Hyundai’s N sub-brand is showcasing the All-New Hyundai Kona N in South Korea during this week, and our colleague at Asian Petrolhead had the chance to test it in the circuit. Hit the jump and enjoy the video!
The all-new KONA N combines the fun-to-drive experience of a hot hatch with the versatility of an SUV: Drivers will appreciate its powerful engine and emotional sound experience, while also benefitting from the perfect size and practicality for urban life, including an extensive list of safety features. The all-new KONA N will 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.
The ‘hot SUV’ was developed to offer customers uncompromising performance alongside the fun-to-drive philosophy of N brand, together with core SUV values of comfort, convenience, and safety. The latest member of the N brand comes with a four-cylinder 2.0 T-GDI 280 PS flat power engine and a highly distinctive, sporty design. Various motorsport-inspired features contribute to an all-around dynamic driving experience. These include lightweight, 19-inch forged alloy wheels, special sports seats, and an emotional sound experience. The 8-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission (N DCT) allows for an even more sporty, high-performance character.
“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,” says Albert Biermann, President and Head of R&D Division at Hyundai Motor Group. “KONA N can carve corners on the racetrack and bring excitement to everyday driving.”
To embody the N product philosophy with its three pillars – corner rascal, everyday sports car, and race track capability – the all-new KONA N comes with a range of high-performance functionalities: Electronic Limited Slip Differential (e-LSD) and its various Electronic Stability Control (ESC) modes have been optimised to improve cornering. Traction Mode ensures that traction can be established across a variety of road conditions while N Grin Control System offers five drive modes across all N models (Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom) contribute to its everyday sports car character. Finally, features such as Launch Control or Creep Off ensure full racetrack capability.
KONA N design makes for a powerful presence on the road
The all-new KONA N is a ‘hot SUV’, whose look clearly speaks about a powerful presence and driving fun. It combines the modern design of the new KONA base car with the bold and dynamic language of N models. With a 4,215-mm length, 1,800-mm width, and 1,565-mm height, the all-new KONA N is 10 mm longer than the new KONA and just as long as the new KONA sporty N Line trim.
At 2,600 mm, the wheelbase, compared with the base car, remains unchanged. A total of 361 litres of storage space supports a range of outdoor activities. Designed with a focus on maximum weight reduction and high strength, the lightweight 19-inch forged alloy wheels add to a great stance and very sporty appearance.
The exterior design features understated design elements with N-exclusive red accents. The combination of body-coloured claddings and 19-inch wheels provides KONA N with its wide, confident stance. The body-coloured fenders, meanwhile, emphasise the rich volume of the B-SUV’s muscular body, giving KONA N a close-to-the-ground appearance. An exclusive front grille design, with its dedicated mesh, an integrated N logo, and the aggressive light signature of the new KONA, complete the vehicle’s powerful front-on appearance. The Hyundai emblem in dark satin grey was moved down from the bonnet to lower the front focal point.
To the side, customers will notice how the all-new KONA N’s sporty silhouette is emphasised by a low-ride height. Several other design cues indicate that this is a high-performance Hyundai N model, including Nexclusive forged wheels with a dark satin grey finish and red callipers, an N logo on the wheel cap, and an exclusive side sill in red with an engraved N logo.
At the rear, the large, double-wing roof spoiler dominates the view, providing the necessary balance to keep the car on the road. Customers will also notice the iconic triangular third brake light. The red accent line and two large exhaust mufflers further emphasise the performance spirit.
For the launch of the all-new KONA N, Hyundai developed a new exterior colour: Sonic Blue. Sonic Blue is set between white and light grey, tinted with Performance Blue. It has been developed to be optimized for an SUV body type while still referencing the dedicated Hyundai high-performance colour Performance Blue. The exclusive new N SUV colour complements and contrasts with the other red, dark grey, and glossy black exterior design elements, giving the all-new KONA N a sporty new look. KONA N is also available in Performance Blue, which is exclusive to N models.
All-new KONA N exterior colours:
- Sonic Blue – the new N SUV dedicated colour – with Tomato Red accents [launch colour]
- Phantom Black Pearl
- Atlas White
- Cyber Grey Metallic
- Dark Knight Grey Pearl
- Ignite Red
- Performance Blue
Inside, the all-new KONA N offers a performance-oriented look and feel optimised for high-performance driving. It is equipped with high-quality materials and metal pedals. One feature that stands out is the N-exclusive sport steering wheel, which features a design optimised for the perfect grip and button layout necessary for dynamic driving. Two customisable N buttons on the steering wheel allow for any type of pre-set to be mapped according to individual needs for even more ease of operation, and paddle shifters make it possible for the driver to switch gears without taking their hands off the wheel.
The handbrake features non-slip perforated leather and a thicker grip area for a more secure braking performance. Customers will also notice the exclusive Performance Blue as well as N logos throughout the car: on the gear shift, hand brake, door scuff, and seats.
The all-new KONA N is available with an exclusive N colour package featuring one-tone Black with cloth, leather, or suede sports bucket seats with pronounced side bolsters for excellent lateral support. All three seat types come with standard heated front seats and optional heated rear seats, and the suede trim comes additionally with standard electric/power seats, which is optional for cloth and leather. Suede seats additionally come standard with ventilated front seats for added comfort, which is also optional for leather.
- One-tone Black interior with Performance Blue accents and cloth, leather or suede seats
Powertrain: 280 PS of flat power paired with N DCT
The all-new KONA N is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre T-GDI engine with a power output of 280 PS and a maximum torque of 392 Nm. It features flat power that provides more torque and power at mid and high-range RPMs. The new higher amount of torque utilises more of the engine’s potential in everyday driving situations. The new engine power characteristic also improves acceleration in the mid and high-speed range and delivers high performance consistently, even in a variety of outside temperature conditions.
The all-new KONA N is available with N DCT, an 8-speed, wet-type transmission with two separated clutches for better acceleration and a faster upshift. The wet type clutches further provide for better cooling. Hyundai’s N DCT technology was first offered in the VELOSTER N, a model available in North America and Korea, and came to the new Hyundai i30 N because of the valuable feedback of the Hyundai N community. In the case of the all-new KONA N, Hyundai has specified all units with N DCT.
The N DCT enables three exclusive high-performance functions that are sure to bring a grin to the driver’s face: N Power Shift, N Grin Shift, and N Track Sense Shift. These features enhance the car’s capabilities by using dedicated shift logic management.
N Power Shift (NPS) engages when the car accelerates with more than 90 per cent of throttle, thereby mitigating any reduction in torque during upshifts to deliver maximum power to the wheels. This enhances driving fun by giving a “push feel” when upshifting. The accompanying bang sound, coming from the partial cylinder cut of the exhaust, underlines the sporty performance. When NPS is used while the Launch Control function is active, the all-new KONA N can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.5 seconds. NPS activates exclusively on N or Custom mode.
N Grin Shift (NGS) maximises engine and DCT performance for 20 seconds. To achieve maximum acceleration, the car will directly shift down to the most appropriate gear. To activate, the driver pushes a dedicated button on the steering wheel, and a countdown begins on the cluster showing the remaining seconds for this function. After the “boost” has ended, drivers must wait at least 40 seconds to use it again. This feature allows the driver to use the full potential of the car with only one button – for example, when chasing for the best lap time. It can also be a benefit when overtaking or merging on a highway.
Meanwhile, N Track Sense Shift (NTS) optimises adaptive shift for racetrack driving, helping the driver to focus more on steering. It recognises when the conditions are optimal for dynamic driving on a racetrack and activates automatically. Based on motorsport data combined with the driver’s behaviour, the car selects the right gear and shift timing in sport driving conditions to provide optimal performance, just like a professional race car driver.
Unlike with a traditional automatic transmission vehicle, in Hyundai vehicles with N DCT, the driver can choose to turn the Creep off. When the creep function is turned “OFF” and the car is in gear D, the car does not automatically roll when the brake pedal is released. Depending on the driver, this racetrack feature can also be useful to enhance comfort and convenience. Creep Off mode can be activated or deactivated via the N custom settings.
The all-new KONA N with N DCT also offers drivers the option to switch to manual mode using the paddle shifters or the gear knob. The memory logic will prevent the transmission from automatically upshifting when the RPM limit is reached. That way, manual control allows the driver to sustain high revs when needed for an even sportier driving experience.
High-performance driving features
The all-new KONA N introduces the N brand into the SUV line-up without compromising on driving pleasure or performance. The ‘hot SUV’ includes a range of N dedicated functions previously introduced by other N models. KONA N is, furthermore, the first Hyundai high-performance vehicle to be equipped with a Performance Head-Up Display (HUD). When turned on in Sport or N mode, information such as RPM, speed, or shift indicator appear.
The N Grin Control System offers customers a high level of customisation, with five distinct drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom.
These drive modes change the character of the all-new KONA N by adjusting the operating parameters of the engine, Electronic Stability Control, exhaust sound, and steering to optimise them for a variety of driving conditions. In the Custom mode, drivers can select settings from a variety of other modes (Normal, Sport and Sport+) to match their driving preferences and the road conditions. Dedicated N keys on the steering wheel of all-new KONA N flexibly allow any type of pre-sets to be mapped according to individual needs.
For a more emotional driving experience, a sporty engine sound from the exhaust and intake noise is supported by the Electronic Sound Generator (ESG) in the body panel. In the cabin, at the base of the windscreen, an engine sound generator provides some extra acoustic drama to match the mood of the driver. Variable muffler control also contributes to the perfect exhaust sound to provide the perfect driving experience. The Variable Exhaust Valve System comes standard with the all-new KONA N.
As with other Hyundai N models, the all-new KONA is equipped with Launch Control, which helps the car take off from a standing start on dry conditions like a professional race driver. It does this by controlling the engine torque at take-off.
Improved ride and handling features for uncompromised SUV driving
In addition to its racetrack capabilities, the all-new KONA N is at heart still an SUV. An extensive list of ride and handling features result in uncompromised SUV driving abilities. With specially developed 235/40R19 Pirelli P-Zero high-performance tyres that deliver maximum grip mounted on lightweight 19-inch forged alloy wheels, the ‘hot SUV’ offers an excellent performance on a variety of surfaces.
A high-performance braking system delivering stability in changing driving conditions has been added for additional safety. In it, the increased front and rear disc brakes take in extra air through the enlarged intakes on either side of the car’s front bumper for an enhanced cooling function. The application of high friction calliper material, a lower arm guide, and a heat shield maximise brake performance through better cooling and high heat endurance capacity.
Passive safety is increased thanks to the all-new KONA N’s enhanced body rigidity. The body’s extra welding points, improved strut ring structure, and reinforced skeleton protect passengers in the event of a collision. Additionally, the all-new KONA N’s body rigidity also minimises body roll during manoeuvres.
The all-new KONA N is equipped with an Electronic Controlled Suspension (ECS) to control the dampening force, which further enhances handling and stability. Drivers can influence the stiffness of the suspension with the push of a button to optimise the vehicle’s response for a variety of driving situations, whether on the road or at the racetrack.
For a maximised racetrack feel, the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) can be switched off. ESC typically stabilises the vehicle during cornering manoeuvres by detecting any loss of traction and applying the brakes to individual wheels. This ensures better handling and vehicle stability in unexpected road conditions or difficult terrains.
The ESC of the all-new Hyundai KONA N comes with three modes for a customisable driving experience. “ESC – ON” provides full stability and is optimised for dry, wet, or snowy conditions and provides more safety during everyday driving. “ESC – SPORT” is optimised for racetrack driving. When the ESC is switched off completely, the vehicle does not implement any engine or brake interventions for stabilisation.
Rather, it allows for dynamic torque vectoring, creating more dynamic vehicle behaviour. “ESC – OFF” is optimised for experienced racetrack drivers. Additionally, a Traction Control System (TCS) controls the driving force behind the wheels according to driving conditions to maximise traction and minimise slippage under off-road conditions.
If the system detects that a wheel is spinning faster than the detected speed of the vehicle, the TCS adjusts the engine output through continuous feedback. By pushing the Drive Mode button, the driver can select from four different Traction Modes for better handling over a variety of road conditions using the front-wheel-drive: Snow Mode provides maximum stability in slippery or icy roads. Deep Snow enables more wheel spin, enabling more traction to avoid being stuck in deep snow. Mud Mode features medium wheel spin to allow the car to launch on muddy surfaces. Sand Mode enables a higher wheel spin for launch on sandy surfaces. Traction Modes are active between 0 and 60 km/h.
Meanwhile, the all-new KONA N’s N Corner Carving Differential, an Electronically-controlled Limited Slip Differential (e-LSD), enables excellent performance while cornering. This feature allows the wheels to turn at different speeds by applying different amounts of torque, depending on the load transfer from the inner to the outer front axle wheel. This reduces wheel slip in specific conditions and minimises understeering while cornering. N Corner Carving Differential also allows drivers to round corners at higher speeds, making the all-new KONA N even more fun to drive.
Hyundai N models offer a new level of precision and responsiveness in its steering, delivering great value to the driver: The all-new Hyundai KONA N enhances its base car with a specific Rack-mounted Motor Driven Power Steering system (RMDPS) with higher capacity, increased rigidity, and lower steering ratio. The electric steering assist system located in the steering gear provides direct and accurate steering with a good level of feedback as required by a high-performance vehicle. The driver can choose between three different steering settings (Normal, Sport and Sport+) to provide ideal steering efforts for different experiences, such as urban driving, country roads, or racetracks.
In addition, the N Power Sense Axle at the front combined with a multi-link type rear suspension provides enhanced stiffness for improved ride and handling performance.Advanced safety features for everyday driving
As with the new base car, the all-new KONA N is available with an extensive list of Hyundai SmartSense active safety and convenience features for added peace of mind. This is an important aspect of the everyday sports car pillar of KONA N as it makes the model safer and more convenient in everyday driving situations. Systems such as Rear Seat Alert and Safe Exit Warning specifically contribute to the protection of all passengers.
Tech and connectivity
The tech and connectivity equipment in the all-new KONA N focuses on enhancing all driving experiences. The Performance Head-Up Display (HUD) projects vehicle information onto a transparent screen. It allows the driver to see relevant navigation, safety, and driving information while keeping their eyes on the road. It can be activated and deactivated with a button on the dash panel.
The all-new Hyundai KONA N additionally comes with a 10.25-inch digital N cluster with a sporty design and a 10.25-inch AVN touchscreen. A Performance Driving Data System monitors and improves racetrack driving skills. The feature saves and displays driving data, such as PS, torque, and turbo boost, during racetrack driving via AVN touchscreen. The system also comes with a lap and acceleration timer. When driving in Sport or N mode, the N graphics will also be shown at HUD.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluelink® Connected Car Services make the everyday driving experience even in a high-performance vehicle more convenient. The all-new KONA N is also equipped with additional voice recognition features. Drivers can activate and control features like climate, rear window and side mirror heating, as well as steering wheel heating through a simple voice command.