COMING SOON: Hyundai Kona N – Will this create a new performance market?

2021 Hyundai Kona N

Part-SUV, part-hot hatch – the all-new Hyundai Kona N will arrive in Australia later this year to shake up the performance SUV market.

Up until now the performance SUV market has been dominated by the top end of the market (think Porsche Macan, Audi RSQ3 and BMW X3 M) but Hyundai is arriving to add some muscle to the mainstream brands. At present the mainstream performance SUV market is led by Volkswagen with the Tiguan 162TSI and Skoda’s Kodiaq RS.

The Kona N is arguably the first compact SUV with genuine performance credentials from one of Australia’s most popular brands. It combines the powertrain of the upcoming 2021 Hyundai i30 N hot hatch with the high-riding style of the Kona.

“As N brand’s first ‘hot SUV’, Kona N will offer plenty of versatility and driving thrills that N-thusiasts have come to expect from the brand,” explained Till Wartenberg, Vice President and Head of N Brand Management and Motorsport Subdivision at Hyundai Motor Company. “You can take this vehicle anywhere – from road to the track.”

The Hyundai Kona N with i20 N (left) and i30 N (right)

Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which should make the same outputs as the update i30 N – 206kW of power and 392Nm of torque. It will be paired with the new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and send power to the front wheels. While it misses out on all-wheel drive, it’s likely to get the same electronically-controlled limited slip differential (eLSD) as the i30 N to help traction and improve handling.

That’s all the official information for now, with the Kona N not expected in local showrooms until the middle of the year.

Before then Hyundai will double its N fleet, introducing the all-new i20 N hot hatch alongside the facelifted i30 N. Before the end of 2021 Hyundai Australia will also replace the i30 Fastback N with the i30 Sedan N.

And that’s not all the South Korean brand has to help rev up its image. There are four new N Line models coming our way, sporting more aggressive looks and turbocharged engines but missing out on the full track-ready upgrades of the full-fat N models. This quartet will consist of the i30 Sedan and Sonata as well as the Kona and Tucson SUVs.

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