The Hyundai Kona N Could Be Our Veloster N With The Normal Number Of Doors

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Photo: Hyundai

Most people can agree the Hyundai Veloster N is a great car, but it’s also packaged in a way that makes it a bit difficult to live with on account of its rear passenger door that’s only on one side and almost-hatch roofline that doesn’t offer quite the same utility a normal hatch would. I speak from experience as my friend owned a few last-gen Velosters, and there was no way for me to sit in the back without striking my head on one of the overhead crossbars.

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If these practical limitations disqualify the Veloster N from your consideration, Hyundai will soon have an alternative that may interest you. It’s a souped-up version of the Kona crossover, called the Kona N, and it has the very same 2.0-liter turbo and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission as the Veloster N. The main difference is that those attributes will now be present in a car that makes a bit more sense on a daily basis.

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Photo: Hyundai

Hyundai announced the Kona N in a press release, though, if you’ve been watching the headlines carefully, you may have seen this coming. It seems like sporty, small crossovers — like the oft-maligned Ford Edge ST — are becoming the hot hatches of modern times. That may dismay purists, though Hyundai’s been on a roll with its first batch of N cars, so I’m willing to give the Korean automaker the benefit of the doubt.

Hyundai says to expect launch control and an “emotional sound experience” — emotional, in this case, hopefully meaning lots of raspy burbles. We don’t yet know if a conventional manual will be an option, nor do we know if the Kona N will be offered with all-wheel drive.

The one legitimate argument against the Kona N’s existence you could make is that Hyundai already has a more practical version of the Veloster N out there. It’s called the i30 N, and it predated the Veloster by a year. The i30 N has four doors and a normal hatch and roofline; it’s also a car, and not a high-riding crossover. But the i30 N isn’t sold in the U.S., which opens up a lane for the Kona N on our shores.

That’s the i20 N, at left, and the i30 N beside the Kona N.
That’s the i20 N, at left, and the i30 N beside the Kona N.
Photo: Hyundai
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Look closely at these pictures, though, and you’ll notice German plates on this Kona N prototype. You’ll also notice there’s no Veloster N to be found in that family portrait — just the i20 N and i30 N.

Will the Kona N make it to the U.S.? Hyundai hasn’t confirmed it, but it sure would make much more sense as a Veloster N alternative here. In November, the company announced a plan to deliver seven N and N Line models in the U.S. by 2022, and it seems a safe bet to expect the Kona N to be part of that initiative. Here’s hoping a production version of the mid-engined RM23T joins it in short order.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. 2017 Fiesta ST. Wishes NASCAR was more like Daytona USA.

DISCUSSION

Hot take (?): I think the standard Kona is a decent looking car.  I’ll be curious to see what an N variant looks like.