Hyundai Kona SUV to get high performance N variant soon

Marco Green
January 13, 2021

This model will be the first high-performance SUV crossover for Hyundai. Also unconfirmed is whether the Kona N will be FWD or AWD, though perhaps clues to its AWD underpinnings lie in the decision to offer AWD only and in the teaser, where we see the Kona N being driven hard on a dirt track, and further in the way it squats under acceleration, as well as the way the car's attitude on corner entry.

Hyundai is getting ready to add yet another member to its performance auto portfolio by introducing the very first crossover to carry the "N" letter.

If Hyundai manages to pair this N powertrain with all-wheel-drive, launches from a dead stop will be very entertaining, indeed.

There's not a whole lot we can discern from photos from the prototype, except that it'll pack large wheels rolling in Pirelli performance rubber. There should be a combination of black and red accents littered around the exterior of the auto, plus red N brake calipers, 19- or 20-inch wheels, and two massive exhaust tips.

Dual exhaust pipes do poke through the Kona N's wrapping while the silhouette hints at a new rear spoiler trailing the top-deck, sporting two channels. Meanwhile, Hyundai also promises "an emotional sound experience". Till Wartenberg, vice president and head of N brand management, admitted that the new model "will have plenty of versatility as well as the driving pleasure like any other N vehicle", pointing to the obvious added practical benefits of a crossover platform. But he affirmed that "enthusiasts will enjoy taking this auto anywhere; from road to the track" - something the near permanent presence of test cars at the 'ring through 2020 would testify to. The best-case scenario would be for Hyundai to borrow the 2.0-liter T-GDi from the i30 N with the Performance Package, an engine that cranks out 276 horsepower (280 PS) and 289 pound-feet (392 Nm) for the 2021 model year.

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