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Hyundai has taken the wraps off the all-new Kona N, an urban compact high-performance hot SUV that combines exhilarating performance with a balanced day-to-day driving experience. The Kona has the honour of being the first SUV model to join the N brand line-up and is set apart by its SUV body type, paired with powerful, N-specific driving features. This is an ideal mix as it combines the fun-to-drive experience of a hot hatch with the versatility of an SUV.

For sure, drivers will appreciate its powerful engine and emotional sound experience, while also benefitting from the perfect size and practicality for urban life, including an extensive list of safety features. Hyundai are targeting customers who are looking for a high performance vehicle that suits the various needs of different lifestyles, including an exhilarating experience on the race track. The latest member of the N brand family comes with a four-cylinder two T-GDI 280 PS flat power engine and a highly distinctive, sporty design.

Various motorsport-inspired features contribute to an all-around dynamic driving experience and include lightweight, 19 inch forged alloy wheels, special sports seats, and an emotional sound experience. The eight speed Dual-Clutch Transmission (N DCT) allows for an even more sporty, high-performance character, this an SUV with the performance level of a hot hatch. For example the dash from start using launch control to 100kph (62mph) takes a mere 5.5 seconds, now that is impressive.

The N Grin Control System offers customers a high level of customisation, with five distinct drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N and Custom; these drive modes change the character of the car by adjusting the operating parameters of the engine, Electronic Stability Control, exhaust sound, and steering to optimise them for a variety of driving conditions. In the Custom mode, drivers can select settings from a variety of other driving modes. This hot number from Hyundai comes with a giant helping of on road presence and it combines the modern design of the new base car with the bold and dynamic language of N models. With a 4,215-mm length, 1,800-mm width, and 1,565-mm height, the newcomer is 10 mm longer than the new Kona and just as long as the new sporty N Line trim. At 2,600 mm, the wheelbase, compared with the base car, remains unchanged. Looking at the practical side, a total of 361 litres of storage space, which should satisfy most customers. Designed very much with a focus on maximum weight reduction and high strength, the lightweight 19- inch forged alloy wheels add to a great stance and very sporty appearance.

The exterior design features understated, body-coloured design elements with N-exclusive red accents. At the front a shark nose is complemented by large air openings that fulfil the cooling needs of the powerful N-tuned engine and the front splitter of the bumper has been increased in size by 10 mm to improve aerodynamic drag and balance. The lower grille was inspired by aeronautic fuselage and conveys a message of aerodynamic efficiency and speed while body-coloured claddings emphasise the width and bring the vehicle closer to the ground. At the rear, the large, double-wing roof spoiler dominates the view, providing the necessary balance to keep the car on the road. Customers will also notice the iconic triangular third brake light. Lower down on the rear bumper, a large diffuser enhances the airflow departure and minimises turbulence; red accent line and two large exhaust mufflers further emphasise the performance spirit.

Moving to the interior- a performance-oriented look and feel optimised for high performance driving. One feature that stands out is the N-exclusive sport steering wheel, which features a design optimised for the perfect grip and button layout necessary for dynamic driving. Two customisable N buttons on the steering wheel allow for any type of pre-set to be mapped according to individual needs for even more ease of operation, and paddle shifters make it possible for the driver to switch gears without taking their hands off the wheel. The N-branded handbrake features non-slip perforated leather and a thicker grip area for a more secure braking performance. An eye catching feature is the exclusive Performance Blue stitching and high-quality metal pedals, and exclusive sports seats. N logos on the gear shift, hand brake, door scuff, and seats and the new model is available with an exclusive N colour package featuring one-tone Black with cloth, leather, or suede seats.

The Kona N is available with an extensive list of Hyundai SmartSense active safety and convenience features for added peace of mind, such as Rear Seat Alert and Safe Exit Warning which specifically contribute to the protection of all passengers.

Ian Lynas

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