Hyundai Kona N spied, uses production-spec body?

A Hyundai Kona N prototype has been spotted out and about in Korean, providing some insight into various design details for the first time. The performance SUV is set to go on sale next year.

The Kona N is well and truly happening. It wasn’t that long ago when the idea seemed like more of a pipe dream. Thanks to this spy image from AutoPost, it looks like Hyundai has started pre-production of prototypes, complete with what looks to be the showroom body.

So far we’ve really only seen test mules with makeshift panels and parts, loosely based on the existing Kona. Take a close look at this mule though and you’ll notice red-highlighted side skirts, and evidence of a sporty rear bumper bar and diffuser.

There’s also twin exhausts with large tips, similar to what’s seen on the i30 N, and unique double-spoke alloy wheels finished in black. Red-painted performance brakes can also be seen hidden behind. A neat front spoiler is also likely.

As for the powertrain, it’s understood the Kona N will feature the upcoming updated 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder that will be used in the i30 N facelift. Rumour has it power could be turned up slightly from the current 202kW output, while Hyundai’s new wet dual-clutch eight-speed automatic is pretty much a given.

According to a leaked production schedule from Hyundai headquarters in South Korea (above), production of the Kona N was set to commence in July. However, the coronavirus pandemic may have caused some delays.

A video has also surfaced on YouTube showing a Kona N prototype being driven and tested around a racing circuit in Korea. It appears to feature the same showroom-ready body as the vehicle in the image above. As the presenter says, the test mule does seem a bit quiet but this could be subject to this specific vehicle only.

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.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.