Car Review: Hyundai turns up the sport with the Kona N

With more crossovers and SUVs being sold now, where do you go for higher performance motoring? The latest version of the popular Hyundai Kona might be for you.

While most of the tiny crossovers are good for commuting and have just enough power to get by, Hyundai has given power hungry fans something to cheer about. With 276hp, this little crossover really will surprise you and other cars on the road with its quick acceleration.

The Kona N also impresses with high handling limits. You choose the type of Kona N you want with a twist of a knob. Choosing the full-on sportiest N Grin control mode might be a bit rough on all but smoother pavement, but wow it really wakes up this Kona.

Big powerful brakes quickly and effectively slow down this quick ride.

The Kona N also has a sportier look than other Kona models to help this quick ride standout. The N exclusive front fascia gives the little crossover a menacing-looking grin thanks to slender LED lighting and several grills up front. The large 19-inch wheels and low-profile summer tires fill the flared fenders nicely, and large red brake calipers peek from behind to say this is more sport than crossover.

Out back, the Kona N has a rear spoiler and large dual exhaust pipes to complete its racy style.

The cabin is fitted with power sport seats up front and some racy-looking aluminum pedals. The sport seats do a nice job of keeping you in place, but those with wider frames might find it restrictive.

For a small crossover, the back seat is good for most adults with nice head and legroom for this class of crossover. The Kona N steering wheel looks more as if it belongs in a race car than a crossover. Its paddle shifters are behind the wheel. The extra red button and N paddles on the front of the wheel really standout.

The large 10.25-inch screen houses easy to use NAV and audio controls, plus N exclusive display with extra gauges and setup menus. Cargo is easy to load thanks to a lower load height, but some other smaller crossovers boast more space.

Cost: As tested, $35,445

MPG: 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway; I managed 23.3 mpg in 229 miles of mixed driving.

Safety: Forward collision-avoidance assist; blind-spot collision warning and assist; lane keeping assist; lane following assist; driver attention warning; blind-spot view monitor; rear cross traffic alert and avoidance; safe exit warning

Things to know: The Kona N is a hot small crossover with 276hp. It acts like a sports car with the ability to double as a family ride, with usable back seat and added cargo space when compared to a small sports car.


  • A fun drive with 276hp and high handling limits.
  • A comfortable and spacious interior for a tiny crossover.
  • The styling will get you noticed.


  • Fuel economy suffers when you have fun behind the wheel.
  • The cargo space is not as large as some other, albeit slower crossovers.
  • Dual clutch transmission feels a bit strange in slower speed situations.

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