Hyundai Kona N

Hyundai Kona N, 2022, front
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, side
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, rear
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, interior
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, centre console
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, display screen
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, instrument panel
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, engine
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, exhaust
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, rear seats
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, boot
Hyundai Kona N, 2022, sill

THERE'S no way the SUV craze is going to vanish. It's a style that's going to run and run.

That's why car makers are churning out all sorts of variations based on the central theme of high riding five-doors.

One of the latest, and possibly one of the best, incarnations is the racy Hyundai Kona N, a pocket rocket with family-friendly accommodation that's capable of keeping up with a Porsche Boxster or a BMW 430i Coupe.

Not only is it quick, ie sub-six second to 62mph, but it handles like a go-kart on steroids. Its considerable clout comes from a 2.0-litre, four cylinder petrol turbo which pumps out an impressive 276bhp. No wonder it's rapid.

Coupled to one of the best dual clutch automatics around, the result is an exciting, but practical fun car that wears a price tag around £35,000, much cheaper than much of the opposition.

It looks the part, too. Chunky, of-the-moment styling with red brake callipers, front spoiler and rear diffuser and lots of sassy detail work help make it stand out from the crowd.

As did the test car's paint job in a delicate grey with a contrasting black roof. Black alloys emphasise the sporty nature.

By avoiding the temptation of adding four-wheel-drive, Hyundai has helped save considerable weight and probably aided the handling which is neat, roll-free and satisfyingly exact.

Steering is unusually precise for an SUV allowing the driver to pick out a bend's apex with ease. It is well matched to the chassis which copes well with directional changes and even poor surfaces, despite the low profile rubber. The car's adaptive dampers definitely play a part in making it so compliant.

The Kona N has a number of driving modes to complement its dynamics, and you can further modify its behaviour to suit your own individual needs.

While the Kona N is undoubtedly well made with positive, strong switchgear and a decent clunk when the doors close, it doesn't quite feel like a premium product in the way that Audi or BMW manage.

On the practical side of things, the N has all the family commonsense attributes of the basic Kona, with a decent sized 361litre boot, plenty of storage bins and flat surfaces on which to rest stuff when parked. There's also a useful hidey-hole to place valuables beneath the boot floor.

No electric boot lift, but it hardly needs assistance and the weight saved is definitely of benefit.

Front seats are well shaped and electrically adjustable, while room in the back is sufficient for a couple of adults. Legroom in the rear is adequate rather than generous.

Perhaps the weakest link is fuel consumption. We struggled to squeeze much more than 34mpg over long, albeit fast, runs. Much of this is down to the car's enticingly and eager nature that's so easy to fall victim to.

FAST FACTS

Hyundai Kona N

Price: £35,359

Mechanical: 2.0-litre, 4 cyl, 276bhp, petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 149mph

0-62mph: 5.6secs

Combined MPG: 33.2

Insurance Group: 27

C02 emissions: 194g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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