Hyundai has revealed the Kona N, the first SUV to join the firm’s range of performance models.
It follows a similar ethos to the i30 N hot hatchback by bringing aggressive styling and motorsport-inspired technology that should deliver a thrilling driving experience.
Under the bonnet sits a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which has been beefed up for better durability and received unique ratios to deliver sharper acceleration.
The powertrain makes 276bhp and contributes to a top speed of 149mph and 0-60mph time of 5.5 seconds – even in its base trim, the Kona N gets launch control, too.
To make the most of the power, the SUV gets an electronic limited-slip differential that controls the torque delivery to the front wheels to maximise grip in corners and when accelerating. This is further helped through lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels and grippy tyres.
The exterior styling has also been given an overhaul to match the car’s sporty ambitions, such as the new wheels, front lip spoiler, double-wing roof spoiler and side skirts. It has also been launched in a new Sonic Blue paint job that’s similar to the traditional Performance Blue used on Hyundai’s N models.
There are minor updates inside, such as blue colour accents, sports seats and steering wheel, shift knob and metal pedals.
Speaking of the new model, Albert Biermann, Hyundai’s head of research and development, said: “Kona N is a true hot SUV with the performance level of a hot hatch. It breaks the rule that SUVs are less fun to drive. As an N model, it goes beyond the limits of an ordinary SUV. Kona N can carve corners on the racetrack and bring excitement to everyday driving.”