Here’s a first proper look at the new Hyundai KONA N - the firm’s first ever ‘True Hot SUV’ and which it says blends racetrack prowess with the versatility of a utility vehicle.
Previously we’d only glimpsed the KONA N with its bodywork disguised, and we’d had to make an educated guess as to the power it might be packing.
But now the dust sheets have been well and truly thrown off.
And not only does it look the part, with power of 280 PS combined with weight-saving tech it should also go like a scalded cat.
The KONA N is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged ‘GDI’ engine with an 8-speed wet dual clutch transmission - aka ‘N DCT’.
The powertrain delivers a maximum output of 280 PS - until, that is, you factor in something called ‘N Grin Shift’, which temporarily boosts power to 290 PS, for around 20 seconds, to help you achieve maximum acceleration.
After the “boost” - handy for overtaking or merging onto the motorway - has ended, drivers must wait at least 40 seconds to use it again.
There are two other ‘Shift’ functions as well - ‘N Power Shift’ and ‘N Track Sense Shift’.
The Power Shift keeps torque high while you’re shifting up through the gears, helping you hit 62 mph in just 5.5 second, while the Track Sense Shift actually selects the right gear and shift timing for you, so you can concentrate on keeping the right line.
Push a button and you’ll also be able to alter the sound of the exhaust.
Meanwhile Hyundai says the Electronic Limited Slip Differential (e-LSD) and its various Electronic Stability Control (ESC) modes have been optimised to improve cornering.
Hyundai is banking on the KONA N being able to appeal to ‘active customers looking for a high-performance vehicle that suits the various needs of different lifestyles, including an exhilarating experience on the racetrack’.
Looks wise, there’s a lot to love.
The ‘shark nose’ front end is complemented by large air openings while the front splitter of the bumper has been increased in size by 10 mm over the standard KONA to improve aerodynamic drag and balance.
The lower grille is apparently inspired by an aeronautic fuselage while body-coloured claddings and a low ride height give the KONA N a squat, muscular stance.
Step inside the cabin and there’s a ‘Performance Head-Up Display’ (HUD). When turned on in Sport or N mode, information such as RPM, speed, or shift indicator appear before the driver’s eyes.
You also get a 10.25 inch infotainment screen, lashings of Alcantara materials, an N-exclusive sport steering wheel, and a chunkier handbrake.
And there’s also more safety assistance tech than you can shake a stick at, including Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), Safe Exit Warning (SEW) and Driver Attention Warning (DAW).
Albert Biermann, President and Head of R&D Division at Hyundai Motor Group, says: “KONA N is a true ‘hot SUV’ with the performance level of a hot hatch. It breaks the rule that SUVs cannot be fun to drive. As an N model, it goes beyond the limits of an ordinary SUV. KONA N can carve corners on the racetrack and bring excitement to everyday driving.”
There’s no word on price as of yet, or when it goes on sale, but we’ll keep you posted.
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