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2022 Hyundai Kona N Review: The Real Ultimate Driving Machine


The most fun drive cars on sale are not drop-top sports cars or mid-engine supercars. If maniac laughter and absolute thrills are what you’re looking for, you need a front-wheel drive crossover with an automatic transmission. In particular, Hyundai Kona N..

I am serious This weird little SUV is one of the best cars I’ve ever driven, taking all the greats of the Veloster N and applying it to a great package overall. It shares a 2.0-liter in-line 4-cylinder engine with a turbocharger with Hyundai’s other N cars, producing 276 horsepower and 289 lb-foot torque. This is an increase of 29lb-ft, and Kona’s peak torque occurs with a slight delay. Hyundai’s 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is Kona N’s only option, and Velostar N’s ​​standard 6-speed manual is a bit terrible, so it’s okay for me. The DCT works smoothly, but it starts up quickly to satisfy the shift.

Around the town, Kona N is an absolute explosion. The noise from its huge dual exhaust chip is a bit quieter than that of the Velostar, with less pop and bang on the overrun, but the Kona N is antisocial in its sportiest drive mode. The turbocharger also sounds better than the Velostar. Despite being a technically SUV, the Kona N does not have all-wheel drive. To be honest, it will make the car heavier and worse. With Launch Control activated, Hyundai says Kona N will reach 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. This is completely ridiculous. Base Porsche Taycan.. While Kona N cheerfully scrambles traction even when Launch Control is active, the Electronic Limited Slip Differential helps distribute torque between the front wheels to maximize grip.

I didn’t really care about trying Kona’s eco or normal drive mode and chose to always set the powertrain to the most aggressive setting for maximum cheerfulness. I note that in one of Eco’s highway stints, I crested 31 mpg, surpassing the Environmental Protection Agency’s highway rating by 4 mpg.

19-inch wheels with Pirelli P Zero summer tires are standard equipment, and Kona N’s 235/40 size rubber has slightly more sidewalls than Verostar’s 235/35 tires. The ride quality of the Kona N is hellishly stiff, even with the softest adaptive dampers, and the short wheelbase makes it a bit more unstable on worse roads than the Veloster, but it’s not unbearably rough. The 14.2-inch front brake and 12.4-inch rear brake are 2.2 inches and 1.2 inches larger than regular Kona, respectively, and the N also has a ventilated rear disc. After an hour of hard drive, there is no fade or squeak from the brakes and there is a physical handbrake. This is rare these days and is essential if you enjoy drifting hot hatchbacks around the parking lot.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

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2022 Hyundai Kona N

I love that rear spoiler.

Daniel Golson / CNET

Even when cornering lightly, Kona N kicks its inner rear tires into the air like a puppy peeing on a tree, and it tends to be a controllable lift-off oversteer. With a bit of early understeer and ample torque steer when accelerating, Kona has more body rolls and dives when braking than a beloster. It’s usually not positive, but it all adds to Kona’s excitement and an enhanced sense of driver involvement. Kona N isn’t about pursuing perfect dynamics, it’s about adjusting to the movement of the car, adding more striking body motion to the experience.That’s the same reason we love Mazda Miata is so much.

Kona N’s electronic power steering is staggering, heavy, direct, with virtually no sharp turn-ins and virtually dead zones, providing far better feedback than the new BMW M car. (Former BMW M Boss Albert Bierstadt The implications of being responsible for Hyundai’s R & D department will soon become apparent. ) It features a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel with thick rims, metal shift paddles, two large drive mode buttons, and a satisfying red button for N Grin Shift, which helps make it great. It’s essentially an overboost mode.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

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2022 Hyundai Kona N

Kona’s interior is better and more practical than Verostar’s.

Daniel Golson / CNET

It’s obviously based on a cheap car and there’s a lot of hard plastic throughout, but the Kona N’s interior is better than that of the Velostar. The Kona N has a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster with configurable performance pages and great graphics, while the Veloster has a physical gauge with a small 4.2-inch display in the center. Kona’s 10.3-inch center touch screen is far superior to Velostar’s 8-inch screen and uses Hyundai’s latest infotainment system. The system also has cool performance data pages that are less complex than Veloster. Navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Sirius XM are all standard, and Kona N’s 8-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is great.

Hyundai attached a beautifully reinforced suede-trimmed bucket seat to the Kona N, but unfortunately the N logo is not illuminated, but unlike the Veloster, the Kona driver’s seat is power adjustable. ..A more upright driving position isn’t good for everyone, but I think it adds to the fun of the internal organs and reminds me of good luck. Fiat 500 Abarth. Kona is more practical than Velostar. Backseat passengers have more headroom, legroom and shoulder room. When the backseat is folded, Kona has more space to carry than Velostar and the shape of the luggage compartment is easier to use.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

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2022 Hyundai Kona N

These are the correct settings.

Daniel Golson / CNET

Oddly enough, Kona N doesn’t come with adaptive cruise control and isn’t an option, even though it’s available in other Konas. It’s because of the wide open front grille of N. Kona N also unfortunately doesn’t have a parking sensor or a 360 degree camera system. It includes blind spot monitoring, lane keeping and lane centering assist, automatic high beam, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear crossing traffic warning, and rear occupant warning. You can also take advantage of a heated front seat, a charger for wireless devices, automatic temperature control, automatic upper and lower front windows, keyless entry and push button start.

Like Hyundai’s other N cars, the Kona N comes in a single configuration with no options or trim packages. There are only four colors available, and my test car, Sonic Blue, is the most interesting. Including the $ 1,245 destination fee, the Kona N is priced at $ 35,445, just $ 400 higher than the Auto Velostar N. Also, Kona N is $ 2,020 cheaper than the automatic midrange. The Volkswagen GTI is not well equipped and not very exciting to drive. Best of all, Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty is not revoked by the use of the truck. Yeah, hell.

Hyundai Kona N is ridiculous and ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense on paper, but it’s still somehow practical and legitimate. It transcends what you expect from it and makes every journey interesting and exciting. I enjoyed this front-wheel drive crossover more than any sports car or supercar I had the joy of driving. Kona N is sublime in a nutshell.

Every drive is spectacular when you have Kona N.

Daniel Golson / CNET



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