2021 Hyundai Kona N SUV: price, specs and release date

Nick Lette van Oostvoorne
January 12, 2021

The upcoming Hyundai Kona N has been teased in official images before this sporty new SUV makes its public debut later in 2021. 

  • Hot SUV on the cards
  • 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine
  • Expected to have 250hp
  • 275hp Performance model
  • Automatic gearbox confirmed
  • Front-wheel drive likely
  • Should go on sale in 2021
  • Likely to cost from £30,000

The Hyundai Kona N will be the firm’s first sporty SUV and a direct alternative to the likes of the VW T-Roc R and the Ford Puma ST. It’ll use the same engine as the fantastic i30 N hot hatch and is expected to go on sale before the end of 2021. Read on for everything we know so far.

2021 Hyundai Kona N design

Catch a sneak peek of the new Kona N

Prototype versions of the Hyundai Kona N have already been spotted, but these photos are the first official images from Hyundai. Although slightly more revealing, they still leave a fair bit to the imagination…

What’s certain is that the new car will get a sportier body kit than the standard Kona, along with larger wheels, lowered suspension and a smattering of bright red bits to help you tell them apart. Red brake callipers will be another dead giveaway, as will the chunky rear spoiler and a set of much larger exhaust tips.

Check out those exhaust pipes – pretty huge for a small SUV…

The new Kona N also previews a few tweaks you can expect to see on the standard Kona in the coming months – specifically new light clusters front and rear. The headlights on the Kona N get a pointier, more angular shape while the rear lights below the brake lights get a less blocky design, too.

2021 Hyundai Kona N interior

The standard Kona’s interior, shown here, will get a few sporty upgrades for the new N model. 

Hyundai didn’t change a great deal about the standard i30’s cabin when it made the sportier i30 N, so you can expect more of the same from the Kona N. Sure, there’ll be a few sporty extras (such as new seats, a few N badges and a fancier leather steering wheel) but the overall layout will be almost identical.

The new Kona N will feature the selectable driving modes, just like the i30N. 

Just like the i30 N and i20 N hot hatches, the new Kona N will get a range of driving modes, accessible using an extra button on the steering wheel. This’ll let you quickly switch from comfortable commuting mode to a lairy back-road blast setup in just a few clicks.

2021 Hyundai Kona N engine

The Kona N is expected to get the same engine as the i30 N with up to 275hp.

The new Hyundai Kona N will come with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. This will almost certainly be the same engine used in the i30 N, which produces 250hp as standard and 275hp in Performance versions. This would position the Kona N roughly halfway between the 200hp Ford Puma ST and the 300hp Volkswagen T-Roc R in terms of on-paper performance.

Hyundai has also confirmed that the new Kona N will come with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox – much like the auto ‘box you get in a VW T-Roc R as standard. It isn’t known whether Hyundai will also offer a six-speed manual gearbox, as in the i30 N.

2021 Hyundai Kona N driving

Selectable driving modes will let you choose between sporty and more comfortable setups. 

The standard Hyundai Kona isn’t much to write home about (in terms of how it drives, at least) but that should all change with this new N model. The i30 N is a seriously good car to drive and Hyundai’s brainiest engineers should be capable of transplanting at least some of this grin-inducing power into the new Kona N.

Watch our i30 Fastback N video review

Stiffer suspension should stop its body leaning much in tight corners, while upgraded brakes and gripper tyres should make it feel more manoeuvrable, too. There’ll also be launch control – presumably to help make sure you nab that last parking spot on the school run.

It’s also likely the Kona N will take a leaf out of the i30 N hot hatchback’s book, and only be available with front-wheel drive, with an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential likely being used to keep wheel spin to a minimum.

2021 Hyundai Kona N price and release date

The Hyundai Kona N will cost more than the new i20 N and existing i30 N, shown here.

Hyundai hasn’t announced how much the new Kona N will cost, but you can expect to need around £30,000 to park one on your driveway. That’s a few thousand pounds more than a high-spec version of the standard Kona.

If you can’t wait that long, head over to our VW T-Roc R deals pages to check out the latest deals on one of the best small-but-fast SUVs around.

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