For folks who just want to go from point A to point B, the base Hyundai Kona is available. But if you itch for some gut-wrenching and pulsating thrill in your ride, there’s our recent test-drive Kona N trim. Forget sport mode. In the 2022 Kona N, there is a N Grin Shift (NGS) red button on the steering wheel, which when activated, goes into overboost drive, so you can have at least 20 seconds of some heavy pedal to the metal! Or toggle the light blue N buttons to set up N1 and N2 program modes such as suspension, steering, stability. In short, you will have a blast playing around in the N, especially if you are on the track.

A 2.0-liter turbo inline-4 cylinder engine blasts off 276 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 289 pounds-feet of torque @ 4700 rpm. Power reaches the front wheels via a crisp-shifting 8-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox. It should come as no surprise that the Kona takes off real quick and comes to a stop at a moment’s notice, thanks to 14.2-inch front and 12.4-inch rear disc brakes.

The subcompact SUV portrays a low and wide stance with a mesh grille flanked by slim DRLs atop LED headlights. That this is not your base Kona is evident from the red imprinted N on not just the exterior badging, fascias and side sill moldings but also on the steering wheel, sport bucket seats, shifter and sill plates. Further enhancing the stylish appearance are alloy pedals and a black headliner along with eye-pleasing leather/suede seats. Our vehicle came with standard 10.25 screens for infotainment as well as digital instrument cluster of speedometer, tachometer, digital and trip odometers. Other goodies include eight-way power driver’s seat, auto a/c, 60/40 rear folding seat, blue accents, tilt/telescopic steering column, Harmon Kardon audio and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay capabilities.

Endless safety features are standard. There are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, electronic stability and traction controls, electronic limited-slip differential, brake assist, blind spot, forward-collision and rear-cross traffic collision avoid assists, front avoid assist, lane keep and follow assists, adaptive cruise control, front crumple zones, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

Base-priced at just $34,200, the addition of the N trim makes the Kona an agile, delightful and a cool SUV to drive. Its daring looks, feisty character (remember the red NGS!) and a reasonable price tag should persuade you to sign on the dotted line.


Tires: P235/40R19

Wheelbase: 102.4 inches

Length: 165.9 inches

Width: 70.9 inches

Height: 61.6 inches

Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multilink rear

Steering: motor-driven power, rack-and-pinion

Weight: 3,020 pounds

Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons

City: 20 mpg

Highway: 27 mpg

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