It is straightforward to see SUVs and crossovers as an amorphous mass using about the motor vehicle market. But even though product sales show no indicators of diminishing, it is inaccurate to look at them as a single species quite a few of the more compact and softer kinds are significantly far more carefully similar to typical hatchbacks and sedans than they are to the expedition-spec off-roaders that emerged from the automotive swamps. Though indubitably a crossover, the new Hyundai Kona N is rather a great deal a sister to the Veloster N that gained Efficiency Vehicle of the 12 months in 2020. That is promising, proper?
The Kona N shares the Veloster’s powertrain, as do the European sector i30N Functionality the forthcoming Elantra N. That indicates a 2.-liter turbocharged motor generating 276hp and driving the entrance wheels via an electronically controlled confined slip differential and a normal 8-velocity twin-clutch transmission. (Regrettably the choice of a six-velocity manual has been dropped for the Kona.) The infant ‘ute is taller, more time and heavier than the Veloster – about 250 lbs a lot more on Hyundai’s quantities – but 3340 lbs is even now rather svelte for a crossover.
The automobile you see right here is in European spec and was driven in the Uk. Visible distinction from the common mall rat Kona comes from a trio of added intakes below the hood, bigger entrance air intakes, 19-inch alloys and – at the back again – a unusual faux diffuser in the rear bumper, its non-performing features both equally shallow and in the vicinity of vertical. The N also loses the grey plastic sill cladding of the standard motor vehicle for a body shade finish which helps make it glimpse lumpier.
The cabin redresses the gray plastic shortfall with heaps of dim, hard components. Conventional gear is generous, including digital devices, a 10.3-inch touchscreen and nicely-bolstered microfiber sports seats with equally heating and cooling. Like the Veloster N, the Kona’s steering wheel functions two ‘N’ buttons, moreover a new one – crimson, with ‘NGS’ created on it: N Grin Change. We’ll circle again to that.
As with the Veloster, Hyundai is providing a myriad of dynamic settings. In real truth, in all probability far too lots of – you could spend your existence chasing the best setup and hardly ever explore it. In addition to the standard Eco, Ordinary and Sport modes there is an extremely aggressive N environment intended for monitor use – picking out this receives an animated blaze of fireplace managing close to the perimeter of the rev counter to reveal its seriousness. Over and above this there are two programmable N custom made configurations, with every single allowing for the option of Normal, Sport and Activity Moreover modes for engine, transmission, ability steering, LSD, exhaust noise and active dampers. There is also an ESC Sport method in addition full deactivation.
Yet regardless of the mix of options picked out, the essentials stay fantastic. The engine is tractable and appears gravelly very low down, but revs willingly to its 6500 rpm limiter and helps make significantly rorty noises as it does so. The twin-clutch transmission shifts cleanly and immediately when doing the job as an automobile or less than handbook management, and will get impressively snappy in its far more intense modes. The steering excess weight is a little significant irrespective of setting, and while front-axle reactions are eager and precise there is minimal feeling of lower-stage feed-back. But the major perception is the stiffness of the suspension, likely to preserve the Kona’s increased heart of gravity in look at. Even with dampers in their softest setting it felt organization, deciding upon Sport designed it truly feel severe over the bumps that English backroads look to be largely designed up from. And selecting N mode on street seemed to fill the dampers with concrete, the Kona crashing about even small imperfections.
Traction is impressive provided the Kona’s relative lack of pushed wheels. The Pirelli P-Zero tires have to get the job done difficult to get the engine’s boosty output on to the floor, but only the mixture of massive throttle openings and lumpy surfaces developed any of the doggy-on-a-leash sense of torque steer. The clever minimal slip differential works to optimize grip below acceleration, but fights difficult to retain the Kona on a chosen line in a corner, specifically in the more intense dynamic modes. Even at street speeds the chassis shows an impressive sum of throttle steerability, the car’s angle tightening nicely when the accelerator is eased. Over and above the punishing ride, cruising refinement is in fact fairly first rate.
Hyundai even permit me on a observe so I could knowledge the Kona beneath better masses, even though not just one truly developed for the motor vehicle. Or certainly any other. The Shenington Kart Circuit in close proximity to Banbury is just one of the oldest in Europe, opened in 1959 soon right after U.S. servicemen introduced karting to the United kingdom. I acquired to drive the Kona on the track’s longest .75-mile configuration, exactly where it proved both secure beneath braking and capable to struggle understeer in the (numerous) restricted turns. Turning off the steadiness control proved the N could be persuaded to oversteer with intense mid-corner excess weight transfer – another Veloster trait. It also has a mechanical e-brake, 1 the official press package features will “allow adventurous drivers to get pleasure from slides.” Offered the encouragement it would have been remiss of me not to working experience my first handbrake switch in a push vehicle for quite a few decades.
Shenington also seemed like the clear position to encounter the N Grin Change purpose. This provides a 10hp overboost for 20 seconds – a dashboard timer counting down immediately after it is pressed – despite the fact that I could not feeling any maximize in by now forceful full-throttle acceleration. The transmission also switches down to its least expensive possible ratio. The resulting sound and fury built me grimace rather than grin it does not seem to do anything at all outside of what the accelerator’s kickdown perform would. Yet another active perform places the car or truck into its N method when a ‘bends ahead’ indicator is detected that a person was also quickly deactivated.
A car with hundreds of configurable dynamic configurations could possibly appear to be lacking in self-assurance, but the fundamental principles of the Kona N are potent more than enough that its myriad of capabilities can be regarded as toys. On the first expertise of this Euro-spec variation the abrasive ride high quality is the only substantive criticism, anything that could effectively be tweaked for the our facet of the Atlantic. The Kona N is greater and heavier than its Veloster sister, and some of that new mass is bigger than it optimally should be. But there is no question that the two automobiles share the identical rowdy spirit.
Hyundai Kona N
Engine: 1998cc four-cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: 8-velocity twin-clutch, entrance-wheel push
Power (hp): 276 @ 6000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 289 @ 2100 rpm
-62mph: 5.5-sec (with start control)
Top velocity: 149mph
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