Hyundai spent the first few months of 2021 teasing its newest Kona N high-performance crossover. The beans were recently spilled on the 2022 Hyundai Kona N, and it’s everything we hoped for in a small, fast, and relatively affordable SUV. Hyundai’s N Line reminds me of the early days of BMW’s M and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG divisions, except for one thing: Hyundai N models (including the new Kona N) won’t cost an arm and a leg to enjoy the fun.
“Kona N is a true hot SUV with the performance level of a hot hatch,” said Albert Biermann, President and Head of R&D Division at Hyundai Motor Group. Biermann happens to be the former head of BMW’s M Division (surprise, surprise!) and is responsible for the magnificent E46 M3 (2000 to 2006) and E39 M5 (1998 to 2003).
Setting The Stage
So yeah, the man knows a thing or two about making ordinary cars perform like track monsters on the street. “Kona N can carve corners on the racetrack and bring excitement to everyday driving,” Biermann added. “As an N model, it goes beyond the limits of an ordinary SUV, and it breaks the rule that SUVs are less fun to drive.”
As expected, the Kona N has inherited the bespoke hardware from Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatch. It includes the raucous 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and Hyundai’s in-house developed eight-speed wet dual-clutch transmission.
2022 Hyundai Kona N: Turbocharged Power
The Hyundai Kona N has a turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injected four-cylinder pumping out 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft. of torque. The motor drives the front wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with a wet clutch pack and an electronic limited-slip differential. We can nerd all day about this gearbox, but all you need to know is it has two electric oil pumps to ensure maximum pull from the get-go.
There’s more. If the system activates N Grin Shift mode (which we’ll talk about in a second), the engine summons 10 more horses to raise the output to 286 horsepower for 20 seconds. The only crossover in the same category that’s faster than Kona N is the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35, which goes from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds with its 302-horsepower AMG-enhanced turbo four.
But the AMG GLB 35 is a Mercedes, so it costs upwards of 50 grand, and you won’t pay that kind of money for the new Kona N.
How Quick Is The 2022 Hyundai Kona N?
It’s not crazy fast, but it’s enough to make sports car owners take notice. Hyundai says the Kona N accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds using launch control. The top speed is electronically limited to 150 mph.
What Is N Grin Shift mode?
Hyundai’s N Grin Shift mode maximizes transmission response for 20 seconds while further boosting the engine to produce 296 horsepower. You can activate N Grin Shift Mode by pressing that glowing red button on the steering wheel.
As you can imagine, N Grin Shift is ideal for passing slower vehicles on a hilly incline – or racing from one stoplight to the next, but you didn’t hear that from us. After 20 seconds of boost, the system needs 40 seconds to recoup before the fun starts again.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona N also has N Power Shift (NPS) and N Track Sense (NTS) like Veloster N. The former automatically engages by applying 90 percent throttle pressure and mitigates torque reduction when upshifting. Meanwhile, the latter automatically optimizes gear shifts on the race track by analyzing motorsports data and your driving style.
Dressed To Impress
The 2022 Hyundai Kona N has body-colored fenders, 19-inch wheels, a front lip spoiler, side skirts, red pinstriping, and a double-wing roof spoiler as telltale signs of its sporting inhibitions. It also has a more comprehensive lower air intake in the front bumper for better engine cooling. Exclusive to the new Hyundai Kona N is a Sonic Blue paint job, a unique spin on the Veloster N’s Performance Blue paint.
Inside, Kona N has N-Specific goodies like a bespoke steering wheel, shift knob, pedals, and blue accents. Standard equipment includes a digital instrument cluster, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, a racing-inspired heads-up display, and five driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and Custom).
The 2022 Hyundai Kona N has a comprehensive array of driver assistance and advanced safety features. It has traction control, forward collision-avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, lane following assist, driver attention warning, high-beam assist, smart cruise control, and blind-spot collision avoidance assist, to name a few.
Hyundai Kona N Warranty
Hyundai has yet to declare the specific warranty details for its newest Kona N crossover. If Hyundai sticks to its proven formula, we’re expecting Kona N to have a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and three years or 36,000-miles worth of complimentary maintenance. If you have questions on how to extend your Hyundai warranty, our all-inclusive guide will show you the works.
2022 Hyundai Kona N: Pricing & Availability
The 2022 Kona N starts at $36,650 (that figure includes the $1,225 destination charge). This free and easy search tool* will show you which Hyundai dealerships near you offer the best deals and lowest price for the Kona N. That tool will also help you obtain the invoice price, which is a good starting point for negotiations.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.
Hyundai Kona N Gallery
Photos & Source: Hyundai Motor America.
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