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Driven: 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line. Image by Hyundai.

Driven: 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line
Hyundaiís compact SUV gets a sporty new trim level, but is it all talk and no trousers?

   



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2021 Hyundai Kona N-Line

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Sporty versions of conventional SUVs are starting to become popular. It seems customers like the sports car styling and design that comes with a 'hot' version, even if they don't particularly want the performance or running costs that often go with it. So for those who like the look of the Hyundai Kona N but don't fancy paying through the nose to have one, there's an alternative that looks the part, even if it doesn't go quite as quickly. It's called the N Line, and we're tasked with finding out whether it's a cheap facsimile or a wise choice.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2022 Hyundai Kona N Line 1.0 T-GDi 48v MHEV
Price: Kona from £21,625, N Line from £24,155
Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder mild hybrid
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power: 120hp
Torque: 172Nm
Emissions: 138g/km
Economy/Range: 46.3mpg
0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
Top speed: 112mph
Boot space: 374 litres

Styling

The latest-generation Kona has been updated with a new front end and revamped tail lights, but it is also the first to get an N Line version. The N Line is set apart by its body-coloured trim around the bumpers and wheel arches, as well as the 18-inch alloy wheels with a diamond-cut, two-tone design. Instead of skid plates fitted to other versions, the N Line gets an aerodynamic lip with low corner fins and larger air intake features at the front.

Interior

Although Hyundai has revamped the interior with extra technology, including a new 10.25-inch touchscreen, and some fresh design features, the Kona's cabin still doesn't feel all that modern. There's a decidedly plasticky feel to the dashboard and the door cards in particular, while the buttons feel a little cheap to the touch. But the engineering is solid, and everything feels as though it's going to last. Then there's the aforementioned touchscreen, which is standard on the N Line model and has to be one of the best in the business. Perhaps it doesn't look especially cutting edge, but it works really well and all the menus are logically set out. Some systems may appear more modern, but few are as user-friendly as this.

Practicality

The Kona's 374-litre boot is common to all petrol-powered versions of the Kona, including the Hybrid and the N Line. That gives the car only slightly less boot space than a Volkswagen Golf hatchback, and ample space for most people's needs. And there's a respectable amount of cabin space, with plenty of room in the front and more than enough space in the back for children. Fitting four tall adults is a bit of a squeeze in terms of legroom, but it's large enough to work on shorter journeys.

Performance

All petrol-powered Konas, apart from the high-performance N, come with the same 1.0-litre petrol engine fitted to our test car. The three-cylinder turbocharged engine uses mild-hybrid technology for efficiency, allowing it to return 46.3mpg on the official economy test while also producing 120hp. That power goes to the front wheels Ė despite the body cladding of other versions, thereís no all-wheel-drive option Ė via a six-speed manual gearbox, giving the car a 0-62mph time of just under 12 seconds and a 112mph top speed. Thatís hardly rapid, particularly for something with sporty pretensions, but itís just about fast enough for day-to-day life. And it is reasonably economical.

Ride & Handling

Although this iteration of the Kona is less than two years old, it already feels decidedly old-school on the road. The steering is woolly and vague while still being light, which makes the car easy to manoeuvre, yet it weights up in a really false way when the Sport mode is engaged. The manual gearbox also feels pretty uninvolving, despite being relatively snappy, and the ride isn't great, either, with a definite nuggety feel at low speeds.

But it isn't all bad. The Kona's body roll is well controlled despite the ground clearance, and there's plenty of grip. Cornering speeds, therefore, are limited by how much confidence you have in the steering wheel, rather than how much speed the car can carry.

Value

The Kona N Line comes in at just over £24,000, making it about £3,000 more expensive than the standard Kona. That pays for the larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, however, as well as satellite navigation and climate control. Automatic wipers, a Krell sound system and a digital instrument display are all thrown in, too, as well as the N Line design updates. Compared with rivals such as the Peugeot 2008 GT, it looks like very good value.

Verdict

The Kona N Line has plenty of flaws Ė not least the ride and the steering Ė but itís arguably the best looking version of the Kona, and this is a car thatís all about image. In terms of space, equipment and utility, it adds nothing you wonít find in the standard car, but that slight edge will give it some appeal. In truth, though, itís hardly the most appealing model in the Kona range.



James Fossdyke - 13 Dec 2022



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2022 Hyundai Kona N Line. Image by Hyundai.2022 Hyundai Kona N Line. Image by Hyundai.2022 Hyundai Kona N Line. Image by Hyundai.2022 Hyundai Kona N Line. Image by Hyundai.2022 Hyundai Kona N Line. Image by Hyundai.

2022 Hyundai Kona N Line. Image by Hyundai.2022 Hyundai Kona N Line. Image by Hyundai.2022 Hyundai Kona N Line. Image by Hyundai.2022 Hyundai Kona N Line. Image by Hyundai.







 

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