Crossover & Midsize

We Could Potentially See a Hyundai Kona N Later This Year

Information is hard to keep secret in today’s world, with the internet becoming the perfect playground for information to spread. And while no one has heard it directly from the automaker themselves, a leaked production schedule helped to unlock Hyundai’s secret plans for its family of vehicles, including the recently-introduced compact Hyundai Kona SUV.

Leaked plans indicate Hyundai’s new plans for the Kona SUV

According to plans leaked to The Korean Car Blog, Hyundai’s launch plan for the 2020 year is ambitious. Many of its SUVs are expected to come off the production line a little revamped, including the Santa Fe, Tucson, and Kona.

If these leaked production plans are accurate, Hyundai is set to start production in Korea of a new Kona N version. In addition to gas, electric, and diesel Kona versions already queued in the lineup, the Kona N will be a high-performance version of the subcompact crossover. 

Rumors have been swirling around in regards to a production Kona N. According to MotorTrend, it was back in 2018 that word began spreading of Hyundai developing a “sportier version of the Kona.” Though no one knew if Hyundai gave the high-performing N version the green light, the recently-leaked production schedule, as well as spy photos, give indication we should be seeing the Kona N soon.

According to Motor Authority, a camouflaged prototype of what we can all assume is the new Kona N has already been hitting the tracks. If all goes well, U.S. owners may expect to see the Kona N for the 2021 model year. But what will make the Kona N a high-performance SUV?

The new Hyundai Kona N: what to expect

Leaked spy shots indicate that the Hyundai Kona N high-performance variant will feature “a dual-tip exhaust system, upgraded brakes with red calipers, and new openings in the front fascia.” According to MotorTrend, if everything goes to plan, the new Kona N will come with a familiar 2.0-liter turbo engine that makes up to 275 hp whereas the SE and SEL trims only make around 147 hp.

This turbocharged engine is expected to be paired to choices of an upgraded six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. We can expect the Kona N to sit on a new suspension and upgraded chassis, which will push the Kona to its limits.

Based on the size and balance of the Kona’s compact design, the Kona N version is expected to hug corners and handle the road with ease. And in true Hyundai fashion, the high-performance N will still be affordable. Owners can get a base 2020 Kona for around $20,000, while the Kona N version is expected to start with a sales price of only around $30,000.

How the “N” treatment changes Hyundai’s cars

Hyundai’s Kona SUV isn’t the only vehicle to receive an “N” label. In fact, the “N division” is Hyundai’s performance sub-brand, responsible for turning its lineup into the next generation of high-performers. Engineers within this division are specifically focused on developing and producing the sportier “N” line vehicles.

In fact, the Kona N is expected to use the same turbo engine found in America’s first N-brand model, the Veloster hatchback. According to Hyundai, other N-brand vehicle versions include the Elantra and luxurious i30.

Regardless of specs, we can expect the newest Kona N to be as impressive as all other N-brand versions. According to Hyundai, the “N” division focuses on creating its high-performance vehicles on the “Three Pillars of N.” This means we can expect the ordinary Kona SUV to be a “corner rascal,” “everyday sports car,” with “race track capability.”