ENGINE 1998cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo
POWER 206kW @ 6000rpm
TORQUE 392Nm @ 1450-4700rpm
0-100KM/H 5.5sec (claimed)
WEIGHT 1510kg • PRICE $47,500
LIKE: All the performance of the i30 N in an SUV; affordability; dynamics
DISLIKE: Ride quality is unquestionably stiff; can’t quite escape physics
THOUGH MANY OF us never venture much further off-road than the Woolies car park, we’re obsessed with SUVs. Then there are those who want these bulky, high-riding load luggers to also perform and handle like sports cars. To please them, engineers at Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Land Rover and Jaguar, among others, have spent countless hours on this Mission Impossible. The Kona N is Hyundai’s attempt at rewriting the laws of physics, its first performance SUV.
The Kona N will be available in two trim levels with entry starting at $47,500, while the Kona N Premium is $50,500. It marries Hyundai’s popular small SUV with go-fast hardware from the i30 N, including the new 206kW and 392Nm iteration of the 2.0-litre turbocharged four and the N-spec version of the new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The suspension features heavy-duty components such as redesigned steering knuckles, plus new springs and electronically controlled shocks. The front-wheel-drive Kona N also gets the N-spec electronically controlled limited-slip differential, a revised power steering system with an e-motor mounted on the rack rather than the steering column to improve response and sensitivity, 19-inch forged alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero 235/40 tyres and bigger brakes (360mm vented front, 314mm vented rear).
Outside, the front splitter has been extended 10mm and exhaust outlets the size of bazookas now frame the faux diffuser. Other visual cues include a large, double-wing roof spoiler extending from the roof and splashes of red on the lower edges of the bodywork and on the brake calipers. Inside are the N-spec steering wheel, shifter and heavily bolstered seats.
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