By on March 10, 2021

Kona N

Hyundai’s New-for 2022 Kona N has been revealed along with the previously-announced Kona, but this time supposedly without masking. A glimpse was provided to tease viewers, and heighten the hype around what they’re calling an addition to their high-performance N division.

Kona N

When an automaker has a designation such as Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division, or BMW’s M cars, the assumption is a much higher level of performance and sophistication. So far, the N in this Hyundai isn’t described as much more than a styling tweak here or there as it would if it were an N-line vehicle, and that’s been it for their self-proclaimed motorsport inspiration. With Hyundai Motorsport’s World Rally Championship team winning a second consecutive Manufacturers’ title last year, or as our astute readers pointed out, the differences between the i30N, i30 Fastback N, or Veloster N and their base models, there’s plenty of inspiration, it just doesn’t appear to have made its way to this model yet. But given the difference between the N and N-Line (the former is a performance trim, the other usually signifies an appearance package), it’s almost a given it will.

Kona N

It’s difficult to get too excited about the headlights or the shape of the grille, and how it was inspired by the fuselage of an airplane. Maybe if it was related to the Kona N’s higher top end speed, or the N logo on the grille was good for another 50 HP, that might raise our level of interest.

Kona N

If they’ve learned nothing from the Japanese or European marques, it’s that a large double-wing roof spoiler does not make it a performance car. A third triangular brake light is also supposedly competition-inspired, but exactly how?  The Kona N dual exhaust mufflers aren’t called out because they are less restrictive and good for 3-5 HP over that of the base Kona, any more than a large diffuser on the rear bumper does anything other than maybe catch road debris.

Kona N

Body-colored fenders are a big deal on certain Jeep models, but much less so on the Kona N, other than to visually bring them closer to the ground, something a set of lowering springs would actually do. If the Kona N is expected to join Hyundai’s N division, it’s going to take a lot more than they’ve divulged so far.

[Images: Hyundai Motor America]


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13 Comments on “2022 Hyundai Kona N Uncovered – Again [Updated]...”

  • avatar

    Excuse me? “So far, the N in Hyundai hasn’t signified much more than a styling tweak here or there, and that’s been it for their self-proclaimed motorsport inspiration.”
    I think the author is confusing the “N-Line” trim designation with the true N vehicles. The i30N, i30 Fastback N and Veloster N have a lot more differences from the base vehicles than just styling.

    A lot of manufacturers, including BMW and Mercedes with their M-Sport and AMG-Line, offer trim lines inspired by their motorsport divisions, so to criticise Hyundai as doing something different when they are doing exactly the same is rather unfair.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I think he is criticizing it because so far only styling tweaks have been revealed, but it is listed as an N…not an “N Line”. If they give it an actual performance boost that the N cars are associated with nobody will care.

      Like if BMW sold an M-Sport (which when I was shopping included some suspension goodies and better seats) as an actual M.

      And they absolutely criticize the other makers when the “line” package consists of stickers and blacked out trim.

  • avatar

    ^^ what he said

    Put a stick in it and my wife would likely trade her ’18 Kia Soul Turbo with crummy DCT tranny in on one. Apparently their more recent DCT in the Veloster N is decent, but the “first effort” one in the Soul is awful (especially after the VW DSG she’d had in the past).

  • avatar


    • 0 avatar

      Ha! You beat me to it. Was going to comment that I prefer the name Konan to Kona. I guess they don’t make hyphens available on those Euro plates.

      This is kind of a neat vehicle, sufficiently different styling compared to most in this compact crossover class. The Ironman version was interesting/creative, though I doubt it did much for sales.

    • 0 avatar


  • avatar

    Does it come standard with whatever electronics that catch the standard vehicles on fire? Like, you know, the 380,000 other H/K vehicles under recall and a warning to park ’em outside?

    35 years ago, souped-up Hondas gave the impression that someone cared about the overall package. There was a spitit to them. By comparison, H/K vehicles strike me as cardboard cutouts designed out of catalogue parts, and styled by renegade Europeans bribed, er hired, to do that aspect. Underneath is the same basic set of parts. The works rally team uses bespoke engineering and are completely different. So if anyone thinks an N or N-Line is anything more than a least cost play from a Hyundai loathe to lose even one sale in any niche whatsoever, where they are inevitably not at the top of production engineering design, they’re likely mistaken. A more grasping corporate ethos than Hyundai is difficult to contemplate. They are intense;y greedy, and not for customer satisfaction, just their own. Push, push, push, push. Good thing there are alternatives in the market.

  • avatar

    Eh koni moi koni priveredlivye.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay


  • avatar

    Hope that this Kona N is AWD, and not FWD only. I live in the Northeast, and without AWD would not be considered for purchase.

  • avatar

    “and without AWD would not be considered for purchase.”

    You sir is what’s wrong with America… (kidding).

    I do also live in the Northeast though and don’t want AWD unless I can turn it off for the 98.9% of the time I wouldn’t need it.

  • avatar

    Thank you for tweaking the video to not follow me down the screen!

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