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Hyundai has confirmed it will be adding a performance version of its Kona compact SUV to its line-up later this year.

Badged Kona N, it will be the fourth model in Hyundai’s sporty N brand and will compete against similarly sporty compact SUV rivals like the Mini Countryman JCW, Ford Puma ST and Volkswagen T-Roc R.

Hyundai launched the N performance brand in 2017 with the impressive i30 N, and since then we’ve seen the i30 Fastback N and, more recently, the i20 N. According to Hyundai, the Kona N is aimed to appeal to ‘active customers looking for a high-performance vehicle that suits the various needs of different lifestyles, including experience on the race track.’

Power comes from a 2.0-litre T-GDI, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine which produces 276bhp, and is paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

The gearbox’s party piece is what Hyundai calls the N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift, which is designed to enhance a more spirited driving experience, combining a smoother flow of power as well as throwing a few bangs and crackles from the exhaust during upshifts. It also has N Grin Shift, which gives a 20 second burst of maximum power by instantly shifting down to the most appropriate gear, which is activated via a button on the steering wheel.

With the car set up in its most aggressive state, it will do the 0-60mph dash in 5.5 seconds and keep going to a top speed of 149mph. The body has also been reinforced too, with more welding points and extra bracing to improve structural rigidity through the corners.

Despite its butch styling and SUV demeanour, the Kona N is only available in front-wheel drive, however Hyundai claims it should be capable on a variety of surfaces thanks to its clever traction control.

It has a more aggressive look than the already eye-catching Kona, including a more aggressive bodykit, 19-inch alloy-wheels, red detailing as well as a couple of large exhausts at the rear. This treatment is carried through to the cabin, with more figure hugging seats and a steering wheel with two customisable N buttons, allowing the drive to switch between driving modes while on the move.

The Kona N also features a new 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system which will help log lap times and features track maps. Prices haven’t been confirmed yet, but we expect the new Kona N to cost around £36,000 when it goes on sale in the summer.

Ted Welford

By

April 27, 2021