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2022 Hyundai Kona N to Have 276-HP, 8-Speed Dual-Clutch Transmission

2022 Hyundai Kona N 2022 Hyundai Kona N | Manufacturer image

Few cars have surprised and delighted us as much as the Hyundai Veloster N, which is a rip-roaring good time with its raucous turbocharged four-cylinder and dialed-in chassis. That same Hyundai N tuning — the full-blown N and not the comparatively watered-down N-Line — is coming to the Kona SUV, and the automaker has released a few details about the upcoming performance SUV.

Related: I Bought a 2021 Hyundai Veloster N

It may be a bit of a stretch calling the subcompact Kona an SUV, but it’s a high-riding hatchback with available all-wheel drive, so it counts in our books. What’s not a stretch, however, is that the Kona N could be the more usable, family-friendly hotter-than-hot hatch (or spicier-than-spicy SUV?) versus the funky three-door Veloster.

What We Know

The Kona N will come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making approximately 276 horsepower, according to Hyundai. That’s great news since the Veloster N’s 275-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter is a wicked little engine with a snarling soundtrack and razor-sharp responsiveness that helped it earn our Most Fun-to-Drive award in 2020. Base versions of the Kona and Veloster actually start within 68 pounds of each other (2,890 pounds for the Kona SE versus 2,822 pounds of the Veloster), so we don’t expect an appreciably different power-to-weight ratio that would slow the Kona down much. 

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The Kona N will come with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, just like the Veloster N’s optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. (A six-speed manual is standard in the Veloster N.) And like its sibling, The Kona N’s dual-clutch automatic will have various performance driving modes, including N Grin Shift, N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift, aimed at using different shifting and engine logic for various driving scenarios.

N Power Shift reduces torque management at over 90% throttle to deliver maximum power and that exhaust crackle during upshifting. N Grin Shift is a Sport Plus Plus-type mode that sounds like Porsche’s Sport Response Button and will enter the most aggressive engine and transmission tuning at the push of a button for 20 seconds, denoted by a countdown on the instrument cluster. N Track Sense Shift optimizes transmission shifting for racetrack driving. The Kona’s transmission also will let you turn off the “creep” mode, where the car automatically pulls forward when you let off the brake.          

What We Don’t Know

Details are scant at the moment beyond that. We don’t yet know how much the Kona N will cost, whether it will eventually offer a manual transmission like the Veloster N (unlikely), or whether it will come with all-wheel drive or just front-wheel drive. We’ll learn more about the 2022 Hyundai Kona N closer to when it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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