The 2022 Hyundai Kona starts at $35,495 in the United States and $41,824 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included.
Giggle-inducing acceleration, dynamic handling, long list of features.
Rough ride, not that spacious inside just like any other Kona, premium fuel required.
Is it possible to own a vehicle that’s very enjoyable to drive on public roads while being relatively fuel efficient and still provide a certain level of versatility? It is indeed, and the 2022 Hyundai Kona N a proof of that.
Seeking to change its image by introducing engaging cars and crossovers, equipped with the latest technologies and—as always—lots of features for the asking price, Hyundai added some high-performance models to its lineup in recent years. The first one in North America was the Hyundai Veloster N, which has just retired, leaving room for the new Hyundai Elantra N and Hyundai Kona N.
The latter is part of an admittedly comprehensive subcompact crossover family, as we’re treated to the “regular” Kona, the Kona Electric, the sporty looking Kona N Line and the Kona N—the most powerful and most thrilling of the bunch.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona N is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0L inline-four that belts out 276 horsepower as well as 289 pound-feet of torque, and by pressing on the red wheel-mounted button, we temporarily get 10 more ponies for a total of 286, making the crossover a little more energetic without necessarily being faster.
Once the Sport mode is activated, the engine revs are accompanied by exhaust burps at each upshift, adding more character to the vehicle’s soundtrack, as if was conceived by a German brand. That isn’t surprising, given Hyundai’s chief engineer used to work at BMW M.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona N has no direct competition in the mainstream subcompact crossover segment, so it ends up competing with the Volkswagen Golf R hatchback that develops 315 horsepower and features AWD. It also taps on the shoulder of the 302-hp BMW X2 M35i, the 302-hp Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 and the 301-hp MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, which all include AWD as well, along with a much higher price tag. Other adversaries will soon arrive, such as the new-generation 2023 Honda Civic Type R with 315 horsepower and the 2023 Toyota GR Corolla with 300 horsepower.
Pricing starts at $35,495 in the United States and at $41,824 in Canada, freight and delivery charges included.
Why You Should Buy a 2022 Hyundai Kona N
- The crossover’s performance is impressive, but so is its handling. Thanks to its sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels with 235/40R19 tires, the Kona N sticks to the pavement and provides lots of smiles behind the wheel. It’s as simple as that.
- The Kona N’s price undercuts all the competition mentioned above.
- The 2022 Hyundai Kona N is blessed with supportive sport seats that look good and feel good to the touch with their faux-suede upholstery and leather accenting. They definitely add to the performance focus of the little crossover.
- As previously mentioned, we get lots of features for the price, such as heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a digital driver instrument panel, head-up display and navigation.
- Hyundai’s infotainment system is loaded with features and is relatively easy to use while driving, with a 10.25-inch touchscreen and even embedded ambient music. We also still get physical buttons to adjust the volume and access the system’s main menus, which is a nice touch.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2022 Hyundai Kona N
- The Kona N may offer dynamic driving characteristics, its ride quality suffers. It’s tolerable in Normal drive mode, almost bone-jarring in Sport.
- There’s a fair amount of torque steer and highway truck ruts make the steering wheel shake and shiver between our hands. The ever-present exhaust drone can also get tiring over time. This isn’t a relaxing vehicle to drive, but we imagine a younger crowd will be more tolerable to the Kona N’s personality.
- City/highway/combined fuel economy is rated at 20/27/23 mpg or 11.8/8.7/10.4 L/100 km, which is fairly efficient. However, all the aforementioned rivals consume less fuel, and the 2022 Hyundai Kona N requires premium fuel, which obviously makes for costlier fill-ups. Nonetheless, we averaged 25 mpg or 9.5 L/100 km during our test.
- Just like in any other Kona, the N is small. Front-seat space is adequate, but adult-sized occupants might feel cramped sitting in back, and there are no air vents on the back of the front center armrest for them, either. Cargo space is rated at 19.2 cubic feet or 544 litres with the rear seats up, 45.8 cubic feet or 1,296 litres with the seatbacks folded, which is on the small side, even for a subcompact crossover.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona N serves up performance, handling and sporty looks at a decent price, making it possible to own a versatile vehicle that’s also fun to drive and relatively fuel efficient. However, some rivals are more refined for the daily drive in addition to offering the benefits or AWD, such as the Volkswagen Golf R, which costs only a few thousand more on the bottom line.