Monday, September 5, 2022




The Hyundai Kona has been around only a handful of years but even in that short time the South Korean automaker has made a couple of additions that make the Kona a compelling competitor in the subcompact SUV segment.

In 2019 Hyundai introduced an all-electric version that was based on the debut 2018 Kona. It offered a driving range of 258 miles, a significant figure.

For this year, the performance-oriented version debuts with the unveiling of the 2022 Hyundai Kona N.

Don’t confuse this with the N Line trim, also new for 2022. While the N Line does give the Kona a beefier engine than the SL and SEL trims with a 195-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged engine replacing the 2.0 normally aspirated 4-banger in the base trims, most of the upgrades are cosmetic. The N Line has a sportier appearance than the Kona Limited and SE and SEL trims.

The 2022 Hyundai Kona N, however, is the real thing when it comes to “wow” performance.

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 pumps out 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, giving the Kona N an advantage of 81 and 94, respectively, over the N Line.

Various sources have recorded a zero-to-60 time of a tick under 5 seconds for the 2022 Hyundai Kona N, a couple of seconds quicker than the N-Line or Limited models.

The engine is mated to an esclusive 8-speed  dual clutch automatic transmission complete with paddle shifters for manual gear selection. The 2022 Hyundai Kona N also features what the company calls “N Grin Shift.” Press a red button on the lower part of the steering wheel and you get a quick burst of an extra 10 horsepower for 20 seconds, sort of like when an Indy Car driver hits his “push to pass” button.

Depending on what gear your currently in and what speed you are going, the effect can be quite jarring (and fun) so be prepared when you check it out.

One pleasant surprise: though fuel economy numbers for the 2022 Hyundai Kona N are not impressive for the class (20 mpg city, 27 highway, and 23 combined compare to 30/35/32 for SE and SEL and 29/35/32 for the N Line and Limited), regular octane fuel, not premium, is recommended.

To borrow a time-worn cliche, it is kind of like having your cake and eating it, too.

Of course, in addition to the upgraded engine and transmission, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N also gets other significant performance features like upgraded brakes, dual sport exhausts (which can be adjusted to suit your taste), a larger rear spoiler, and exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels.

Automatic LED headlights, daytime running lights, and taillights also are standard.

The interior gets exclusive leather sport seats with suede inserts, an N exclusive leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather shift knob, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, Harman Kardon premium sound system, automatic temperature control, and keyless entry with push-button start.

Oh, yeah. For you techies, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and wireless charging also are included.

Safety systems covered by the MSRP of $33,695 (counting destination and delivery) include forward collision avoidance assist, lane-keeping and lane following assist, blind spot assist, and rear cross traffic collision avoidance.

One thing not available: a sunroof. I can live without it.

What I liked about the 2022 Hyundai Kona N:
It is a fun car to drive and well-equipped. It has an abundance of tech features that operate off a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation and are very user friendly. It even has a knob to surf that radio dial.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Hyundai Kona N: The backseat is snug and cargo area small behind the second row. Road noise is very noticeable. A manual transmission would add to the fun. All-wheel drive, offered on other trims, is not available on the 2022 Hyundai Kona N.

Would I buy the 2022 Hyundai Kona N? Yes. If you’re looking for a subcompact SUV that rates high in performance and wow factor, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N is tough to beat. No major changes are coming for 2023.

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