Hyundai's hot little

rascal on track

Hyundai Kona N
Hyundai Kona N overhead
Hyundai Kona N track action
Hyundai Kona N track action head on
Hyundai Kona N track action rear
Hyundai Kona N cockpit

THEY claim that it has ‘racetrack capability' - and with a top speed just short of 150mph, acceleration from 0-60mph in less than 5.5 seconds and a host of high-performance driving gubbins, the new Hyundai Kona N has all the right credentials.

But whether or not potential owners would want to thrash a compact SUV around a track is open for debate.

Even so, the Korean company's first hot SUV will undoubtedly be an agile performer on the road and when it eventually arrives in the UK - at an as-yet undisclosed date in the future - it will herald an intensive launch programme which will see Hyundai extending its N performance and N-Line trim ranges to 18 models by the end of next year including variants in each major vehicle segment, raising the prospect of an N version of the recently launched new Tucson SUV.

Announcing its future plans at a digital event dubbed as ‘Hyundai N Day', the company also hinted at the possibility of high-performance battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell powered models in the future. The company says that its dedicated battery electric vehicle platform, recently introduced on the all-new Ioniq 5, "offers tremendous flexibility and possibilities".

According to Thomas Schemera, Hyundai's executive vice president: "The future will be electric, maybe even hydrogen-powered, or even a combination of both, but N brand will always be focused on delivering driving fun - no matter what technology is under the hood."

The Kona N is powered by the same two-litre turbocharged 280PS GDI engine and eight-speed wet dual clutch transmission with the recently launched i30 N and comes with an electronic limited slip differential, launch and traction control systems, a variable exhaust valve system and high-performance brakes and tyres.

It sits on 19-inch lightweight forged wheels and stand-out features include a front lip spoiler, wide lower air intake, a double-wing roof spoiler and side skirts all of which also enhance aerodynamic efficiency and provide styling cues that, according to Hyundai ‘declare its racetrack readiness'.

It's expected to cost around £31,000 when it eventually becomes available at UK dealerships and for that you'll get a full suite of driver convenience and safety tech including forward collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping and lane following assistance, driver attention warning, high beam assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance alert, safe exit warning and smart cruise control.

Hyundai describes the new Kona N as a ‘corner rascal' and, for owners who do want to test that claim out on their nearest race track, it even comes with a customisable button which can be used to turn on a lap timer.

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