2022 Hyundai Kona N new car reviews

Photography by David S. Wallens

This is the Kona N, not the Kona N Line. The difference? The Kona N–the one tested here–gets the 276-horsepower engine, an 81-horsepower boost.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Really thought I’d love the Kona N. After all, it’s one of my favorite smaller SUVs but with more power.

But the Kona N just felt nervous–like nervous going in a straight line.

Alignment or diff? I’m honestly not sure.

Otherwise, I loved it. Takes everything that makes the Kona so good–the right size, crisp shifting, well-appointed interior, traditional controls, a real shifter and even good looks–but add more power and sportier seats.

And the Kona N looks even meaner than the standard Kona. Looking for the polar opposite of the Ford Escape? This could be your droid.

The extra power: Yes, it’s there. No waiting, no lag.

And thank you, Hyundai for the twin-clutch transmissions. Where the standard Kona gets a seven-speed unit, this one gets eight, making it, in a sense, one better.

And the chassis is there, too. Not saying it’s your next track car, but it felt composed.

But there is a price for this: The Kona N starts at $34,200 whereas the front-drive Kona Limited and N Line start at $28,600 and $25,850, respectively. Yes, you get more power–and more everything–with the Kona N, but is it worth the price premium?

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calteg
calteg SuperDork
8/29/22 2:52 p.m.

I remember the base Kona being on a "10 cars that are quicker than you'd expect" list. 276hp isn't mind blowing, but I bet it will surprise a lot of other commuters 

rob_lewis
rob_lewis UberDork
8/29/22 4:02 p.m.
calteg said:

I remember the base Kona being on a "10 cars that are quicker than you'd expect" list. 276hp isn't mind blowing, but I bet it will surprise a lot of other commuters 

Funny and awesome that in 2022, a 276hp 4 cylinder is considered "not mind blowing".  As a comparison, a base Macan produces 261hp.  Dodge's new Hornet starts at 265hp. 

Truly fun times.

-Rob

calteg
calteg SuperDork
8/29/22 6:16 p.m.

In reply to rob_lewis :

I think it's more of a telling stat about expectations of cars vs SUVs. There's a very, very long list of LS powered trucks and SUVs that have made 300hp for the last 20 years. With few exceptions, none of those were marketed as hotrod SUVs

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