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Auto123 Reviews The 2022 Hyundai Kona N!


2022 Hyundai Kona N Review: How Far Can It Go?

Author: Dan Heyman -

As we advance into 2022, Hyundai is a brand you most definitely want to keep an eye on. Not only because they're releasing some very cool products - including the funky Kona N you see here -- but because they are in the midst of a branding evolution. It should come as no surprise that a big part of that is their Ioniq EV program, now officially underway here with the debut of the Ioniq 5. What is surprising is they're also putting a lot of emphasis on their N performance brand as well, one that features nothing but good ol' turbo'd ICE performance models.

So what, then, do you do if you're Hyundai and want to continue to showcase just how far you can take your burgeoning performance brand?

Well, you make a performance version of one of your biggest sellers, of course!

The Kona N comes equipped with a 2.0L turbo-4 shared with the also-new Elantra N, which also means that it's shared with that car's racing variant, the N TCR, built to compete in top touring car racing championships the world over. On paper, that translates to 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque, sent to the front wheels (there is no AWD option) through an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. That's your only choice; the 6-speed manual fitted to the Elantra is not available on the Kona, which probably won't surprise that many people.

Style-wise, the Kona N isn't shy about its performance underpinnings. It gets special wheels wrapped in Pirelli performance tires, unique Performance Blue paint option with red rocker panels (those exist no matter which of the six available colours you select, except for the Ignite Red seen here), somewhat gaudy roof spoiler and distinctive N badging on the rocker panels and grille. While it doesn't ride any lower than a standard Kona (it is still a crossover, so it still needs to be able to conquer Canadian winters) this is not your reasonable next-door neighbour's Kona, I can tell you that.

Inside, the N love continues with special N sport seats, Performance Blue detailing on the seats, gearlever and the two wheel-mounted N mode buttons as well as a big red button there with "NGR" stamped on it. That stands for the whatever-you-say "N Grin Shift" system, which provides a 10-hp boost for 20 seconds once pressed.

While the seats are a little more heavily bolstered than are the items found in other Konas, even the wider-hipped among us – a category in which I include myself – will be perfectly comfortable. Back seat space, meanwhile, is about what you'd expect from a vehicle this size, which is to say that most will probably use it only for the kids, as it should be. That or for more storage, since the seatbacks can of course be folded down flat.

The 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster is modifiable and gets an additional "performance" style that has you feeling like you're looking at the gauges of one of those touring car racers. There's also a performance readout accessible from the main 10.25-inch display that provides data such as a G meter, lap time and your oil and coolant temps. That is quite the sight considering the crossover environs in which you're sitting.

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