The 2023 Hyundai Kona N is one of the more interesting vehicles in its segment. It combines the words "track-ready" with "compact crossover," and while the result is admittedly a little unusual, it drives great and goes like hell. With a new generation of Kona hitting the streets, though, it may not be long for this world.
At the recent reveal of the new Kona, the head of the automaker's compact vehicle project management group, Se Hyuk Park, said as much. The news was later officially confirmed by a Hyundai spokesman who said: "Production of an all-new, high-performance KONA N will be considered later. The company has presented its high-performance electrification vision through RN22e and N Vision 74." In other words, it's not on the drawing board.
It was made clear during the reveal of the car that if the company perceived demand for a new Kona N, it may be willing to put one into production. After all, it already offers an N-Line version of the Kona, seen below, with all of the aesthetic trimmings of a track-ready version of the new compact crossover. It's not a stretch to see that some of these parts could be carried over to a more powerful version of the car.
That being said, the focus of the new Kona is definitely on the electric version, which was designed first among all of the disparate trims. Hyundai, like other automakers, wants to sell more electric vehicles, and having a powerful but fuel-guzzling version of a car that's also offered with no tailpipe emissions may not paint a great picture moving forwards.
The company isn't giving up on performance, though, as the statement indicates. Hyundai is looking into electric vehicles that simulate shifts like ICE cars and has in the past shown off hydrogen-powered performance cars. There's also a high-performance "N" version of the Ioniq 5 crossover on the way, so it's plausible it sees this as a spiritual replacement for the smaller Kona.
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