A true hot hatch with a dash of extra ride height, the Kona N offers plentiful performance – if you can accept the trade-off in comfort that entails
Given the growth of the Hyundai Kona line-up to span multiple powertrains ranging from mild hybrid to full electric and the simultaneous expansion of the firm’s N performance division, it was perhaps inevitable the two would metaphorically cross over into this Kona N.While high-riding hot crossovers might not please purists, they certainly make sense from both an economic and philosophical standpoint, given the increasing popularity of SUVs. And with the likes of the Ford Puma ST and Volkswagen T-Roc R on the market, why shouldn’t Hyundai get in on the act?To Hyundai’s credit, it hasn’t used the inherent contradictions of a performance SUV as an excuse to not take the Kona N seriously. Alex Eichler, Hyundai’s executive expert for performance vehicle testing, said that the goal was to imbue the Kona N with “performance as close to the i30 N as possible”.That aim is clearly felt when driving the Kona N – which is both a positive and a negative.The Kona N is easy to distinguish from its mild-mannered siblings through a host of bespoke N design features, including a bespoke mesh grille, 19in wheels (wrapped in bespoke Pirelli tyres), a rear spoiler and large twin exhaust pipes. It’s something like an automotive honey badger: it’s all very cute, but with a hint of the aggressiveness that lurks under the surface.