Hyundai’s performance N brand seems to be growing exponentially year over year. But there are two versions of Hyundai N vehicles. The proper N performance versions like the Veloster N were designed to tackle the Nurburgring. The N-Line, like this 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line, are a more civilized version of the N Performance cars.
Engine – Just like its cousins – the Elantra N-Line & Sonata N-Line – the 2022 Kona N-Line is more than just all show and no go. It receives a more powerful engine than the standard Kona models. It is a 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder that can produce 195 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque (145 kW & 264 Nm). In a car that tips the scales at pretty hefty 1,503 kg (3,313 lbs), the engine feels peppy and eager to get going. In reality though, it may be a bit more bark than bite because the 0-100 km/h time is just over 7 seconds. But like I said, the engine feels strong from behind the steering wheel. It reaches peak torque below 2,000 rpms and is sustained throughout the mid-range.
Fuel Economy – But even with the extra weight and more powerful engine, the 2022 Kona N-Line doesn’t take a big hit to the fuel economy numbers compared to the standard AWD Kona. The N-Line is rated for 8.8 L/100km (26.7 MPG) in a city and 7.4 L/100km (31.8 MPG) on a highway. During my time with the car, I’ve been averaging around 8.0 L/100km (29.4 MPG). Best of all, the 1.6 turbo engine does not require premium fuel.
Transmission – Paired with the 1.6L engine is a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Unlike the 8-speed DCT in the Veloster N, this 7-speed utilizes a dry clutch. It cannot control as much power as the 8-speed transmission and has a tendency of overheating if it is slipped too many times. This is why the Kona N-Line does not have launch control.
But because this is not a track focused trim of the Hyundai Kona, the 7-speed DCT transmission provides smooth and relatively quick gear changes in a city environment. The reason I say relatively quick changes is because for a dual clutch transmission, it is a tad on the slow side to swap gears. But again, for normal everyday operation, it is just fine.
Braking – Though this is a more sporty version of the Kona, the N-Line’s brakes are not some crazy race derived setup. They’re just regular brakes that provide plenty of stopping power with a good, firm feeling pedal.
Handling – For essentially being a tall hatchback, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line is quite a bit of fun to drive. The steering is direct with a decent amount of weight in the steering effort. It’s not too heavy though so you won’t strain your arms while trying to park the car. But it’s also not too light. It’s a good mix.
In Canada, the Kona N-Line is only available with AWD while in the United States, it is optional. This is not a super sophisticated AWD system but it does have a locking center differential. It’s also clever enough to reduce quite a bit of understeer if you push the car too hard midway and out of a corner. The AWD system will shift the engine’s power efficiently between the front or rear wheels.
Ride Comfort – While the Kona N-Line rides on good looking 18” wheels and lower profile tires, the ride is still compliant on city streets. Of course, like all other cars, you’ll want to avoid the really deep potholes so as to not bend the wheels or burst the tires but over most poorly maintained city streets, it provides a comfortable ride.
Interior Space – For front occupants, the Kona N-Line has more than enough space. At 6’4”, I was surprised by how far back I can move the driver’s seat. Headroom is also plentiful for taller individuals. The story, however, changes like a horror movie when you try to sit in the back seats. Behind my driving position, the legroom is extremely tight. Granted, I am above average in height but extra compact cars like the Mazda CX-30 or Chevrolet Trailblazer have more rear legroom.
In the trunk, the Kona N-Line has a smaller trunk area than most of its competitors. It can accommodate 544 L (19.2 cu-ft) of space with the rear seats up and 1,296 L (45.7 cu-ft) with the rear seats down.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line has a generally quiet cabin. For this 2022 model year, Hyundai gave it an acoustic windshield, more instrument panel insulation and more cargo area insulation. The updates have worked in giving the Kona N-Line a quieter and more isolated feeling cabin.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line AWD starts at $28,199 CAD ($25,850 USD, FWD). This demo vehicle had the Ultimate package equipped which brought up the price to $33,799 CAD ($30,250 USD).
Gadgets – For a little car that costs almost $34,000 CAD, you’d expect the Kona N-Line to be well equipped. I’m happy to say that it is. It has leather upholstery, heated & ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, sunroof, backup camera with parking sensors, head-up display, satellite navigation, wireless phone charging, automatic climate control, and so on.
The infotainment system is displayed on an optional 10.25” touchscreen. It is the same system that is used throughout other Hyundai vehicles. It is easy to learn and intuitive to use. Unfortunately it does not allow for wireless Apple CarPlay or wireless Android Auto, they have to be wired. Interestingly, the lower trim levels do get wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay.
Interior Design – Every control function has its own dedicated button. Best of all, the buttons are physical, not capacitive like in the Hyundai Tucson. The Kona N-Line receives a more sporty gear selector and a few N badges throughout the interior. Overall, it is a straightforward and simple to use design.
Exterior Design – Unlike the lower trim levels of the Kona, the N-Line has painted body panels throughout. The body also looks drastically different from the standard Kona models. It definitely looks the part of a sporty hot hatch.
Safety – The 2022 Hyundai Kona is equipped with standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning with lane keep. If you move up a trim level, then the Kona will be equipped with blind spot sensors, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. Move up to this N-Line and it’ll include highway driving assist and rear parking sensors.
The IIHS gave the Hyundai Kona good crash safety ratings but only marginal child seat latch anchors.
Warranty – In Canada, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line is covered by a 5 year / 100,000 km new vehicle and powertrain warranty. In the United States, the basic warranty is 5 years / 60,000 miles and the powertrain warranty is 10 years / 100,000 miles. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For USA warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – In the end, the 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line accomplishes its intended purpose. It is a good blend of sporty driving without being too back breakingly rough to be used on daily commutes. Unfortunately in the United States, the N-Line trim is nothing more than just an appearance package because the Limited trim has the same engine and transmission along with a lot of the same gadgets. But from my perspective here in Canada, the Kona N-Line is worth checking out if you want a nicely equipped and quick extra compact crossover.
Thank you to Hyundai Canada for providing the vehicle. www.HyundaiCanada.com