2021 Hyundai Kona N officially previewed, confirmed for Australia

January 12, 2021

Hyundai has sent out a preview and indeed the first official confirmation of the Kona N high-performance small SUV. An Australian market arrival has also been confirmed for later this year.

The Kona N has been spotted in prototype form on numerous occasions over the past year or so. However, Hyundai has remained tight-lipped about it so far. In other words, we all knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. Well, it’s almost here now and it will become the only high-performance SUV in its class.

In fact, its closest competitors are from the premium small SUV class. Models such as the BMW X2 M35i and Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 offer the closest on-paper specs. A point of difference though, the Kona N is likely to be more affordable than those. Speaking about the new model, Till Wartenberg, head of N Brand at Hyundai, said:

“As N brand’s first ‘hot SUV’, KONA N will offer plenty of versatility and driving thrills that N-thusiasts have come to expect from the brand. You can take this vehicle anywhere – from road to the track.”

The new model will feature a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, likely producing the updated 206kW output from the i30 N facelift. And it’s been confirmed the Kona N will come equipped with the company’s beaut new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

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Although it would be interesting to see this with all-wheel drive, the Kona N is set to be front-wheel drive only. However, launch control has been confirmed and there’s potential for a proper limited-slip differential like the i30 N to ensure optimum cornering grip and performance.

Hyundai says it will announce more details of the Kona N in the coming weeks. This will be one of eight new N or N Line models arriving on the market this year.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.