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2023 Hyundai Kona N Road Test: Finally, an attractive, affordable crossover

DETROIT, Mich — For all SUVs and cross When it goes on sale, there’s a clear lack of affordable, non-luxury performance options. You won’t miss them in luxury spaces with prices above and below in excess of $75,000, but what about someone who wants more zest with more practicality on a budget? Say hello to Hyundai Kona 2023.

And before you go to the comment section, yes, call Kona “reality” is definitely a stretch, maybe even an undone N. The actual usability of the cargo space and the rear seats is on par with what a VW GTI provide. However, it has a higher seating position and more ground clearance that American SUV buyers like. Plus, it serves a practical purpose in hyundaiN’s division lineup. With Veloster N is dyingthe Kona WOMEN became the only model N with a lift door. Elantra WOMEN There may be roomy rear seats, but there’s no denying the added usefulness of a hatch with the rear seats that fold down to create a spacious, airy stowage space for all your belongings when you don’t move on your favorite roads.

Depress the accelerator from a stop at Kona N, and the front tires light up as soon as you accelerate, putting you in a little skirmish with the steering wheel. Yes, there is a torque controller on the faucet here. While Women’s Veloster And Elantra WOMEN exhibits a small amount of torque control, the Kona N seems to do little to quench it. If you can enjoy a tiny crossover that has so much power that it can pull you around when accelerating, you might find it charming. No one (well, probably nobody) is trying to set a fast lap time with the Kona N, so consider that an added character.

Of course, I’m sure there are plenty of people – including others on the staff – who would like to see the Kona N get an all-wheel drive system that eliminates the torque steering system altogether and enhance performance. Torque vectored rear differential a la golf CHEAP will also icing on the cake of the aforementioned AWD system. The Kona N will no doubt be a more manoeuvrable and capable vehicle with power for both axles, but it will come at the expense of the extra weight and cost. As such, the Kona N costs $36,285 and weighs 3,340 pounds. I don’t want to see either of those numbers go up.

You are getting an absolute bargain of an SUV for the money. Hyundai’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes 276 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque, and just like the other N models, the Kona N’s exhaust is super fun. You can drive around in a custom driving mode that keeps the valves open all the time and has the loud bangs and bangs background music on, or you can turn it all off for a quieter, albeit noisy ride. Expect twice as much with the Kona N in outgoing mode, as few would expect these noises from a tiny Hyundai SUV.

In addition to the sound theater, the Kona N also features exciting enthusiast features like the “N Grin Shift” mode that gives you a 20-second boost in performance through the boost function (10 hp more ). It is activated via a button on the steering wheel, like porscheThe “Sports Response” button will instantly get the car ready for maximum performance. When activating N Grin Shift, Hyundai says the acceleration from 0-100 km / h takes 6.4 seconds. You get that through a quick-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. The aforementioned powertrain was a pleasure under control multiple times, with the Kona N jumping off the line expertly for a front-wheel drive vehicle. Just hold on to the wheel while accelerating to keep it straight.

When you want to go left or right, Kona N is happy to accommodate. It has an electronically controlled adjustable suspension with varying degrees of stiffness. They range from “stiff” to “oh, my back is starting to hurt.” The Kona’s short wheelbase inherently means a smoother ride, and the addition of handling expected from an N model means even more compromises to ride comfort. daily. On Michigan’s broken roads, the Kona N can get nasty even for those with a tolerance for stiff cars.

However, much can be forgiven when you find a zigzag stretch of sidewalk. The Kona N turns heads precisely with the level of sharpness and feel expected from the N badge on the back. There are very few bodies roll, and consecutive angles are easy to thread together. The Veloster N isn’t quite at the featherweight on the road, but the Kona N handles tournaments on its own better than any standard Kona when pushed. Hyundai’s eLSD system does its job by effectively pulling you through corners without maneuvering under the throttle. There’s still some jerking in the form of the torque controller that wants to steer you off course, but it’s mild compared to starting from zero.

The grip from the 235-section Pirelli P Zero summer tires is more than enough and the upgraded N brake Quickly pull this tall hatchback to a stop with a stiff pedal that can handle the constant pounding. Calling it a tall, hot hatchback is really the best way to sum up the Kona N’s driving style. As someone who enjoys the lower seating position that a car offers, the Kona N can be a bit uncomfortable, but driving it hard makes it hard not to like it. Swipe up and down the gears of this super-fast transmission, listen to the exhaust squealing furiously before bouncing out of the tunnels at speeding, even just looking at the aggressive exterior bodywork. funny way… all those characteristics make this a very desirable car enthusiast.

What might turn you against the Kona N is the interior. like Veloster Women’s Basic Cabin, Kona N generally has a barren and boring interior. It’s the dull dash, empty doors, and lack of any appealing decor that make this interior feel cheap. Black plastic is the theme here and the lack of refinement certainly contributes to the low price.

The few N-specific items that Hyundai rolled out were at least welcome improvements. The durable seats with suede pads do a good job of keeping the body in place. The leather-wrapped steering wheel with blue accents, large gearshift paddles, blue drive mode button and red “NGS” button add character. In addition, the digital cluster has unique display modes (giant tick in the center, etc.) to enhance the feeling that you are in a hot car. Perhaps the coolest of the N-specific changes for the Kona is the presence of a handbrake. The standard Kona has electronic emergency braking, but that’s not good for kicking the rear end out on slick surfaces. It seems the Hyundai engineers behind this car are just like us, who love to ski when the snow starts to fall and they make sure the car is ready for the task.

The way the Kona N compares to its contemporaries is where things get a bit weird, mainly because the Kona N doesn’t have a direct comparison. The cars that people are likely to cross-shop are all hot hatchbacks, because there simply doesn’t exist a bunch of affordable hot crossovers. GTI available for a similar price. If you want AWD, input prices will escalate rapidly when Toyota GR Corolla, Mini JCW And VW Golf CHEAP join. The problem here, which you may have seen, is that most enthusiasts will probably only choose one performance. carnot one Cross each other, when presented with a price. Hyundai has done a great job of making the Kona N so interesting that it can reasonably be compared to these cars, but it will still suffer in terms of all-round performance due to its tall stature. than. Not to mention, the Kona N doesn’t allow enthusiasts to specify a manual transmission.

High-performance luxury SUVs – which seem to be everywhere these days – often don’t share the same compromises, as they are almost always top performance. And the most luxurious versions of themselves. If you have money, why shouldn’t you buy? Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 on standard cruise GLE450? It’s Faster, Colorful (But Still Classy) AMG badge above all and the only real compromise is a slightly higher monthly payment that your bank account might not even care about. Meanwhile, the Kona N is extremely appealing to fastidious Veloster N lovers who are on a tight budget and don’t care about things like ride quality, interior trim or refinement. It’s made for people who absolutely love to ride it like I do, but at the end of the day I’ll take two cars down and drive away in one. elantra WOMEN anytime.

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