When we first had the chance to sample the Veloster N, we fell in love with its simple mixture of performance, style, and value. However, we will admit that a spunky three-door hatchback is not the most practical choice in the world for many performance buyers. Hyundai understands this and has formally unveiled the 2022 Kona N, which aims to shock the system in the CUV market.
Taking Performance To The N’th Degree
To say that the Kona N is a disruptor in the segment will be a very massive understatement, with the Kona N perhaps being one of the only performance-focused CUVs in the U.S. market today. Hyundai claims that the Kona N exudes a distinctive character, and that’s readily apparent when you look at the exterior styling of this wild child CUV. While it does share some core elements with the standard model, the N brings some welcome touches to buyers with body-colored fenders, a bigger front lip spoiler, and new side skirts helping to add some spice to the Kona’s already athletic lines. The grille and front air intakes are bigger, and the hood line even gets three small vents. The Kona N also debuts an all-new Sonic Blue hue which will eventually trickle down to other N models.
The side profile leads the eye to the rear, where a large roof-mounted spoiler, a tweaked rear diffuser, and large exhaust tips signify that this Kona is ready to play at the track or on the road. This model also adopts a wider stance, and it has a look that helps it seem like it’s closer to the ground. Optional N exclusive 19-inch wheels are pushed far into the corners, and this further enhances the motif. Lastly, the Kona N has four traditional doors, so look for this little pocket rocket to be a very enviable member of the carpool lane when it comes time to pick up the children from school.
N Touches Spruce Up Kona N Interior
Like the Veloster N, the interior of the Kona N appears to be a business first interior with frills being relegated to the background. While this means that the cabin has a rather plasticky look to it, there are some welcome signs that this is;t your average Kona you’re looking at. The front seats are extensively bolstered with large side bolsters, helping to keep occupants in place during sharp cornering. The cabin is equipped with an all-new 10-inch infotainment screen with a digital instrument panel also standard. All N models feature a tweaked HUD system that projects additional information to the driver, and N reps claim that it brings a “video game-like experience” to buyers. Look for a large slice of standard equipment to make their respective appearances here, too, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and more.
Like the Veloster N, the Kona version features prominent blue-hued buttons on the steering wheel and even a large red button that activates the NGS (N Grin System.) Buyers in Europe get access to what N calls “N Road Sense,” which actually recommends drivers to turn on N mode when the CUV senses a double-curved road sign. There’s no word if that particular gimmick is coming to U.S.-bound models, but we will keep our collective fingers crossed on that one.
Four Cylinder Performance For Everyone!!!
Thankfully N engineers knew when not to mess with a good thing and have given the Kona N a very potent hand-me-down from the Veloster, with all models being powered by the same turbocharged 276 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s used in the Veloster. Hyundai confirmed that the Kona would come with N’s all-new eight-speed DCT transmission. Unlike the Veloster, no manual will be offered here (gotta love beancounters), but the company did confirm that the combination allows the Kona N to make the sprint to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds when it’s using Launch Control.
While the Kona N will have its unique slice of the market essentially to itself in the U.S., a much different story emerges in Europe. Over there, the fire-breathing Hyundai will have to compete with rivals such as the Puma ST and the T-Roc R. While both of these in their current form are not coming stateside, the Puma could eventually come to the U.S market partially due to Ford dealerships clamoring the company for a replacement to the slow-selling and under-equipped current generation EcoSport. In theory, it would retain the EcoSport name but bring a massive infusion of technology and refinement to Ford’s bargain-focused offering if it makes the trip over.
When Can I Buy A 2022 Kona N?
Hyundai did not reveal formal availability for the 2022 Kona N, but it’s safe to say that it could appear later this year or perhaps in early 2022. Buyers looking for Hyundai to make a Palisade N or a Santa Fe N next will not get their wish granted with the company squashing those rumors and saying that it intends to put a strong focus on more “eco-friendly products, i.e., Kona, Venue, etc.
N also revealed that it is working on an all-electric N badged model based on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform. This most likely hints at the fuel-sipping Ioniq 5 being drawn to the dark side, but we will have to wait for more information to emerge before formally confirming that. In the meantime, N’s N-Line series of models is already picking up some steam, with the Sonata N-Line beginning its march to dealer showrooms.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.