I don’t know of any other car that has grin mode, do you?
“It’s not about power or RPMs,” says Albert Bierman, president, and head of research and development of Hyundai and Kia Motors, “It’s all about the grin on your face and your heartbeat” when he spoke passionately about the all-new 2022 Hyundai Elantra N and Kona N.
Hyundai N is the performance lineup for Hyundai. Hyundai N has been in racing, research & development, and on the Veloster N for a few years now, but it’s time now to bring that exhilaration to mainstream models for everyday living to the Elantra N in a sedan and a compact SUV, the Kona N for 2022.
We were able to test both cars on the winding roads of California last week, and also the track and autocross at Sonoma Raceway. These cars are built for fun, ready for the track, but still make sense for city and family life all around.
Related: 2022 Hyundai Kona N First Drive: The Crossover That Will Remind You Why You Love Smaller Cars
Compact SUVs are my favorite category
And when they have performance capabilities, I get a bigger grin every single time I step foot on the throttle.
There is just something truly special about having a family car that makes sense for school pickup, a grocery run, and weekend getaways that also snap, crackles, and pops.
You can watch my YouTube review here:
Kona N and Elantra N are not just a new trim
The Kona N has unique exterior styling details as well as, of course, a speedier 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft torque engine (the Elantra N has the same engine). The Elantra N might be just a touch speedier since it’s smaller, but that doesn’t take away from my love for the Kona N.
For the exterior, the Racing Red color is unique to the N, as is Performance Blue that you can see in my video. They both also get N badging, unique front grilles inspired by racing helmets, red trim around the frame of the car, larger red brakes with N badging, and black spoilers.
One detail that may make the Elantra N irresistible is the available 6-speed manual transmission. Both come standard with an 8-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission.
What I loved (like I have to say… watch the video)
I loved the sound and feel of the drive. Having the opportunity to take the Kona N on the winding roads of the Sonoma and Napa Counties was truly a joy ride. The stiff suspension gives you a true feel of the road, which is what the Hyundai N series wants you to feel.
The best thing about an SUV is the split-folding rear seats and plenty of cargo room that is ready for anything your family can throw its way with a liftgate. This is what I want in my family car, flexibility, but make it FUN TO DRIVE.
I also loved the Phone as Key: although this isn’t something I get to test on a one-day drive, phone as key means that when you buy this car, you set up an app on your smartphone to make your phone your car key. You can start and drive your car with just your smartphone. This is the future and Hyundai N is right behind only Tesla, Lincoln, BMW and a handful of other brands with this technology.
Which One is Right for You?
If you hadn’t guessed by now, I would choose the Kona N. The SUV body combined with the performance and more luxe feel make it the best fun small family car.
Pricing is not yet available, but these two new models from Hyundai should show up around town by the end of this year. I can’t wait to see that grin on people’s faces.