Hyundai’s first N SUV is all but locked in for Australia.
The 2021 Kona N hasn’t been officially revealed, but CarExpert understands Hyundai’s high-riding cousin to the i30 N is likely to arrive in Australia during the second half of 2021.
Like the facelifted i30 N, the new Hyundai Kona N will be available with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Spy photographers report prototypes testing at the Nurburgring have the distinct sound of a quick-shifting DCT.
They haven’t, however, reported hearing manual prototypes. It’s not clear whether Hyundai will offer a choice between manual and dual-clutch transmissions in the Kona N.
Power in the Kona N is expected to come from the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine as the i30 N, making the same 206kW of power and 392Nm of torque as the range-topping N Performance hatch.
Although reports have suggested it could be all-wheel drive, the fact its powertrain is shared with the i30 N means it’s far more likely to be front-wheel drive and feature a clever electronic front differential.
Expect to see a sub-6.0-second run to 100km/h, based on the performance of the i30 N.
In the i30 N, the non-Performance Package car outputs 184kW and 353Nm. That engine won’t be available with the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission in the hatch, and it’s not clear whether it will be available in the Kona.
“We’ve made no secret of the fact that we want as many full-blown N’s as we can get our hands on, because Australia is a hugely performance-oriented market,” a Hyundai Australia spokesperson told CarExpert.
“If the car you have seen at the ‘Ring is a Kona N, all of our hands would be raised for Australia to get it and yes, you’d have to say it’d be unusual and disappointing if we didn’t get it.”
Rivals for the Kona N are thin on the ground, especially in Australia. Although the Volkswagen T-Roc R is available in Europe with a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine making 221kW of power and 400Nm of torque, it won’t be in Australia until 2022.
Ruled out for Australia is the Ford Puma ST, with its turbocharged three-cylinder engine making 147kW of power and 320Nm of torque.
The Kona N will form part of an N Performance onslaught for Australia. The updated i30 N hatchback will touch down early in 2021, followed by the Ford Fiesta ST-rivalling i20 N hatch.
Although the i30 Fastback N will be retired in Australia, the new i30 Sedan N will take its place in local showrooms. The Kona N rounds out the full-on N range, but aggressive-looking N Line versions of the Kona and Tucson SUVs are also on their way Down Under.