The Hyundai Kona is a subcompact crossover that uniquely bridges the gap between powerful SUV and agile hatchback, combining a reassuringly chunky design with perky performance that's great fun to drive. The lineup was originally released in 2018, but has received an update for the 2022 model year that's sure to cement its leading place in the subcompact best-sellers lists.
But the Kona range doesn't end there. Also new in 2022 is the Hyundai Kona N, a sports-inspired variation on the theme which keeps all the character and convenience of the original, but takes the performance to a completely different level.
Which of the two Kona versions is right for you? Here's our 2022 Hyundai Kona vs. Kona N comparison to help you decide.
Clearing Up the Confusion: Hyundai Kona, Kona N, or Kona N Line?
There's a potential for confusion with Hyundai's naming system for the Kona range. Within the regular Kona lineup there's a trim level called Kona N Line, which uses the more powerful of the two engine options available in the main Kona range and adds a little sports flair to the styling.
However, the Kona N - without the Line - is a true high-performance version of the Kona, boasting a much more powerful engine than any in the regular range, as well as a slew of extra engineering features which take it closer to racetrack performance levels. In effect, the Kona N is almost a separate model, while the N Line is one trim option within the regular Kona lineup.
Powertrains and Performance
There are two powertrain configurations available within the main Kona lineup, both providing generous power for a subcompact of this size. The first engine option is a 2.0L four-cylinder design making 147 horsepower and 132lb-ft of torque, passed through a six-speed automatic transmission to either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.
And while the base option is spritely and fun to drive, stepping up to the 1.6L turbo engine makes a real difference in performance, raising the output to a healthy 195 horsepower and 195lb-ft.
But the Kona N takes power to the next level, with its 2.0L turbo engine pushing out a huge 276 horsepower and 289lb-ft, an incredible output for any vehicle in the subcompact segment.
Unique Kona N Performance Features
The Kona N powertrain improvements go far beyond an increase in engine output. An upgraded eight-speed automatic transmission includes five advanced features which take performance to new heights of power and drivability.
- N Grin Shift (NGS) which gives a temporary power boost to 286 horsepower at the touch of a tempting red button on the steering wheel.
- N Power Shift (NPS) which mimics a manual transmission, combining a hands-on feel with the smoothness of automatic.
- N Track Sense Shift (NTS) which senses when you're driving at the limit and automatically adjusts gear shifts for track-worthy performance.
- N Dual Clutch Transmission (NDCT) which channels the engine power with optimized gear ratios and faster upshifts for searing acceleration.
- N Mode which optimizes output and traction for a range of driving styles, including Normal, Eco, Sport, N, and Custom.
The 2022 Kona Electric: High EV Power and Generous Maximum Range
If you're still undecided between the compact power of the Kona and the track-ready performance of the Kona N, there's one more model type available in this versatile SUV lineup. The Kona Electric takes the same body styling and internal comforts of the regular Kona, but replaces the gas powertrain with an all-electric option. Offering an output of 201 horsepower, a maximum range of 412km per charge, and a 0-100km/h acceleration time of just 6.4 seconds, the Kona Electric is a highly impressive entry into the fast-growing electric SUV market.
Key Specs: 2022 Kona Vs. 2022 Kona N Comparison
|Hyundai Kona||Hyundai Kona N|
|Engine||2.0L or 1.6L turbo||2.0L turbo|
|Horsepower||147hp or 195hp||276hp|
|Torque||132lb-ft or 195lb-ft||289lb-ft|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic or 7-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|Drive Type||FWD / AWD||AWD|
Which Kona is Right for You?
The regular Kona lineup offers an enticing blend of compact power and upscale comfort, particularly on the higher trim levels. And as with all modern Hyundai vehicles, it boasts an interior which punches above its weight in terms of technology and features.
But if you're looking for sheer track-ready power in a subcompact frame, you won't find a better option than the Kona N with its greater engine output and advanced transmission options.
And lastly, if you've got an eye on the EV future, then the Kona Electric offers solid power, a generous driving range, and the same high interior quality as its Kona siblings.
Contact us now to book a test drive of any model in the 2022 Kona range, and decide for yourself which of these excellent vehicles is right for you.
You can also plan a trip to the best places to visit in Mississauga, in your new Kona