N-badged SUV to pack turbocharged heat to match its volcanic island name.
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Hyundai’s first performance SUV – the Kona N – may not be as far away as originally anticipated, according to a new report.

Online publication The Korean Car Blog claims the sporty version of the compact Kona SUV will make its Korean debut in July, powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine as Australia’s i30 N.

While the hot-hatch/SUV has not been confirmed locally, Hyundai Australia has said it will be interested any N variants that become available.

"We've made no secret of the face out focus is on building an N performance family," a Hyundai spokesperson told CarAdvice. "We will of course be studying the business case for any new N product should it become available."

Outputs for the Hyundai Kona N will reportedly be pegged at the same 202kW and 353Nm (378Nm with 'overboost' engaged) as its Performance Pack-equipped i30N hatch sibling, mated to the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that’s imminently set to launch in the US- and Korea-only Veloster N. It’s unknown whether a manual would be offered.

However, where the i30 and Veloster are front-wheel-drive, the performance Kona is rumoured to engage its rear axle for all-wheel drive, in order to improve traction and pose stronger competition to spritely small SUV rivals such as the 221kW and 400Nm Volkswagen T-Roc R and the considerably pricier 225kW and 450Nm Mini Countryman JCW.

As seen in spy shots captured last year, the N variant Kona will be differentiated by a more aggressive front and rear bumpers, larger grille, a wilder rear spoiler, dual exhaust tips, skid plates, sportier side skirts and body-coloured wheel arches compared to the standard model. Note: the render at top of story is how CarAdvice imagines the released version might look.

Also set to feature on the Kona N is a set of 19-inch alloy wheels, which hide larger brake discs with red calipers and a lowered sports suspension.

While not detailed in the report, the interior is also expected to undergo the N treatment, with changes likely to include body-hugging sports seats, N-badged steering wheel and an abundance of Alcantara and blue accents.

If the Korean Car Blog’s sources are correct, expect to see the Kona N make its public debut in July, with production reportedly set to commence in the same month.

NOTE: Kona N rendering at top of article by the author, Alex Misoyannis.