2022 Hyundai Kona N Line Puts Show Ahead of Go

Hyundai is pushing its N performance brand out into the world by adding the letter N to more models. The N cars split two ways, full-on N models such as the Veloster N are intended for and capable of hot-lapping racetracks, while the so-called N Line vehicles are more focused on street performance and appearance. Hyundai’s first crossover to get the N Line treatment is the Kona, but if the brand wants the letter N to gain credibility, it should consider adding more N into the Kona N Line.

HIGHS: Looks like the 286-hp Kona N, available all-wheel drive, more practical than a Veloster.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

Hyundai’s Sonata and Elantra N Line both get more power and tweaked chassis than their regular-duty counterparts, but the Kona N Line comes with the same turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four that customers can get in the Kona Limited. It is a punchy little engine with 195 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, but it’s not exclusive to the N Line or terribly special. Equipped with optional all-wheel drive, the Kona N Line got to 60 mph in a not-very-impressive 7.3 seconds. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard, but its shifts lack the urgency we’ve come to expect of a dual-clutch automatic.

With no additional power to speak of, the Kona N Line is essentially an appearance package that adds three vents above the grille (also found on the upcoming 286-hp Kona N), body-colored cladding, 18-inch wheels, and dual exhaust tips. The interior features red stitching throughout, metal pedals, and N logos on the steering wheel, gear selector, and seatbacks. It’s a taste of the N life and even looks like the full-on Kona N, but all show and no go isn’t going to win over enthusiasts who value substance and performance.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

LOWS: Same engine as the Kona Limited, all show with no additional go.

The Kona isn’t the only N Line product that doesn’t get any additional firepower; the Tucson N Line is also primarily an appearance package. We’re left thinking that the N Line versions of the brand’s SUVs, at least so far, are more about marketing. Hyundai did inform us that the Kona N Line shares its engine with the Limited to avoid powertrain complexity. We’re not asking for a unique engine, but at least something a little more special than what’s in a Kona Limited.

Michael SimariCar and Driver

Why the Kona N Line exists may be down to Hyundai’s recent killing of the non-N Veloster models. The discontinuation of that car left a gap in the lineup, which is pretty much where the Kona N Line slots in. Like the Veloster, there’s a practical hatchback shape with a price in the mid-$20,000 range. Front-drive N Lines start at $26,925, while all-wheel-drive models start at $1500 more. Those prices are approaching Volkswagen GTI money and more than Honda charged for the last-generation Civic Si. Both of those cars are far quicker and more fun to drive than the Kona. We’d suggest waiting for the real-deal Kona N, as its power will likely back up its looks.

Specifications

Specifications

2022 Hyundai Kona N Line AWD

Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE

Base/As Tested: $28,425/$31,080

Options: Tech package, $2500; floor mats, $155

ENGINE

turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 98 in3, 1598 cm3

Power: 195 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 195 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm

TRANSMISSION

7-speed dual-clutch automatic

CHASSIS

Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 12.0-in vented disc/11.2-in disc

Tires: Goodyear Eagle Touring

235/45R-18 98V M+S

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 102.4 in

Length: 166.0 in

Width: 70.9 in

Height: 61.4 in

Passenger Volume: 93 ft3

Cargo Volume: 19 ft3

Curb Weight: 3287 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS

60 mph: 7.3 sec

1/4-Mile: 15.7 sec @ 90 mph

100 mph: 19.7 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.4 sec.

Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 7.6 sec

Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec

Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.1 sec

Top Speed (C/D est): 130 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 174 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft
Skidpad: 0.87 g

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/City/Highway: 29/27/32 mpg

C/D TESTING EXPLAINED

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Fredrick R. Siegel

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