Meet the Kona N: Hyundai Finally Reveals the Race-Inspired Small SUV

The 2021 Hyundai Kona is an outstanding subcompact SUV. Young professionals love the Kona due to its sophisticated design, fuel-efficient performance, and low price. However, something is lacking.

Hyundai’s small SUV doesn’t have the same flair as some other entries in its class. And you won’t necessarily feel an adrenaline rush when you’re behind the wheel. 

However, that’s all about to change. The long-rumored Kona N is officially set to hit the streets. This performance-enhanced variant spices up the model’s lineup, giving the Hyundai Kona broader appeal than ever before.

When will the new Hyundai Kona N be available?

A camouflaged white Hyundai KONA N Prototype driving on a track
The Hyundai Kona N Prototype wrapped in camouflage | Photo via Hyundai of Europe

Hyundai of Europe first announced the launch of the high-octane Kona N via a press release. However, North American drivers are going to have to be patient.

The South Korean automaker hasn’t confirmed that the product will arrive in our market yet. But you shouldn’t be discouraged. Car and Driver reached out to a Hyundai spokesperson, who told the publication to “stay tuned” for more news about the model.

Assuming the Hyundai Kona N does cross the pond, we are in for a treat. Other N models, such as the unique Veloster N, have garnered rave reviews. These performance variants are outfitted with high-performance engines, sporty styling, and driver-focused features.

However, the Kona N is unlike every other N model that’s come before it, as it’s Hyundai’s first SUV to don the name.

A small SUV with big-time performance

A camouflaged Hyundai Kona N Prototype driving between two regular Hyundai Konas on a track
The Kona N Prototype driving with its less-powerful siblings | Photo via Hyundai of Europe

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Performance enthusiasts might have perked up when learning that Hyundai gave the Kona the N Line treatment. However, that model’s improvements are mostly for show, and its performance enhancements are minimal.

Meanwhile, the newly announced Hyundai Kona N is the real deal. It comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. This powertrain is the same one that powers the Veloster N, which produces 275 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.

Comparatively, the regular 2021 Hyundai Kona offers two powerplant options. Its standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes just 147 hp. Meanwhile, its available 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine turns the dial up to 175 hp. So, you can expect the Kona N to be the wild child of the family.

Hyundai hasn’t confirmed the Kona N’s performance specifications or feature list. However, the manufacturer’s press release states that more information will be available in the next few weeks. Hopefully, that comes with confirmation of a U.S. release, as well.

Is the upcoming Hyundai Kona N worth waiting for?

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There are few genuinely exciting subcompact SUVs on the market. So, the Kona N has a chance to become the most exciting model in the segment.

But keep in mind that while most of these small SUVs are cheap, the performance-oriented Kona N will likely be quite pricey. For example, the base 2021 Veloster has a starting MSRP of $18,900, but Hyundai priced the 2021 Veloster N at $32,250. Considering the base 2021 Hyundai Kona costs $20,500, we expect its N variant to be priced north of $33,000.

Notably, you could buy a luxury subcompact SUV like the BMW X1 for just a couple thousand dollars more. However, we wouldn’t blame you for preferring the Kona N’s edgy styling.