I am critical. This bizarre little SUV is without doubt one of the greatest autos I’ve ever pushed, taking every little thing good in regards to the Veloster N and making use of it to an total nicer bundle. It shares its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-Four engine with Hyundai’s different N automobiles, placing out 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. That is a rise of 29 lb-ft, and the Kona’s peak torque comes on a bit later. Hyundai’s eight-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission is the one choice for the Kona N, which is ok by me because the Veloster N’s commonplace six-speed guide kinda sucks. The DCT is clean in operation however fires off fast, satisfying shifts.
Round city, the Kona N is an absolute blast. The noise from its big twin exhaust suggestions is a bit quieter than the Veloster’s, producing fewer pops and bangs on overrun, however the Kona N is delinquent in its sportiest drive modes. You’ll be able to hear the turbocharger higher than within the Veloster, too. Regardless of technically being an SUV the Kona N is not provided with all-wheel drive, and truthfully that might make the automobile heavier and worse. With launch management engaged Hyundai says the Kona N will hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, which is totally absurd: That is as fast as a base Porsche Taycan. Even with launch management engaged the Kona N hilariously scrambles for traction, however an digital limited-slip differential helps distribute torque between the entrance wheels to maximise grip.
I barely bothered to check out the Kona’s Eco or Regular drive modes, opting to have the powertrain in its most aggressive setting just about on a regular basis for optimum hilarity. Although I’ll notice that, in a single freeway stint in Eco, I crested 31 mpg, besting the Environmental Safety Company’s freeway score by Four mpg.
Its 19-inch wheels with Pirelli P Zero summer time tires are commonplace fitment, and the Kona N’s 235/40-size rubber has barely extra sidewall than the Veloster’s 235/35 tires. The Kona N’s experience is stiff as hell even with the adaptive dampers within the softest setting, and its shorter wheelbase makes it a bit extra unsettled over unhealthy surfaces than the Veloster, however it’s not unbearably tough. The 14.2-inch entrance and 12.4-inch rear brakes are 2.2 and 1.2 inches bigger than a traditional Kona’s, respectively, and the N additionally has ventilated rear discs. After an hour of exhausting driving there is not any fade or squeaking from the brakes, and it is received a bodily hand brake, a rarity nowadays and important for those who take pleasure in drifting your scorching hatchbacks round parking tons.
Love that rear spoiler.
Even when cornering flippantly the Kona N will kick its inside rear tire into the air like a pet peeing on a tree, and it is susceptible to controllable lift-off oversteer. There is a little bit of preliminary understeer and loads of torque steer beneath acceleration, and the Kona has extra physique roll and dive beneath braking than the Veloster. That would not usually be a optimistic, however it all provides to the Kona’s enhanced sense of pleasure and driver involvement. As a substitute of going after excellent dynamics, the Kona N is all about being in tune with what the automobile is doing, with the extra distinguished physique movement including to the expertise. It is the identical cause we love the Mazda Miata a lot.
The Kona N’s digital energy steering is phenomenal, heavy and direct with sharp turn-in and nearly no useless zone, delivering much better suggestions than any new BMW M automobile. (Ex-BMW M boss Albert Biermann’s affect as the top of Hyundai’s R&D division is straight away obvious.) It helps that the perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel is nice, with a thick rim, steel shift paddles, two massive drive mode buttons and a satisfying pink button for the N Grin Shift operate, which is actually an overboost mode.
The Kona’s inside is nicer than the Veloster’s, and extra sensible too.
Whereas it is clearly based mostly on an affordable automobile, with numerous exhausting plastics all through, the Kona N’s inside is nicer than the Veloster’s. The Kona N has a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster with configurable efficiency pages and superior graphics, whereas the Veloster makes do with bodily gauges which have a tiny 4.2-inch show within the middle. The Kona’s 10.3-inch middle touchscreen is significantly better than the Veloster’s 8-inch display, too, and makes use of Hyundai’s newest infotainment system, which additionally has cool efficiency knowledge pages which can be simpler than the Veloster’s. Navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SiriusXM are all commonplace, and the Kona N’s eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is superior.
Hyundai fitted the Kona N with properly bolstered, suede-trimmed bucket seats that sadly lack the illuminated N emblem, however not like the Veloster, the Kona’s driver’s chair is energy adjustable. The extra upright driving place will not be for everybody, however I feel it provides to the visceral enjoyment and jogs my memory of the plucky Fiat 500 Abarth. The Kona is extra sensible than the Veloster, too: Rear-seat passengers have extra headroom, legroom and shoulder room. With the rear seats folded the Kona has extra hauling area than the Veloster, and the form of its cargo space is extra usable.
These are the proper settings.
One oddity is that the Kona N would not include adaptive cruise management, and it is not an choice regardless of its availability on different Konas — blame the N’s massive, open entrance grilles. The Kona N additionally would not get parking sensors or a 360-degree digital camera system, which is a disgrace. Blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping and lane-centering help, computerized excessive beams, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert and a rear occupant alert are all included. You additionally get heated entrance seats, a wi-fi machine charger, computerized local weather management, auto up/down entrance home windows, keyless entry and pushbutton begin.
Like Hyundai’s different N automobiles, the Kona N is available in only a single configuration with out choices or trim packages. There are solely 4 accessible colours, with my check automobile’s Sonic Blue being essentially the most fascinating. Together with a $1,245 vacation spot cost the Kona N prices $35,445, solely $400 greater than an computerized Veloster N. The Kona N can be $2,020 cheaper than an computerized, mid-range Volkswagen GTI, which is not as nicely geared up and is not almost as thrilling to drive. Better of all, Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000-mile guarantee is not voided by observe use. Hell yeah.
The Hyundai Kona N is foolish and ridiculous. It would not make sense on paper, but it is one way or the other sensible and justifiable. It transcends what you anticipate from it, making each journey an entertaining and thrilling one. I’ve had extra enjoyable on this front-wheel-drive crossover than any sports activities automobile or supercar I’ve had the pleasure of driving, with even grocery runs sending me right into a match of giggles. The Kona N is, in a phrase, chic.
Each drive is spectacular when you’ve a Kona N.