The 2021 Hyundai Kona N has been unveiled ahead of an Australian showroom arrival within the next six months – about the same time as the pint-sized Hyundai i20 N and updated Hyundai i30 N hot hatches are due, giving Hyundai Australia’s performance arm its broadest range to date.
The price of Hyundai’s first high-performance SUV is yet to be revealed, though it is expected to cost close to or in excess of $50,000 by the time it’s in the traffic.
Hyundai says the Kona N is designed to appeal to buyers who want hot hatch thrills and SUV practicality – even though the Hyundai i30 has a bigger boot.
As a guide the Hyundai i30 N hatch currently starts from $41,400 plus on-road costs for a six-speed manual in its most basic guise. The new eight-speed twin-clutch auto available as an option on the updated Hyundai i30 N is expected to cost an extra $2500, which would push the starting price to about $43,900 plus on-road costs based on the current pre-facelift RRP.
Add the modest price premium charged for SUVs – and the fact the Kona N will be available only with an eight-speed twin-clutch auto – and it is expected the Kona’s drive-away price will be close to or beyond $50,000.
Hyundai dealers have been told to expect their first deliveries of the Hyundai Kona N, Hyundai i20 N and updated Hyundai i30 N hatch some time in the July to September 2021 quarter – with the Kona N timing confirming information previously announced officially by Hyundai Australia.
As has been widely speculated, Hyundai today confirmed the 2021 Kona N will have the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine as the i30 N hot hatch on which it is based, with an output of 206kW/392Nm in normal mode – and a boost to 213kW for 20 seconds in “grin mode”.
The ‘wet’ twin-clutch eight-speed auto – which drives the front wheels through an electronically-controlled mechanical limited-slip differential, as per the Hyundai i30 N – has three driving modes, including N Grin Shift (NGS), N Power Shift (NPS) and N Track Sense Shift (NTS).
Hyundai says there are no plans for an all-wheel-drive version of this or any other full-fat N model at this stage.
The Hyundai Kona N has a claimed 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds when launch control is activated – 0.4 seconds quicker than the i30 N, though the hatchback's 5.9-second claimed time was likely achieved with the slower six-speed manual transmission.
Lightweight forged 19-inch alloy wheels are standard, wrapped in 235/40 Pirelli P Zero tyres developed specially for the SUV.
Larger brakes are fitted front and rear, though both are clamped by floating calipers rather than race-bred four-piston calipers.
Hyundai is yet to disclose brake disc diameters, however the updated Hyundai i30 N is due to get a slightly larger brake package, and CarAdvice understands the Kona N will be equipped with the same set-up.
As with the Hyundai i30 N, the Hyundai Kona N has a variable exhaust system – now with larger twin exhaust outlets – and customisable driving modes, which can be triggered at the press of a button on the steering wheel.
The five drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom – adjust the responsiveness of the engine, stability control, and steering, as well as the loudness of the exhaust.
The Kona N cabin has two 10.25-inch widescreen displays – one for the instrument cluster and another for infotainment – with graphics Hyundai says were inspired by gaming culture. A plastic screen folds out from the dash top to act as a heads-up display, rather than reflecting information into the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight.
The dash and infotainment screens can be configured to display track maps, pinpoint the vehicle’s location on a circuit, and show lap times.
The "touch points" in the cabin – such as the seats, steering wheel, gear lever and brake and accelerator pedals – are unique to the Kona N, but the rest of the cabin is based on standard Kona variants.
As with the Hyundai i30 N and Hyundai i20 N hot hatches, Hyundai says the Kona N has extra welding points throughout its body structure and improved strut housing structures to “enhance rigidity to minimise body roll” in corners.
Hyundai debuted a new hero colour that is exclusive to the Kona N for now – an understated hue called Sonic Blue.
However, Hyundai’s bright blue will also be available as an option.
Visual changes are minor compared to N Line versions, however the front bumper has functional ducts to cool the front brakes and the rear wing is said to be have been validated on the Nurburgring test track after being developed in a wind tunnel.
Body-coloured fender flares and wider offset wheels give the Hyundai Kona N a lower and broader stance.
Advanced safety features available on the Kona N include:
- Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
- Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
- Lane Following Assist (LFA)
- Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
- High Beam Assist (HBA)
- Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA)
- Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Alert (RCCA)
- Safe Exit Warning (SEW)
- Smart Cruise Control (SCC)
2021 Hyundai Kona N fast facts
Price: $50,000 (estimated)
Engine: Turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder
Power: 206kW (213kW in “grin mode”)
Transmission: eight-speed wet twin-clutch auto, front-wheel-drive, electronically-controlled limited-slip differential
0 to 100km/h: 5.5 seconds (claimed, with launch control)