Kona N the barbarian: hot Hyundai SUV has 276bhp

Published: 27 April 2021

► New Hyundai Kona N SUV revealed
► 276bhp, auto-only, front-wheel drive
► Loads of performance tech, too

Hyundai’s N range is growing at quite a pace. Not long after the i20 supermini got the treatment, the brand’s first hot SUV has arrived: the Kona N.

The new Kona N SUV uses a lot of the same engineering as the already-great i30 N, but it introduces some more performance technology, too.

Hyundai N: performance specs

Let’s start with the basics. There’s a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder under the bonnet, sending 276bhp to the front wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. You can’t have a manual, sorry.

All of that shove makes the Kona N rather sprightly, with Hyundai claiming a 5.5-second 0-62mph launch time (if you use launch control) and a top speed of 149mph.

kona n interior

We’ve driven a prototype of the Hyundai Kona N

Every Kona N uses specially-developed Pirelli P Zero tyres, forged 19-inch wheels, adaptive dampers and an electronic limited-slip differential as standard. Just like the i20 N and i30 N, there’s an N Mode with a Custom setting for maximum attack driving. But Hyundai has also crammed in some eyebrow-raising performance technology, too.

What other performance tech are we talking about?

It mainly centres around that eight-speed dual-clutch auto. First, there’s N Power Shift where, if you floor it, the traction systems go hyperactive and ensure no torque is lost due to wheel slip.

There’s also a dedicated button on the steering wheel for something called – sigh – N Grin Shift. It’s essentially the same as Porsche’s Sport Response button, maximising engine and gearbox performance for a 20-second burst of fury.

kona n cornering

One more thing: N Track Sense Shift. The Kona N recognises when you’re on a race track, taking braking and cornering into account to select the right gear for you.

On top of that, the Kona N has a bespoke set of graphics, when N mode is active, for the digital instruments and there’s a screen on the infotainment for showing you the key performance metrics if you’re hooning it on a track.

Kona N models will go on sale in Europe in the summer of 2021.

Read our Hyundai reviews here

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches