Test Drive Hyundai Kona N: The Barbarian?
After the i30 N and i20 N praised for their performance and high-flying driving pleasure, Hyundai completes its N sports range with a third model: Hyundai Kona N the small Kona SUV.
Hyundai has decided to attach the letter N, and especially the know-how it induces, on its SUV. A risky bet at first glance, because very few SUVs can claim the qualification of “Sporty”; mass and elevated architecture not being likely to promote agility. In order not to fall into this pitfall, Hyundai has firmed and lowered the chassis of its Kona, just to approach the center of gravity of the bitumen.
As for the engine, it is borrowed from the i30N. It therefore delivers 280 hp and 392 Nm. The 12.5 cm less of the SUV compared to the compact should compensate for the hundred kilos more in terms of agility. The performance is also essentially identical: the new model requires 8.5 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h; 8.4 s for the i30 N.
Pure sportsman… and hard!
The excellent surprise is that these promising figures translate into reality in a very good way. Let’s leave aside the wisest modes (Eco or Normal) for everyday use, and go directly to sport and, especially N. The latter, accessible via a button dedicated to the steering wheel, places all the parameters (engine, transmission, exhaust, steering and suspension) on their sportiest setting.
The SUV is then a pure happiness to handle, as it provides raw, mechanical sensations! It accelerates hard and cleanly in a straight line on a rather flattering soundtrack, but above all, it manages to be precise and incisive in curves by remaining solid on its suspensions.
Perhaps a little too much, because this mastery of roll is expensive in terms of comfort. And on uneven pavement, we prefer to leave a little more travel to the shock absorbers, the stability remaining in any case excellent in corners.
This Kona N still has a secret boot: whatever the driving mode engaged, press the red NGS button (N Grin Shift) on the steering wheel and the car will instantly deliver all its torque and power for 20 seconds, perfect for a cannon overtaking! The Kona N therefore fully deserves its name of Sports SUV, as the rowing relates to the plumage which, as you can see, does not do in the lace!
The bad news? Hyundai France does not distribute the Kona N. So we tried it in Belgium, where it is charged 40.499€