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2022 Hyundai Kona N Review: Sporty SUV That Rumbles Like a Little Hyundai Truck

Last week Torque News test-drove the 2022 Hyundai Kona N and as I am reviewing the vehicle in this article I want to start by pointing that Hyundai proves that it can develop electric vehicles and produce performance cars simultaneously.


Hyundai has accustomed us to vehicles that are fully capable of meeting consumer demands. With the N series, it changes the game. The 2022 Kona N is aggressive and fun to drive. No one would expect to hear an SUV rumble like this. What car makes that noise? The 2022 Kona N is like a little Hyundai truck.

You probably have heard of a Kona N and Kona N Line. The difference between these two is this. My research shows that the Kona N Line uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that creates 195 horsepower and a 7-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Kona N uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that creates 276 horsepower and an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. This is the review of the 2022 Hyundai Kona N.

The Kona N features a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder shared with the all-new Elantra N, which also means it's shared with the racing variant of that car. On paper, that translates to 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque, sent to the front wheels (there's no all-wheel drive planned) through an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Exterior Design of the 2022 Hyundai Kona N

In terms of style, the Kona N does not hesitate to display its small performance side. While it's no lower than a standard Kona (it's still a crossover), it's not your neighbor's 'reasonable' Kona as this car rumbles. Although the vehicle is very good looking, its cosmetic aspect takes second place.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Review front exterior

With its short wheelbase and its suspensions as hard as on a sports sedan, the new Kona N does not have comfort as its primary characteristic.

Interior of the 2022 Kona N

Inside the 2022 Kona N, the love of the N continues with special N sport seats, performance blue detailing on the seats, gear lever and two steering wheel-mounted N mode buttons, plus a large red button bearing the inscription "NGR." This is the “N Grin Shift" which increases the power by 10 horsepower for 20 seconds.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Review second row seats

Although the seats are a bit more cushioned than those of other Konas, they seemed perfectly comfortable. Rear space, meanwhile, is about what you'd expect from a vehicle of this size, meaning most people will probably only use it for kids. My adult family members didn't complain. The adults seated in the back said they were pleasantly surprised at the space available and the comfort offered. Despite the small size of the vehicle, this aspect is not neglected. Back seats can be folded flat, giving you more space.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Review front interior

The 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster is customizable and gets added "performance" styling that makes you feel like you're looking at the gauges from one of those touring race cars. There's also a performance display accessible from the main 10.25-inch display which provides data such as G-force drive, lap time and oil and coolant temperatures. It's quite a sight, given the crossover environment you are sitting in.

Three modes are offered: sport, eco or normal. In sport mode, various settings are accessible from a button at the bottom of the center console or by means of two paddles at the bottom of the steering wheel, not to be confused with those for gear change, at the top and rear of the steering wheel. These paddles come with the dual-clutch gearbox. Also, with traction control that includes a deep snow mode exclusive to the Kona N, you can drive at ease in all situations, even on terrain, snow, and mud, Hyundai says in the car's manual.

The Drive

A slight understeer will undoubtedly appear if you push the Kona N to the maximum of its capacities, ideally on the circuit, but in everyday life. In sporty driving without excess, you can clearly feel the work of the electronic limited slip differential which plays on the torque of power constantly. This is immediately felt in the steering wheel when accelerating, especially if you activate the sport mode.

Handling of the 2022 Kona N is precise. The vehicle is powerful and maneuverable. It is a great pleasure to drive even for those who are not usually sensitive to small sport utility vehicles.

Handling is also well-balanced and benefits from the significant addition of an electronic limited-slip differential. I didn't test it in rain for this review purpose, but people who tested and reviewed the 2022 Kona N at Auto123, write that you can feel that electronic limited-slip differential working. Almost as soon as the inside wheel begins to spin through a turn, power is diverted to the outside wheel to help you stay on the track. It makes the Kona N feel like it can't be stopped in tough conditions and that's what we love about a capable crossover.

The brakes have also been enlarged and the pad material has been improved so that you are well covered when it comes to deceleration.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Review rear exterior design

It's interesting that Hyundai doesn't offer a manual or AWD option while the Elantra N comes with manual transmission.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Review cargo space

In terms of fuel consumption of the 2022 Hyundai Kona N I got 23 mpg city/highway and 20 city / 27 highway respectively. For me the strong points of the 2022 Hyundai Kona N are the dynamic style, excellent level of equipment and powerful turbo engine. I don't like to talk about the weak sides because those can be very subjective from person to person. For example, I can say the cargo space can be a bit bigger, while another person can be fully satisfied by the cargo space provided with the 2022 Hyundai Kona N.

Hyundai vehicles, generally benefit from complete equipment for their price. The same is true for the Hyundai Kona N. It is the strength of the South Korean car maker. The versions are well studied, and the choices, quite simple.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Review side exterior design

The Hyundai Kona remains a very interesting vehicle in its segment; this is the reason why it quickly established itself in terms of sales figures. It is well equipped, and the number of versions and engines offered allows it to cast a wide net. Even the electric livery remains competitive with the latest novelties.

Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.