Preview: 2022 Hyundai Kona N brings hot hatch attitude to the compact crossover

The Hyundai Veloster N is a hot hatch fun machine, and now Hyundai has applied that philosophy to the Kona compact crossover in the form of a new Kona N version. The Korean automaker revealed the 2022 Kona N in April, and on Thursday we learned all the U.S. specifications. The market launch is scheduled for later this year.

The Kona N is the first high-riding offering in Hyundai N’s growing lineup of dedicated performance models, and comes with a similar mechanical setup to the Veloster N we get here, plus the i30 N sold overseas. A new Elantra N with the same mechanical setup is also due at U.S. dealerships later this year.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

The setup consists of a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, and front-wheel drive. The engine makes 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque, though an N Grin Shift mode will up that to 286 hp for 20 seconds. Hyundai says the Kona N can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 5.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 149 mph. Sadly, the 6-speed manual offered in other Hyundai N models isn’t an option here.

The 8-speed DCT is a brilliant unit. It’s a Hyundai N exclusive that’s beefed up to handle the engine’s power, has unique gear ratios, and is programmed for quick shifts. The transmission also has N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift modes. N Power Shift is simply a manual shifting mode through the steering wheel shift paddles, and N Track Sense Shift detects if the driver is driving on a track and holds gears to provide the right gear for best performance.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

To improve handling, the Kona N’s platform is reinforced with extra welding points and a stiffer strut ring structure. It also uses an electronic limited-slip differential and lightweight aluminum knuckles, rides on Pirelli P Zero summer tires mounted on lightweight 19-inch forged alloy wheels that widen the track slightly, and has larger brakes with higher performance pads. The Kona N has the same ride height as other Konas to retain its all-year utility. To make it handle and provide the feedback enthusiasts want, Hyundai developed the Kona N on tracks around the world, including the Nürburgring.

In addition to N Grin Shift, the Kona N has the N Grin Control system that offers Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and Custom drive modes. Each mode changes the settings for the engine, stability control, exhaust sound, and steering. A launch control system is also standard.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

On the outside, the Kona N gets design, cooling, and aerodynamic changes. A front lip spoiler, lower side skirts, and a double-wing roof spoiler improve the aerodynamics, while larger front air center intake provides more engine and brake cooling for the Kona N’s track capability. The fender flares are also body color instead of black on other Konas.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

Inside, Hyundai aims for a combination of sportiness and a video game experience. It has a 10.0-inch digital instrument cluster that can also show some infotainment features. A racing-style head-up display is standard, and the center infotainment system can show lap times and track maps. The pedals are metal, and blue accents trim the seats, steering wheel, and shift knob.

Hyundai also equips the Kona N with plenty of driver-assistance features, including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, active blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, a driver-attention monitor, automatic high beams, and a safe exit warning system.

Pricing information will be announced closer to the market launch. Note, also new for the 2022 model year is a tamer Kona N Line.

For more on the Hyundai Kona, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.

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