The Hyundai Kona is the second-smallest SUV offered by the Korean car maker.
Choice is vast, with everything from affordable 2.0-litre petrol power to high-performance turbo models, through to fully electric variants at the top end.
The Hyundai Kona line-up is mostly front drive, with all-wheel drive reserved for the punchy N-Line variants yet not the full-fat N models with their sub-6-second 0-100km/h ability. The four electric models, while at the top of the Kona line-up, still represent the “affordable” side of the EV spectrum. Two trim levels are offered, along with two battery sizes and two outputs from the single motor.
The cheaper variant provides 100kW, a 39kWh battery, and delivers a claimed range of 305km. Step up to the Extended model and this jumps to 150kW of power, a 64kWh battery, and a healthy range of 484km (WLTP).
Hyundai Kona Specs
|Model||Version||Drivetrain||Fuel Type||Fuel (city) L/100km||Price|
|Kona||2.0 MPi CVT||front||Petrol||6.2L/100km||$26,900|
|Kona||2.0 MPi Active CVT||front||Petrol||6.2L/100km||$28,500|
|Kona||2.0 MPi Elite CVT||front||Petrol||6.2L/100km||$31,900|
|Kona||1.6 T-GDi N Line DCT 4WD||4x4||Petrol||6.9L/100km||$37,100|
|Kona||2.0 MPi Highlander Sunroof CVT||front||Petrol||6.2L/100km||$38,300|
|Kona||1.6 T-GDi N Line Premium DCT 4WD||4x4||Petrol||6.9L/100km||$43,200|
|Kona N||2.0 T-GDi DCT||front||Petrol||9L/100km||$49,200|
|Kona N||2.0 T-GDi Premium DCT||front||Petrol||9L/100km||$52,200|
|Kona Electric||Elite standard range||front||Electric||N/A||$54,500|
|Kona Electric||Highlander standard range||front||Electric||N/A||$58,000|
|Kona Electric||Elite extended range||front||Electric||N/A||$60,500|
|Kona Electric||Highlander extended range||front||Electric||N/A||$64,000|
Living with the 2022 Hyundai Kona N
How does N Division's jacked-up hot hatch, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N, handle life in the fast lane with MOTOR?
Introduction: New Best Friend
This is our new long-term review car, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N.
We call him KonaN O’Brien. He’s a good bloke, a guy that’s happy to accompany you on day-to-day errands and will always lift the mood with a good fart joke. You know, the sort of bloke that’ll help you move house.
He also has a tough streak, and is more than happy to back you up in a street fight. We suspect he’s quietly struggling with some sort of personality disorder as, at a moment’s notice, his persona switches to a more KonaN the Barbarian type of character than your usually affable SNL host.
If you haven’t worked it out yet, KonaN (hat tip to Trent Giunco for first coining the name in our office) is actually a 2022 Hyundai Kona N. Our big blue bus arrived at the MOTOR Garage in December.
I’ve had the manic bump and grind of the holiday period to get acquainted with my new best friend but, before that, there was the slight matter of Hyundai’s N Festival to attend to. N Fest is a travelling annual track day put on by Hyundai for its growing base of enthusiasts and, given that 2021’s event landed in Victoria, I was kindly invited along with ‘my’ new Kona N to take part in all the festivities.
I’m no stranger to the 4:30am slog out of Melbourne up to Winton Raceway, but the hot Kona made for the best highway companion I’ve ever enjoyed. An effective climate control system, Android Auto and a hugely impressive Lane Following Assist system sharply contrasted with the tramlining old Nissan I’m usually slaving up the Hume Highway with. There was significant tyre roar produced by the Kona N’s Pirelli P Zero tyres however, although this was easily counteracted by cranking the standard-fit eight-speaker Bose sound system up a few notches.
My proximity to the sleepy town of Benalla was signalled by increasing numbers of N cars on the road and I soon arrived at the gates of Winton Raceway feeling more refreshed than fatigued.
As dozens of i30 Ns crackled and popped their way through the gates (c’mon guys, we’ve all got the same engines), I was beginning to feel a little out of place as the guy who brought a mini SUV to a track day.
This was soon reinforced as I was mistakenly sent out onto the main straight to take part in a huge group photo opportunity for all of the ‘real’ N owners. There was just one other Kona out there amongst a sea of N-badged hot hatches.
Driver briefing done, helmet on, it was time to see if the Kona N really was a fish out of water at Winton.
Using the steering wheel-mounted lap time trigger, the Kona N whipped out an impressive 1:45.5-second time on its first flying lap before running into traffic which rarely abated all day. I was feeling pretty chuffed before my time was put to shame by Scott Newman, who pegged a blistering 40-flat later in the day.
There’s significantly more body roll produced by the SUV’s higher centre of gravity, and the brake pedal felt a bit squishy after a full day’s running, but it’s a surprisingly capable car. And not just for a junior SUV, either.
After sampling the full range of N cars throughout the day, the Kona may not be the circuit racer’s weapon of choice, but there’s less in it than you think, and that’s the Kona N magic.
It does things an otherwise pragmatic mini SUV simply shouldn’t do. It makes hilarious noises, turns lots of heads, and can be driven for hours with ease to and from a track while posting some genuinely impressive times in between.
In a word, it’s just fun! But doubts are starting to creep in as to whether the Kona truly boasts the practical benefits it trades on. Why might you buy this over an i30 N Hatchback? That’s something to consider next month. Stay tuned. – AA
Things we love
- Track talent
- Great powertrain
- Lane Follow Assist
Not so much
- Thirsty in N Mode
- Tyre roar
- Body roll
Month Two: Pack and Send
The Kona N raises questions that Alex Affat struggles to answer
KonaN is proving to be a bit of a crowd favourite. In fact, I’ve not brought home a long-termer that’s garnered such a curious reaction from the public.
The thing that surprised me, however, is that all of the admirers and enquirers I’ve chatted to have been noticeably older than the young enthusiast crowd I was greeted by at Hyundai N Fest at Winton Raceway, covered in last month’s report.
Whether it’s by design or the simple consequence of a longer product pipeline beholden to our geographically isolated market, N Division’s product rollout seems almost flawless.
Spearheaded by the breakout i30 N Hatchback, priced well and targeted at young enthusiasts, N Division was able to quickly build goodwill and awareness with healthy sales and media praise.
Over the last month, I’ve come across numerous occasions where that loose awareness of N Division prowess manifested in fervent curiosity when faced with our Performance Blue SUV.
The first instance was at a large gathering of my girlfriend’s extended family. Upon arrival to the family home, all of the uncles poured out to poke around the Kona N. Not even a prior Lexus LC500 V8 coupe spurred quite this response.
Another came outside the barbershop, where a customer raced out to engage me with a bevy of questions about this N car he’d never seen before.
The third and most recent encounter came from a fellow apartment resident, who’d caught me outside waiting in the car, and came to the window to express his appreciation of the Kona’s bombastic exhaust note and extroverted styling while seeing it about over the previous few weeks.
To my surprise, here were three 50-something-year-old dads, all with teenage offspring, who had all heard good things about N Division; a CX-5 owner, a Ford Territory owner, and a Golf owner, all asking whether I’d recommend a hot Kona as their next purchase. In good conscience, I’d struggle to give an unqualified yes.
I get their line of thinking. They’d heard how good the i30 N is, but to their mind and lifestyle, the Kona – most would expect – promised more cabin space, comfort and a bigger boot. But it doesn’t.
Make no mistake I am loving life with KonaN. There’s an undeniable, yet intangible lifestyle benefit to a high-riding crossover. Entry and egress is tremendously easy and the tall aperture of the boot makes loading big things simple. You don’t need to carefully navigate driveways either, just hop in and go!
It’s very firmly damped in urban scenarios though, forcing you to slow to a crawl over speedbumps. The boot, too, is small at 361-litres. This is, counter intuitively, markedly smaller than the i30 Hatchback’s 395-litre boot, both of which are dwarfed by the recently released i30 Sedan N’s massive 464-litre boot. That’s strike one against the ‘practical’ SUV promise.
Second-row seating also takes a hit compared to its compact counterpart. While the Kona is based on the same K2 platform as the existing i30 Hatchback, 50mm have been removed from the wheelbase, with flow-on effects felt in reduced rear legroom, smaller doors and a subsequent smaller aperture for access. Strike two.
There’s a lot to love about the Kona N, and I empathise with the fact that many modern households feel they require an SUV. In that respect, it’s best in class on performance for its price, and I’d happily recommend it to young couples who enjoy a spirited drive.
But for my partner’s uncle, with two teenage children and a penchant for weekend fishing trips; or barbershop bloke, with three teenage sons who regularly brim the family Territory with Saturday sporting equipment, I’m just not convinced the Kona offers the practical benefits it trades on.
What it does offer is an entertaining city car that’s easy to live with and can devour a country road with poise far beyond a Mazda CX-5 or Ford Territory’s reach. In fact, a recent outing saw the Kona hang with some seriously tasty enthusiast metal, but I’ll tell you more about that next month... – AA
Things we love
- Ground clearance
- Ease of entry
- Cargo net
Things we rue
- Firm city ride
- Small boot
- Tight second row
Comparison: 2021 Hyundai Kona N-Line vs Ford Puma ST-Line V
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International first drive: 2021 Hyundai Kona N
The camouflage is off, and the Kona N will hit Australia in the coming weeks. To see how it goes, Angus MacKenzie has a drive in the UK.
2021 Hyundai Kona N-Line review
Hyundai's compact SUV received the sporty N-Line treatment in its 2021 update. Is it a good choice for those who can’t stretch to the full-fat Kona N?
2021 Hyundai Kona Elite review
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2021 Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander review
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2021 Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander review
We spend quality time with Hyundai's range-topping EV to see if running on battery power alone is worth the price hike
2020 Hyundai Kona Range Review
The boldly-styled Hyundai Kona was the Korean brand’s first small SUV. It seats five, and has two petrol engine options including a 1.6-litre turbo. All-wheel drive is available.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The Hyundai Kona ranges in price from $26,900* for the 2.0 MPi CVT, and $43,200* for the 1.6 T-GDi N Line Premium DCT 4WD.
*Pricing excludes stamp duty, other government charges and options. Prices subject to change.
The Hyundai Kona was built in Korea.
The Hyundai Kona has a 5 ANCAP crash safety rating.
The Hyundai Kona is available in unleaded petrol fuel types.
The Hyundai Kona has 5 doors.
The Hyundai Kona comes with a boot size of 374 litres.