenty of driver-assistance features, including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, active blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, a driver-attention monitor, automatic high beams, and a safe exit warning system.
Hyundai hasn't provided release timing or pricing for the Kona N, but they should be available closer to launch.
In addition to the Kona N, Hyundai also announced it is studying expanding its N brand with electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The company said it is using its RM platform as a "rolling lab" for testing electrified powertrains and may even use it for a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. The company said an electric N is in the works, but wouldn't share which model it will be based on whether it will be a standalone car. Hyundai's E-GMP electric vehicle platform used for the Ioniq 5 could host a future N model.