New Hyundai Kona N SUV gets £35,395 price tag

2021 Hyundai Kona N SUV has 276bhp and is a rival to the VW T-Roc R

  • New Hyundai Kona N has a 276bhp 2.0-litre engine
  • Eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard
  • On sale now starting from £35,395

The new Hyundai Kona N is available to order now with a starting price of £35,395. The latest addition to Hyundai’s ‘N’ performance range is a hot SUV with 276bhp.

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The Kona N joins the existing i30 N and i20 N models and gets ‘N’-specific styling features, including a more aggressive body kit. It's powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine, with its 276bhp going to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Rivals includes the Volkswagen T-Roc R, BMW X2 M35i and the Audi SQ2.

Engine, chassis and performance

Hyundai has confirmed that the Kona N will only be available with an eight-speed dual clutch (DCT) automatic gearbox and front-wheel drive. A manual will not be offered.

The car has a 2.0-litre petrol engine that produces 276bhp, with power going to the front wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. A trio of bespoke driving modes feature, with an ‘N Power Shift’ setting automatically engaging when over 90% throttle is used. When this setting is used with launch control, the Kona N can sprint from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds. Top speed is 149mph.

A ‘N Grin Shift’ mode maximises the performance of the engine and gearbox for 20 seconds. After use, drivers will have to wait 40 seconds before they can use it again. The ‘N Track Sense Shift’ setting is intended for use on a racetrack and optimises gear changes for the quickest lap times.

The front axle features a limited slip differential that distributes power between the front wheels for improved grip and traction off the line. Hyundai calls it the ‘N Corner Carving Differential’ and says it makes the car more agile and fun to drive. Other changes over the regular Kona include a stiffer bodyshell, a slightly wider track and a sports exhaust.

While efficiency won’t be a top priority for most owners, the Kona can officially manage up to 33.2mpg with emissions of 194g/km.

Interior, technology and specifications

The interior of the Kona N is nearly identical to the regular car but has several sporty touches. Up front, there’s a pair of half-leather sports seats embossed with ‘N’ logos. Blue stitching features throughout and the steering wheel gets a pair of blue ‘N’ mode buttons, along with gearshift paddles. Aluminium pedals are fitted along with an ‘N’ embossed gear lever with blue detailing.

A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster features alongside a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, and there’s also a head-up display that adds a gaming styling experience to the read out when in N or Sport driving modes. Sat nav, Bluetooth with voice recognition, wireless charging, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also fitted.

As the flagship model of the Kona range, the sporty N model piles on the standard interior equipment, with climate control, a heated steering wheel, electrically adjustable front seats with both heating and ventilation, heated outer rear seats and suede and leather upholstery all coming as standard.

Other features include interior ambient lighting, keyless entry and start and a KRELL premium stereo system. Rear privacy glass, electrically adjustable door mirrors with folding function and automatic windscreen wipers are also standard fit.

Standard safety technology includes lane following assist, which automatically keeps the car in the centre of the lane while driving, collision avoidance alert, driver attention warning, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, blindspot warning and safe exit warning, which is used to help the driver at junctions. Front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and parking guidance system are also standard.

Design

The Kona N features more aggressive styling than the standard model, indicating its performance credentials. Buyers can also choose from seven paint colours, including a new Sonic Blue paint finish, which is a slightly lighter shade than the Performance Blue used on the i20 N and i30 N.

The nose of the car has a model-specific hexagonal grille finished in black. This hexagonal pattern continues with the large front air intake and side air intakes. A more muscular front bumper design also features, alongside a front splitter with red detailing. Split-level LED headlights and daytime running lights also feature, and are taken from the regular Kona N Line model.

The car’s side profile gets several specific ‘N’ design touches, such as the embossed ‘N’ logos on the side skirts, which also feature black contrasting trim and red detailing. Lightweight forged 19-inch alloy wheels are fitted, helping to give the car a wide stance. Upgraded brakes also feature, along with red painted calipers.

At the rear, the Kona N gets a vented rear spoiler and a triangular third brake light, with a red striped rear diffuser housing a pair of large exhaust pipes.

What does it mean for car buyers?

The arrival of the Kona N shows that the performance car is still very important to Hyundai, despite an industry-wide move towards electrified models. While the new car may be less powerful and slightly less desirable than rivals made by the VW Group, it has the potential to be as, if not more, fun to drive, while costing significantly less to buy than those cars.

For more on Hyundai's 'N' performance models, read our i20 N and i30 N reviews here. 

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