2021 Hyundai Kona N revealed

It mightn't have all-wheel drive but the 2021 Hyundai Kona N mates crossover styling with the i30 N's drivetrain and a limited-slip differential.

Previous News
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee price and specs
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee price and specs
William Stopford
William Stopford

Hyundai’s N performance sub-brand has its first SUV: the 2021 Hyundai Kona N.

This isn’t some hulking off-roader, mind you, and the Kona N doesn’t even feature all-wheel drive.

Hyundai has confirmed its high-riding Kona N SUV is on track to touch down in Australia during the third quarter of 2021, at which point it’ll join the facelifted i30 N hot hatch.

It’ll be available exclusively with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 206kW of power and 392Nm of torque, mated to Hyundai’s new eight-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Hyundai claims a 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds, 0.4 seconds quicker than the updated i30 N hatchback when equipped with a manual transmission.

Kerb weight is 1510kg, compared to 1395-1504kg for the Kona N Line.

Pressing the N Grin Shift button adds an extra 7kW of power for 20 seconds, and you can then use the feature again after 40 seconds.

Other features include launch control, a variable exhaust, and an electronic limited-slip differential to control torque distribution to the front wheels.

Hyundai calls the Kona N’s drive mode selector its N Grin Control System. It allows you to choose between Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom modes, which adjust the engine, stability control, steering and exhaust sound.

There have been various enhancements made to the Kona’s structure in its transformation to an N model, including a reinforced and more rigid structure and extra welding points.

It rides on 19-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels behind which sit larger, high-performance brakes.

The Kona N’s exterior otherwise bears a close resemblance to that of the Kona N Line, with its body-coloured fenders, wide front air intake and the three slots above the grille.

The N features unique red accents and a triangular high-mounted rear stop light, and also debuts a new, N-exclusive Sonic Blue exterior colour.

Inside, there are accents finished in the N-signature Performance Blue, plus two configurable N buttons on the steering wheel to which functions like the lap timer or drive mode selector can be assigned.

There’s a 10-inch digital instrument cluster which Hyundai says adds a “game-like” dimension when you’re driving in N or Sport modes, and can also display your lap time and track maps.

Standard safety equipment includes the following:

  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Lane-following assist
  • Automatic high-beam
  • Blind-spot assist
  • Rear cross-traffic assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Safe exit warning
  • Driver attention monitoring

As the Kona N borrows the updated i30 N’s drivetrain, this means the Kona model range starts with front-wheel drive models, atop which sit all-wheel drive, turbocharged N Line models and above them the more powerful but front-wheel drive N.

In developing the Kona N and eschewing all-wheel drive, Hyundai R&D chief Albert Biermann says, “It was not about lap time or just pure cornering speed, it was all about feel, response, the way the Kona N talks to you as a driver”.

“I tested the Kona N in Sweden and I have to say it’s a real winter beast with winter tyres on it, and we tuned the e-LSD in a way that even in winter driving, we even have a deep snow mode.

“Why carry the all-wheel drive system around all year long, why add all the cost… Our N story is also to be the best in fun per dollar.”

Hyundai is expanding its range of N and N Line vehicles to 18 models through 2022.

Coming this year are the updated i30 N hatch and the new i30 N Sedan.

Hyundai has poured cold water on the likes of a large N-fettled SUV, though it confirmed it’s discussing a Tucson N and is gauging public reaction to the Kona N before beginning development.

The Kona N will essentially have no direct rivals in Australia, at least not until the Volkswagen T-Roc R arrives.

Expected to launch locally in 2022, the all-wheel drive T-Roc R uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine making 221kW of power and 400Nm of torque

MORE: Hyundai Kona news, reviews, comparisons and videos

Link copied!
William Stopford
William Stopford
William Stopford is a Journalist at CarExpert.
Learn about CarExpert or contact CarExpert.
Next News
2021 Audi Q3 and RSQ3 price and specs
2021 Audi Q3 and RSQ3 price and specs

Also on CarExpert

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 price and specs
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 price and specs