Hyundai has taken wraps off the Kona N, the brand's first SUV to wear the N performance badge. For the uninitiated, Hyundai N is the Korean carmaker's performance arm, similar to Mercedes-AMG, BMW M and Audi RS divisions. The Hyundai Kona N is the fifth model from Hyundai to be graced with the sporty N-badge after the i20, i30, i30 Fastback and the Veloster hatchbacks. Hyundai plans to expand its N and N-Line range to 18 models by the end of 2022. Meanwhile, lets take a closer look at the Hyundai Kona N.
Hyundai Kona N - Engine Details
This being a performance oriented SUV, let's start with what's under the hood. The Hyundai Kona N is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that produces 280hp and 392Nm. The engine comes mated to an 8-speed wet dual-clutch automatic gearbox with power being sent to the front wheels only. The Kona N can sprint from 0-100 kph in just 5.5 seconds and flat out, it will go on to hit a top-speed of 240kph.
The 8-speed DCT gearbox or N DCT as Hyundai likes to call it has a special trick up its sleeve. It features three modes - N Power Shift (NPS), N Grin Shift (NGS), and N Track Sense Shift (NTS). The first is engaged when the accelerator input exceeds 90% as it works to mitigate any loss of torque during upshifts and provide a smoother acceleration curve. The NGS mode provides 20 seconds bursts of additional performance by instantly shifting down to the appropriate gear. This mode can be used every 40 seconds. Lastly, the NTS mode is geared towards circuit driving, optimizing gearchanges based on driver behavior for quick lap times.
Hyundai Kona N - Other mechanical Updates
The Hyundai Kona N is underpinned by a stiffer body with extra body reinforcements that give it improved stability under hard cornering. It also comes with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential (eLSD) to ensure that power is sent to the wheels with maximum grip. The 19-inch forged alloy wheels are wrapped in bespoke Pirelli P Zero performance tires and the brakes at the front and rear have been uprated significantly as well.
The Kona N features five driving modes -- Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom. These modes alter various parameters of the car which includes the electrically assisted steering and electronically adjustable suspension. Last but not the least, the variable exhaust system ensures you are accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack all along. The Hyundai Kona N weighs 1,510kg.
Hyundai Kona N - Exterior Design
On the outside, the Kona N gets its own unique identity, thanks to the prominent aero package. While its still identifiable as a Kona, the N-badged variant comes with sportier looking face. It gets a completely new bumper design with the Hyundai logo positioned within the grille. Unlike the standard Kona, which comes with blacked-out bumpers, the Kona N features body-colored bumpers with sharp air dams on either sides and a central air dam, which Hyundai says is inspired by an aeronautic fuselage, aiding cooling.
The Kona N gets wider tracks with the wheels pushed to their outer limits, creating a muscular stance. The blacked-out fenders on the standard Kona come painted in body color here in the Kona N. At the rear, the Kona N distinguishes itself with large exhausts along with the diffuser-like detailing with faux vents adding to the sporty appeal. It also gets lip spoiler, side skirts and rear spoiler to further enhance its sporty character.
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Hyundai Kona N - Interior and Features
There aren't as many changes inside the cabin as there are on the outside. The design is mostly similar to the standard Kona, although it gets some sportier touches. For instance, the head-up display, infotainment system, and digital driver’s display boast of racier graphics. When in N or Sport mode, the infotainment screen displays displays information such as lap times, circuit maps and other performance related stats in a video game-style format.
The steering wheel is particular to the N model and features two customizable N buttons. The cabin has also been dotted with several alcantara inserts and it also gets new sport seats. The gear shift lever, hand brake, door scuff, and seats feature N logos on them. All Kona N models also get launch control, the multimode gearbox and variable exhaust valves as standard.
Hyundai Kona N - India Launch?
Hyundai is unlikely to bring the Kona N to India. However, Hyundai will debut their N performance arm in India with the Hyundai i20 N Line. It is expected to launch later this year, although it is more show than performance. Hyundai is also considering bringing the full-blown i20 N hot hatchback to India. We hope we are graced with more N models, such as the Kona N, in the years to come.