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Hyundai confirms and teases hot Kona N

Hyundai finally confirms and locks in the Kona N performance SUV for Australia

12 Jan 2021

ONE of the motoring industry’s worst kept secrets of the past 12 months has officially been confirmed today with Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) finally announcing the Kona N is in development and that it is headed Down Under.

 

Due to arrive locally by the end of the year, the Kona N is the final piece of the puzzle in HMCA’s plan to launch eight new N or N-Line products in 2021, the others being the facelifted i30 N hatch, new i30 Sedan N, pint-sized i20 N, Sonata N-Line, Kona N-Line and Tucson N-Line.

 

Accompanying the announcement were 10 clear teaser images showing a heavily camouflaged prototype on track and in the wilderness, a move reflective of the Kona N’s broader capabilities compared to its i30 N sibling.

 

Despite the N-branded camouflage, many of the new hi-po SUV’s body features are plain to see including the front fascia which looks to be a slightly more aggressive progression of the one seen on the semi-skim N-Line.

 

The rest of the body features the usual array of N go-faster bits including chunkier side skirts, more aggressive rear apron, dual exhaust tips, bigger alloy wheels and a lower ride height.

 

Given the regular Kona shares its platform and running gear with the normal i30 hatch, it should come as no surprise that the Kona N will share most of its mechanicals with the rampant i30 N hatch including the force-fed 2.0-litre petrol engine as well as the new eight-speed ‘N DCT’ dual clutch automatic transmission.

 

With this in mind, it would be safe to expect the Kona N to share the updated i30 N’s 206kW/392Nm peak outputs however it remains to be seen if the SUV adopts all-wheel drive as opposed to the hatch’s front-drive set-up.

 

According to head of Hyundai N and Motorsport Till Wartenberg, the Kona N will offer “plenty of versatility and driving thrills” as the brand’s first “hot-SUV”.

 

Few other details have been released at this stage other than the aforementioned engine and transmission configurations with launch control being the only other confirmed feature.

 

While the Kona N may well be the final piece to HMCA’s 2021 performance plan, corporate communications general manager Bill Thomas said it is more of a niche offering compared to the core-focused i20 N and i30 N.

 

“The priority was always to develop two solid, popular-segment hot hatches first,” he said.

 

“So you have i30 and i20 (Ns) landing in the segments that will establish and solidify our reputation where the core of the market is.

 

“Now, with Kona N, running on the same platform as i30, we are extending into new territory, a more-niche product that smashes segments wide open.”

 

The inevitable rival for the Kona N when it arrives will be the looming Volkswagen T-Roc R with no other mainstream brands offering a genuine performance small SUV.

 

Other upmarket rivals include the Mercedes-AMG GLA35, BMW X2 M35i and the upcoming Audi SQ2.

 

HMCA sold 64,807 new cars nationally last year, 12,514 of which were Konas, making it the third best-selling model for the brand behind the i30 (20,734) and Tucson (15,789).


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