Hyundai Kona N review

Category: Sports SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear right tracking
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 front cornering
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear right tracking
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior dashboard
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior rear seats
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior infotainment
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 right tracking
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 front tracking
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 front cornering
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear left tracking
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 alloy wheel detail
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear light detail
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 badge detail
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 skirt detail
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior front seats
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior driver display
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 boot open
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 front cornering
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear right tracking
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior dashboard
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior rear seats
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior infotainment
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 right tracking
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 front tracking
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 front cornering
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear left tracking
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 alloy wheel detail
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear light detail
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 badge detail
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 skirt detail
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior front seats
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 interior driver display
  • Hyundai Kona N 2021 boot open
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Hyundai Kona N's 2.0-litre T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine generates 276bhp and plenty of shove. Hyundai says that takes it from 0-62mph in just 5.5sec, which is more than a second faster than the Ford Puma ST.

While the Kona N is not quite as responsive as the ST, with a moment of lag when you put your foot down while the turbocharger starts to spin up, it feels faster when it comes alive. By 3,000rpm, it's pushing you into your seat.

Now, back to the gearbox. Your only option is the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, so the Kona N misses out on some of the more mechanical interaction you’ll get from the Puma ST’s standard manual 'box. It's quick to switch through the gears, though, and in auto mode it does a reasonable job of keeping you in the powerband.

In the normal, most relaxed drive mode setting, the steering is direct, with a good amount of weight to it. The suspension is satisfyingly firm, leading to little body lean and plenty of grip through corners.

Switching to the more aggressive Sport or N mode adds increasing amounts of steering weight and firmer suspension, to the point that N is best left for a race track, and is certainly too much for around town. You can mix and match these settings with the N Custom mode if you wish.

Around town, it's not quite as pliant as the Puma ST, which does a better job of taking the edge off potholes and larger imperfections. The Kona N fails to settle down on the motorway, which makes long journeys a little tiring. Wind noise is minimal, but there’s a fair amount of road noise from the big, 19in wheels and tyres, which are tailor-made for the model by Pirelli.

You get an old-school manual handbrake in the Kona N and Hyundai says it’s there to "allow the adventurous to enjoy slides". Take from that what you will.

Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear right tracking
New car deals
Save up to £760
Target Price from £35,060
Save up to £760
or from £431pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Used car deals
From £32,079
Leasing deals
From £496pm