Motor Authority Finest Automobile To Purchase 2023 finalist


Can the Hyundai Kona N do what its sibling couldn’t and change into a Motor Authority Finest Automobile To Purchase winner? It’s enjoyable sufficient that it would.

The Hyundai Veloster N almost gained the Motor Authority Finest Automobile To Purchase 2020 award, nevertheless it was bested by the Porsche 911. Now Hyundai’s entered the ring with a extra sensible bundle and the identical smile-inducing powertrain. Possibly it’ll rewrite historical past.

The Veloster N gave its life for the Kona N (and Elantra N) to dwell. Pour one out for the Veloster, however don’t be too unhappy as a result of the Kona N’s a hoot.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

Packing the identical 2.0-liter turbo-4 as different N fashions with 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque, the Kona N is extroverted with its snap, crackle, and pop exhaust. It’s laborious to not snigger behind the wheel when hitting the NGS overboost button and energy output juices to 286 hp for brief bursts. Sadly, it’s a must to wait 40 seconds earlier than utilizing the enjoyable perform once more.

Like its N brethren, the Kona N sends all the facility to the entrance wheels, and an ordinary digital limited-slip differential gives as a lot management as it could possibly. Torque steer sneaks in however is usually properly managed.

Not like its sedan and now-dead hatch siblings, the Kona N house owners can’t #GiveAShift as no guide transmission choice is accessible. Each Kona N encompasses a quick-shifting 8-speed dual-clutch automated transmission and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Whereas not a rocket, the Kona N is a lot fast, with the flexibility to tear off 0-60 mph sprints in 5.2 seconds.

The Kona N actually shines on a twisty again highway. The automobile turns into its finest self in Sport+ mode, which provides the engine a high-strung character because the revs keep excessive to maintain the facility on boil.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

N Mode, simply accessed through a steering wheel button, has a time and a spot, nevertheless it’s finest left for the racetrack or a clean highway. In N mode, each response will get cranked to 11, which is nice for energy and dealing with, however on a rutted or bumpy highway the Kona N may pulverize kidney stones, in response to Senior Editor Kirk Bell.

Fast turn-in response and direct steering spotlight the Kona N’s character as a wild baby on backroads. At $35,495, its enjoyable issue can embarrass sports activities automobiles costing twice as a lot.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

Whereas the Kona N sports activities distinct entrance and rear fascias from the usual lineup, it’ll take a eager eye to appreciate what the N is. Twin spherical exhaust suggestions poke out from the rear bumper, a rear roof spoiler controls airflow, aspect skirts lengthen the rockers a bit, and the entrance has barely bigger intakes with some blacked-out bits. It’s not almost as in-your-face because the Elantra N with its trunk-mounted wing.

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

2022 Hyundai Kona N

Inside, the Kona N comes properly outfitted with a ten.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a ten.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and sport bucket entrance seats.

The Kona N isn’t excellent. A lot of the funds was spent on the powertrain, leaving the inside a sea of laborious, low-cost plastics, although that’s not stunning given its economic system automobile roots. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto require a wire. The entrance seats sit excessive and that creates loads of head toss and physique lean; virtually each editor commented on the bizarre seating place. Whereas barely extra sensible and helpful than the Elantra N and Veloster N, these siblings supply the Kona N’s powertrain in a much less awkward driving place and include an accessible guide transmission to attraction to purists.

Will the Kona N’s charming dynamics and funds value be sufficient to win over two different sizzling hatches, an outrageous SUV, a luxurious EV, and a sport sedan? Test again on Jan. 4 once we reveal the winner, together with the champs from our sister websites, The Automobile Connection and Inexperienced Automobile Studies.

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