Confirmed: Hyundai is working on Kona N compact crossover
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Ever since Hyundai unveiled their i30 N hot-hatch competitor, the motoring press haven't stopped talking about it. Prepare yourself for that fever to hit New Zealand in full force when the South Korean marque start importing them here en masse.
But the i30 isn't the only car to get an 'N' treatment. The Veloster gets one (whether Kiwis will get it is another matter entirely), and a new development from UK publication AutoExpress could see the funky Kona SUV also grow a hot N variant.
Speaking to the outlet, Hyundai's N performance head Albert Biermann — one of the many former BMW and Volkswagen Group staffers drafted for the lofty project — confirmed that a Kona N prototype is currently being worked on.
“I’ve told them to build the car and we’ll see what happens with getting it approved," he said.
"It has to be the i30 N power-train, really. Of course, we can give Kona different specifications on suspension and steering, although there are some common components we can use in that area as well, because it’ll be front-wheel drive, like the i30 N. But we already know that it has to be that car’s engine and gearbox for the Kona N."
Performance-flavoured SUVs are of course nothing new in 2018, as they continue to lead passenger cars in the sales and registration stakes. But of course many of those models are sporty by name and appearance, less so by actual nature ...
A Kona N on the other hand, especially if it's just going to be filled with the i30's popping and banging four-pot (the lower-tier 184kW version, according to AutoExpress), could actually be a bit of a scrambler.
The trick will be suspension and steering tuning, given the Kona's high-riding platform as well as the potential need to cradle a different kind of customer.
Nonetheless, we'll keep our ears to the ground on the 'KonaN' and its chances of hitting production.