When I tested the Hyundai Veloster N a year or so back it was instantly one of my favorite cars to drive. This time Hyundai gave me the keys to the 2022 Hyundai Kona N to see what the bigger brother is all about. Here are the best and worst features of the Kona N.
PRO: Addicting Exhaust Note
Waking the Kona N’s exhaust up in the N drive modes will leave you giggling all day long. Only an actual Kona N owner can comment if long term it might get to be a bit much, but in my week drive with the vehicle I purposefully kept it in the 3000-4000 RPM range to enjoy the symphony of gargles and pops even more.
PRO: N Mode
There is a very welcome theater experience with the N models coming from Hyundai. It continues with the Kona N – you know you are in something unique and performance-oriented. Special N buttons on the steering wheel, the NGS (N Grin Shift) button, and the N Mode performance screen all adds to the experience.
PRO: Engine Performance
The Hyundai Kona N’s engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that kicks out 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque. That power helps propel the Kona N to 0 to 60 in a smidge over 5 seconds and the only thing that holds the powertrain back is its power is sent exclusively to the front wheels.
PRO: DCT Transmission
Enthusiasts may harp over no manual transmission option being available for the Kona N, but you get a performance-oriented transmission in its place. So many people think they have a dual-clutch transmission simply because they have paddles behind the steering wheel, but in the Kona N you truly get a DCT.
It was a pleasure to control the vehicle with and above all lets you get those gargles and pops to present themselves with a flick of the finger.
CON: No All-Wheel-Drive Option
Cars like the Veloster N, Kona N, and some of their competitors are going for the hot hatch experience, but to put it more simply they are trying to become on-the-road rally cars. Without making a drivetrain jump to all-wheel-drive there is simply a wall in their way until they can achieve the best performance for the chassis.
CON: Not As Respected As the Veloster N
The Kona N’s smaller brother the Veloster N has made a name for itself as a well-respected performance hatchback, but the same has yet to be said for the Kona N.