Skip advert
Advertisement

Hyundai Kona N arrives to take on Ford’s Puma ST

Hyundai has unveiled its hot Kona N, a new hot compact SUV with 276bhp

The Hyundai Kona N has finally been revealed in full, joining the superb i20 N and updated i30 N as the performance division’s fifth model. Local pricing is yet to be announced, but order books are scheduled to open this summer ahead of first deliveries later this year.

The new Kona N is powered by the same turbocharged 2-litre ‘Theta’ four-cylinder you’ll find in the updated i30 N hatchback, producing an identical 276bhp and 289lb ft of torque. Power is sent through Hyundai’s new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission to the front wheels, forgoing the standard Kona’s optional all-wheel drive system available in some markets.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Controversially, a manual transmission won’t be available at launch, with Hyundai justifying the choice due to both positive customer feedback on the automatic and the boost in performance it provides.

> Ford Puma ST 2021 review – an icon rebooted

Despite the identical power output to the i30 N DCT, the Kona N’s 5.5sec 0-62mph time is actually four tenths quicker, with top speed 6mph slower at 149mph. Positioned between the Puma ST and Volkswagen T-Roc R, the less potent Ford takes a further 1.2sec to reach 62mph at 6.7sec, with the all-wheel drive Volkswagen doing the sprint in just 4.8sec.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Under the clad wheel arches you’ll find similar changes to its kinematics as in the i30 N, with the same quick-ratio steering, eLSD and active dampers fitted, recalibrated to suit the Kona’s higher centre of gravity and 100-odd kg increase in weight. The Kona N also has a wider track and more rigid structure than the standard Kona, each helping to increase high-speed stability and reduce body roll.

Design is derived from the Kona N-Line, with front and rear fascias redesigned with more aggressive openings that also improve cooling. New to the full-fat N, though, is a fresh rear diffuser insert, housing those trademark N twin exhaust pipes, plenty of red accents, a twin-level rear spoiler, rally-inspired triangular rear brake light, and an enlarged front splitter. 

It also features the same 19-inch forged aluminum wheels as on the new i30 N, sat proud of a set of uprated brakes with cooling ducts either side of the front bumper. Also new to the Kona N is Sonic Blue paint, with the trademark Performance blue also on the options list alongside a third N-specific shade.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Inside, buyers are treated to the same 10.25-inch digital dashboard and infotainment display you receive in high-spec variants of the standard Kona, but there are a fair few N-specific tweaks. These include blue contrast stitching throughout the cabin and Alcantara trim on N sports seats. Hyundai has also fitted its bespoke N steering wheel, fitted with customisable N buttons for the Kona N’s driving modes, including the awkwardly named ‘N grin shift’ function, which provides a 10bhp boost for 20 seconds at a time.

Hyundai has given its engine note attention in the Kona N with the use of a standard valved exhaust system, albeit still augmented by noise pumped into the cabin via the speakers. There’s also been a new level of configuratiability unlocked by the use of the dual-clutch transmission. One such new feature is something called ‘N power shift’, a feature that provides aggressive shifts during hard acceleration and a partial throttle cut for a crack on upshifts.

During the launch, the performance division also outlined its interest in sustainable power with its track-only RM20e acting as a test bed for both battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology. Hyundai Executive Vice President, Thomas Schemera, said: 'The future will be electric, maybe even hydrogen-powered, or even a combination of both, but N brand will always be focused on delivering driving fun — no matter what technology is under the hood.'

Pricing for the Kona N is still yet to be confirmed by Hyundai UK, but it will sit between the Ford Puma ST and – suggesting a price of around the £35,000 mark. Order books open this summer.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

New EU tyre rules could save motorists £6 billion in new tyres
Tyres
News

New EU tyre rules could save motorists £6 billion in new tyres

400 million tyres per year are replaced before reaching the legal limit for tread depth, but new EU regulations will make tyres safer right down to 1.…
17 Jul 2024
The Porsche Panamera now has more power than a McLaren 750S
Porsche Panamera – front
News

The Porsche Panamera now has more power than a McLaren 750S

New GTS and Turbo S E-Hybrid models have been added to the Panamera range, the latter offering a staggering 771bhp from an electrified twin-turbo V8
18 Jul 2024
Theon Design GBR003 2024 review – a Porsche 911 Targa with GT3 performance
Theon Design GBR003
Reviews

Theon Design GBR003 2024 review – a Porsche 911 Targa with GT3 performance

For its third UK commission, the Oxfordshire-based Porsche restorer and enhancer has turned its attention to a Targa, and the result is out of this wo…
19 Jul 2024