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This is the 2021 Hyundai Kona N before you’re supposed to see it


We’ve gotten our best look yet at the production version of the 2021 Hyundai Kona, sans-camouflage.

Over the last several years, Hyundai have taken to drip-feeding the automotive media tidbits on their new models. It’s a tried and tested strategy used by many manufacturers to build hype while a given model awaits final sign-off, and an eventual reveal to the public.

It’s even better when the supplied preview images contain plenty of detail in the shadows – as today’s preview drop of the 2021 Hyundai Kona N sports SUV does.

And this is it: our best look yet at the next member of the full-fat N Performance family at Hyundai: the Kona N.

Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear end preview
The aggressive rear end of the 2021 Kona N includes large tailpipes and a triangular third brake light.

Set to arrive in Australia around September 2021, the Kona N utilises the same powertrain and drivetrain as the forthcoming, facelifted i30 N hot hatch: a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 206kW of power and 392Nm of torque.

Like the i30 N, the Kona N will be front-wheel-drive only – at least for now – in a move that disappointed those hoping that the Kona would be the first N Performance vehicle with an all-wheel-drive system.

It is expected that Hyundai’s newly-developed eight-speed wet-clutch dual clutch automatic gearbox will be the sole transmission for the hot Kona.

Hyundai Kona N 2021 grille preview
The grille features an intricate pattern, marked with the N badge.

As our clear view of the Kona N’s front and side profile shows, the styling of the recently-launched 2021 Kona is amped up with a number of ‘N’ tropes.

You’ll find red ‘lipstick’ trim on the front diffuser – now extending to the side skirts – as well as an aggressive mesh grille sitting above a honeycomb-detailed air dam interrupted by a sensor for what is expected to be a comprehensive adaptive safety suite.

Even the regular Kona N Line gets the Audi Quattro-esque bonnet ‘vents’ – this isn’t a special for the true N – but the assertively blistered guards filled with large wheels set this hot hatch on stilts apart.

Hyundai Kona N 2021 rear end preview
There’s no missing this rear spoiler.

Around back, we’re delighted to see that the i30 N hatchback’s high-mounted triangular third brake light makes a return in a subtle nod to F1 and rally styling.

And there will be no missing the Kona N’s huge dual tailpipe arrangement that should emit the same crackles and pops as the i30 N hatch.

When the Kona N arrives in Australia later in 2021, it will sit in Hyundai showrooms alongside the other members of the N Performance family.

The Kona N will sit alongside the forthcoming i20 N (pictured) and i30 Sedan N, plus the facelifted i30 N hatchback.

These include an improved and facelifted version of the original N car – the i30 N hot hatch, which gains more power and picks up the new eight-speed dual clutch auto as an optional gearbox above and beyond the standard six-speed manual.

The entry point to the N range will be the incoming i20 N, which is far lighter than the i30 or Kona and packs a feisty 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine making 150kW of power – while still retaining the true front-end limited slip differential of the i30 N and Kona N.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Australia confirmed last year that the niche i30 Fastback N would be dropped from the lineup in favour of a forthcoming i30 Sedan N, based on the new i30 Sedan – which took over from the vehicle previously known as Elantra.

More details on the 2021 Hyundai Kona N, including Australian pricing and specifications, are expected as the small sports SUV nears its local launch.

Hyundai Kona N 2021 front end preview
Hyundai Kona N 2021 front end preview