Car reviews - Hyundai - Kona - N
Hyundai’s oddball Kona SUV might be the N division’s best offering yet
2 Dec 2021
By MATT BROGAN
ODDBALL, quirky, frog-like, peculiar… Hyundai’s Kona small SUV has been called more names than the proverbial red-headed stepchild. However, until now, it hasn’t been called fast, or fun… and it certainly hasn’t been labelled the pick of the brand’s lauded N-product line-up.
Take a look at the spec sheet – or hussle the Kona N around the racetrack for half a day, like we did – and you’ll soon see why Hyundai’s newcomer is not only a bona fide high-riding hot hatch worthy of its N moniker, but arguably the best-suited N car yet for Australian roads (and tastes).
The Kona N is the first SUV model to emanate from Hyundai’s famed N-division. It shares much of its mechanical package with the sizzling i30 N, which should give you an indication that this isn’t just some tarted up shopping trolley with a sport badge and a set of chunkier wheels.
Indeed, the Kona N (available in two variants) combines an energetic 206kW turbocharged 2.0-litre four with an in-house-developed eight-speed dual wet-clutch transmission (DCT), which drives the front wheels via an e-LSD, to deliver “the ultimate in capability on road and circuit”.
Priced from $47,500 plus on-road costs, the Kona N maintains the flexible and practical SUV traits of the donor model. It’s equipped with numerous convenience, comfort and safety technologies, as well as a number of performance-orientated electronic chassis aids and in-cabin interfaces to assist drivers in maximising all that this sporty super-hatch has to offer.
Equipment includes a digital instrument panel and large central infotainment array with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, built-in satellite navigation and DAB+ digital radio reception.
The Kona N has cloth-trimmed sports seats, but the Premium derivative additionally features leather and suede combination pews. They’re teamed with a leather-appointed steering wheel, gearshift knob and handbrake cover with Performance Blue contrasting stitching throughout.
The Premium version also receives a head-up display, power adjustable seats, front-seat heating and ventilation, front parking sensors, LED interior ambient lighting, as well as a glass sunroof.
The Kona N is further equipped with a Qi wireless phone charging pad and eight-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, alongside an extensive list of Hyundai’s SmartSense driver assistance and safety technologies – plus full LED exterior lighting.
Forward collision-avoidance assist, driver attention monitoring, lane keeping and -following assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, tyre pressure monitoring, rear parking sensors, traffic-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, smart exit warning and a reversing camera are all standard.
The Kona N is equipped with Hyundai’s new Track Maps feature that automatically alerts drivers when they are near a mapped racetrack and starts a lap time as the start/finish line is crossed.
Wearing a unique body kit, an N-specific grille, blacked-out Hyundai logo and wing-mirror caps, plus a rear diffuser sporting an LED fog light and dual exhaust outlets, the Kona N is unlikely to be mistaken for a regular grocery-getting model… and with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds (making it the fastest accelerating N model to date) and a top-speed of 240km/h, the Kona N will make certain that the shopping is home well before the ice cream has melted.
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