As I take into consideration the electrification of automobiles being a actuality, it’s onerous to say goodbye to automobiles just like the one I get to play with this week – a performance-oriented variation of the Hyundai Kona, the Kona N. Even although the Kona N isn’t precisely exotic-car-fast, it’s a slightly enjoyable and thrilling automobile showcasing what manufactures can simply do with small, turbocharged engines wrapped up in a compact light-weight package deal.
The Hyundai Kona has been a welcomed subcompact crossover since its introduction in 2018 and over the previous couple of years, it has acquired extra trims for a sportier enchantment, and lately a brand new Kona N mannequin that injects the model’s “N” efficiency attributes. In attending to expertise the Kona N this week I can attest to these efficiency attributes making use of to many of the automobile, together with the inside, dealing with, appears, and energy with a novel smile-inducing characteristic – extra on that later.
Performance and Driving Character
It’s onerous to position the brand new Hyundai Kona N because it touts the identical subcompact type of the opposite Kona trims however has a slightly potent engine for its class to the tune of 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine powering the entrance wheels solely. The engine will get mated to an 8-speed DCT (dual-clutch transmission) that fires off snappy shifts and will be slightly aggressive using the correct drive setting. With such a powertrain, the Kona N will get positioned in a small basket to compete with automobiles just like the Mercedes-AMG GLA35, Mini Countryman John Cooper Works All4, or BMW X2 M35i. Outside of these smallish crossovers, the competitors may technically increase to automobiles just like the Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf GTI and even the VW Golf R if you happen to overlook the SUV-ness of the Kona N.
The efficiency traits of the Kona N are fairly distinctive in that there are a number of strategies of configuring the automobile. There’s an fascinating and devoted N mode that opens up two customization modes outdoors of a preset N drive mode accessed by way of one among two steering wheel N buttons. The default N mode appears to arrange the automobile to extract probably the most out of the powertrain with out disabling stability and traction management. The two Custom N modes mean you can dial-up particular person facets of how the adaptive dampers are set, steering wheel effort, engine response, transmission aggressiveness and shift patterns, digital limited-slip differential setting, stability/traction management setting, and exhaust sound setting. It’s slightly shocking to see Hyundai structure so many customization choices for the Kona N, which is considerably regarded as a taller Veloster N utilizing an identical powertrain setup.
Dialing up the N modes, that are separate from the standard Sport drive mode enacted by a flip knob subsequent to the shifter, is an entire new expertise and additional defines the a number of personalities of the Kona N. Think of it as a Jekyll and Hyde expertise that adjustments its demeanor on the press of a button. To take issues to the stratosphere, the Kona N has one other trick up its drive-mode sleeve with the distinctive N Grin Shift (NGS) mode that’s enacted by urgent a purple button on the steering wheel. Yes, that’s actually the identify of it! The NGS mode is sweet for about 20 seconds the place it allows an over-boost operate so as to add 10 horsepower (whole of 286 HP) and aggressively shifts the DCT 8-speed transmission on the highest doable RPM of the engine. Here the Kona N seems like you’ve gotten a DRS (Drag Reduction System) mode however after using the total 20 seconds of “grinning” you could wait some time for the engine to get well earlier than attempting it once more. There’s additionally a launch mode that does a neat slipping of the automated moist friction clutch to restrict entrance wheel spin however does nicely to get the Kona N as much as 60 mph in about 4.9 seconds.
The Kona N feels prefer it’s on rails – pushing the bounds of a tall-statured little crossover. The brakes are sturdy with bigger 14.2-inch rotors up entrance and 12.4-inch rears over different Kona trims each clamped down by single-piston calipers.
I discovered myself typically laughing a bit on the Kona N from its teeth-shattering stiff suspension when set in any mode other than the softest setting (which isn’t very gentle to start with), to the exhaust burbles and pops, and even the sound of the turbocharger and consumption manifold sounding like a flowery Dyson vacuum. Hyundai engineers absolutely needed to snort a bit of once they packed within the many options of the Kona N. However, it’s good to expertise such a automobile in understanding a model nonetheless can have a bit of enjoyable and humor of their automobiles presumably as a final hurrah for gas-burning engines.
Overall, the Kona N seems like a pocket rocket however typically doesn’t ship constant energy, which I considerably attribute to the 100-degree warmth right here in Florida throughout my time with the pocket rocket. The Kona N is extra of a enjoyable machine for many who might have wished the Veloster N however wanted the additional area out again accessible by actual doorways and a taller cargo hatch. It’s an actual hoot to drive, belief me!
Exterior and Interior
To set the Kona N other than the remainder of the Kona line there’s so much to digest outdoors of the efficiency facets. For one, the Kona N sports activities 19-inch wheels with summer season efficiency tires, massive twin exhaust ideas, distinctive physique cladding, purple exterior accents, and purple brake calipers. Inside, there are a few objects that set it aside principally surrounding the extremely bolstered entrance heated seats which have leather-based trim and suede inserts to assist grip your physique.
The Kona N comes properly filled with options reaching the extent of the Kona Limited trim, which incorporates the highlights of a ten.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, single-zone automated local weather management, energy driver’s seat with energy lumbar assist, 8-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, wi-fi smartphone charger, and a ten.25-inch digital gauge cluster that options a further N mode show citing a novel efficiency show of car info.
The Kona N nonetheless will get first rate gasoline milage if you happen to make the most of the Eco drive mode and by no means use the Grin-inducing N drive modes. The mileage is barely down from the opposite Kona trims the place you’ll be able to muster out the EPA estimates in the actual world of 20 mpg metropolis, 27 mpg freeway, and 23 mpg mixed.
Just just like the Hyundai Kona Limited, the Kona N will get the total array of energetic security options (ahead collision avoidance help w/warning, lane-keeping help, lane following help, driver consideration warning, blind-spot displays/collision avoidance help, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance help, protected exit warning) however will be totally disabled on the fly by citing Customized N drive modes.
Where Hyundai actually nails it, other than having a slightly distinctive small crossover within the Kona N, is the value the place there aren’t any choices so as to add on – all the things is included. At the top of the day, you’ll be able to have all this “grinning” enjoyable for $35,495, which is a discount for one thing that’s as enjoyable as this distinctive subcompact crossover pocket rocket.