First look: Hyundai drops generous tease for hot Kona N

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Words: Matthew Hansen
12 Jan 2021

While most of today’s ‘performance SUVs’ are built to target premium buyers, we’re starting to see more of them enter the mainstream space. Ford has unveiled the Puma ST, and Hyundai is busy cooking away behind the scenes with its new warm Kona N-Line and hot Kona N.

The former was shown off in full in late 2020, and now the Korean firm has published its first images of the latter — generously draped in camouflage wrap ahead of its full reveal.

Among the new information Hyundai has confirmed is a few tidbits concerning powertrain. As expected, the Kona N will be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Hyundai also says to expect a “variety of high-performance driving features, such as Launch Control, and an emotional sound experience.”

There’s no information yet with regards to exactly how much power the 2.0-litre donk will produce, but it’s been speculated that power could hover around the 205kW mark — a bucket more than the 147kW/320Nm offered in the 1.5-litre Puma ST.

The Kona N also appears to be a step up on the Kona N-Line in terms of visual theatrics. While the N-Line looks racy enough as a baseline, the N appears to sport larger front and rear aero, plus a larger set of wheels and a hefty twin-exit exhaust system.

Hyundai, clearly rather proud of its N efforts, elected to shoot the Kona N with its i20 N and i30 N cousins for the teaser imagery. While the Kona N is a shoe-in for the New Zealand market, the i20 N is still unconfirmed despite being revealed back in October last year.

Hyundai says it will unveil more details about the Kona N in a few weeks. There’s no reason not to believe them, either, given the rapid-fire series of reveals in 2020.

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