Hyundai Kona is the most popular model of the Korean brand in Canada. In order to stay competitive, Hyundai has updated the aesthetics of its small SUV for 2022. It has also received several improvements in terms of safety and multimedia systems.
Although the 100% electric variant attracts a lot of attention, it is the gasoline model that continues to attract the vast majority of sales. Hyundai is trying to break into the performance model niche with the 276-hp Kona N engine, but also the less radical N Line version. This is what we tested in this report.
The Kona price range is between $24,538 and $42,438, including shipping and handling fees. Our trial version costs $30,638.
The Hyundai Kona is a compact SUV and its main competitors are Chevrolet Trailblazer, Honda HR-V, Kia Niro/Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Qashqai, Subaru Crossstroke and Volkswagen Taos to name a few. The Kona was appreciated for its attractive design and wide model range, at the expense of somewhat limited boot and rear passenger space.
On board, the Kona N line showcases a simple yet functional aesthetic. It has all the controls – radio and air conditioning – in the form of physical buttons. However, one of the downsides regarding the cabin atmosphere: everything is black and very discreet.
The seats provide good leg and back support, although there is no lumbar adjustment. The seat and back could be a little longer to accommodate tall people. Aesthetically, the seats are decorated with red stitching and the N logo, Hyundai’s performance division.
The instrument panel features analog gauges and an easy-to-use 4.2-inch multifunction display. As for the multimedia system, it includes an 8-inch screen. The latter is distinguished by being exemplary in terms of ergonomics. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on the list.
On the road, the Kona N line adopts a rather playful ride. The suspension leans toward the firmness, but without being boisterous, and the 18-inch rims give it good control. With its short wheelbase, the compact secondary handles with ease, especially around town.
In terms of powertrain, Hyundai uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder block. It produces 195 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 195 pound-feet of torque from 1600 to 4500 rpm. The engine is mated to an all-wheel drive system and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
We bring to your attention the latter, as it does not provide the expected return. In fact, although the box is soft in normal driving, it struggles to reduce speed effectively during sudden acceleration.
You have to wait several tenths of a second – if not a few seconds – while gear changes are supposed to be almost instantaneous. The problem is partially resolved when we engage in manual mode.
Another issue we want to highlight is deals with efficient stop/start system. Instead of waiting for your car to come to a complete stop before turning off the engine, the technology is gradually activated while the car is parked. As a result, the engine speed rises and falls, giving you the impression that the mill is about to stop and finally shuts down. In short, calibration must be reviewed.
At the end of the test, the instrument panel indicated a consumption of 7.5 l / 100 km. That’s a somewhat optimistic rating, because we calculated 8.2 l/100 km at the pump, which is the same number as Natural Resources Canada.
Hyundai Smart Sense
The Kona N line includes both active and passive SmartSense safety elements such as: lane tracking system, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Also in the catalog is a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross traffic alert.
On long trips, you can activate cruise control and then power steering to give the impression of (almost) semi-autonomous driving. Of course, when you take your hands off the steering wheel, a witness asks you to put them back on the steering wheel.
For a reasonable price, the Hyundai Kona N Line 2022 offers great driving pleasure while still maintaining practicality, although cargo space is still limited. The main downsides are the darkened cabin, the stop/start system and transmission: items that could benefit from a rework. However, the Hyundai Kona N Line is definitely a product that has a lot to offer.