Hyundai Kona N takes on hot-hatch segment

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Even as Hyundai Motor Co. leans into an electric future, it’s stretching the bounds of internal-combustion offerings with the Kona N performance version of its popular subcompact crossover.

Hyundai, which promotes the N division as an outgrowth of its motorsports activity, said Tuesday that the Kona N will be its first crossover to undergo the transformation to track-ready “corner rascal.”

“Kona N is a true hot SUV with the performance level of a hot hatch. It breaks the rule that SUVs are less fun to drive,” said Albert Biermann, president and head of Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D unit. “Kona N can carve corners on the racetrack and bring excitement to everyday driving.”

The latest Kona variant comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 276 horsepower. It’s mated to a wet, dual-clutch automatic transmission with eight gears and paddle shifters. Acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour — or zero to 96.5 km/h — comes in under 5.5 seconds with launch control activated.

“The transmission control unit is calibrated for N, resulting in faster shifting and enabling a range of exclusive driving features ― including N Grin Shift, N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift — that maximize driving exhilaration,” Hyundai said.

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