2022 Hyundai Kona N Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Apr 27, 2021
  • New performance-tuned small SUV
  • 280 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque
  • Accelerates to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds
  • Full suspension, steering, braking, and drivetrain upgrade
  • Digital instrumentation, gaming-style head-up display
  • Hyundai SmartSense driving assistance technologies

Like celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, Hyundai is kicking things up a notch with the new 2022 Kona N. Aimed at Generation Z buyers raised on racing video games and simulators, the Kona N’s mission is to transform young driving enthusiasts into loyal Hyundai owners for years to come. 

2021 Hyundai Kona N Front Quarter View Racetrack

The 2022 Hyundai Kona N gets the full performance-tuned treatment. From the exterior styling to the interior equipment, it looks and feels like no other Kona. And under its skin, the Kona N gets a complete reworking to ensure serious grin factor.

Exterior Features - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Hyundai gives the 2022 Kona N distinct styling cues to set it apart, such as body-color fenders, red accents, red brake calipers, dark-finish wheels, unique grille mesh, and oversized exhaust outlets. It also gets an exclusive new color called Sonic Blue, a pale, desaturated version of the signature N color Performance Blue.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Rear View Racetrack

Other modifications are functional in nature. They include a wide lower air intake to maximize cooling, an aerodynamic body kit, and a dual-level rear roof spoiler. Thanks to its light, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, the Kona N also adopts a more planted and purposeful stance than other Kona models.

Interior Features - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Since the point of the 2022 Hyundai Kona N is to take corners with enthusiasm, it has front seats with deep bolstering and Alcantara suede inserts to hold the driver and front passenger in place. A performance steering wheel offers a thick rim, paddle shifters, and buttons to access the Kona N’s various driving modes.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Interior Dashboard

Performance Blue highlights are evident throughout the cabin, and drivers face digital instrumentation. The Kona N also features metal pedal covers and a sport transmission shifter with a manual shift gate.

Under the Hood - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Hyundai modifies every mechanical system in the 2022 Kona N for maximum performance.

A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard, spitting out 280 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. An N Grin Shift mode adds an extra 10 horsepower for 20-second bursts, and the driver can use it again after a 40-second delay.

The power flows to the front wheels through an 8-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT), fortified for high-performance duty and to work seamlessly with the N Corner Carving Differential (an electronic limited-slip differential). All-wheel drive is unavailable.

Drivers can use the N Grin Control to switch between Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and Custom driving modes. They adjust the following systems:

  • Drivetrain response
  • Active exhaust system note
  • Electronic suspension damping firmness
  • Rack-mounted, quick-ratio electric steering behavior

Hyundai also installs performance brakes at each corner, and the Kona N sits on lightweight 19-inch forged aluminum wheels shod with 235/40 Pirelli P Zero summer performance tires. 

Activate Launch Control, and Hyundai says the Kona N accelerates to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds. The top speed is nearly 150 mph, according to the automaker.

Safety Systems - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Hyundai equips the new Kona N with a complete collection of SmartSense safety technologies. 

Confirmed features include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Active blind-spot warning
  • Active rear cross-traffic warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Lane-centering assistance
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Driver monitoring system

Safe Exit Assist is also included on the Kona N, warning occupants not to exit the vehicle when it is unsafe due to approaching traffic. Somewhat antithetically, Highway Driving Assist is available, too, for those times when you’d rather the technology helped with the driving.

Infotainment and Technology - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Hyundai equips the Kona N with a 10-inch digital instrumentation display, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen display, and a video-game-inspired head-up display. 

Each supports performance driving, from the data they track and share to the size and legibility of the information to make it easy to reference at a glance. The instrumentation and head-up display also change appearance depending on the selected driving mode. 

Hyundai did not detail specifics of the infotainment system, other than to confirm that it supports multiple Bluetooth devices at the same time and offers natural voice recognition technology for more than just the radio and navigation systems. Expect Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, wireless device charging, and a premium sound system.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Competitors - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Hyundai says the Kona N fills “white space” in the U.S. market. However, given its front-drive configuration and SUV body styles, its closest competitors include the Honda Civic Type R, Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo, Mazda Mazda3 2.5 Turbo hatchback, and Volkswagen Golf R.

That’s not a long list of alternatives. So unless you’re willing to consider something like a BMW X2 M35i or Mercedes-AMG GLA 35, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N is a bit of a unicorn.

Hyundai is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of April 27, 2021, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.

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