The Hyundai Kona N Line is so good at looking the part of a sporty, high-performance cute ute that until I put my foot on the gas pedal, I thought the car delivered to me was the fire-breathing Kona N. Yeah, there was some poor reading comprehension and perhaps a dose of excitement that caused me to mislead myself, but it was the sporty looking trappings that really sent me for a loop.
Once my disappointment subsided, the Kona N Line revealed itself as the same likable sub-compact Hyundai has been selling for years, albeit in a pair of Air Force Ones rather than loafers. The style makes big promises, but don't hold the Kona to them – it’s a sporty looking drive that doesn’t sacrifice drivability.
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|Quick Stats||2022 Hyundai Kona N Line|
|Engine||Turbocharged 1.6-Liter I4|
|Output||195 Horsepower / 195 Pound-Feet|
|Fuel Economy||27 City / 32 Highway / 29 Combined|
|Trim Base Price||$27,145|
Gallery: 2022 Hyunda Kona N Line: Review
Introduced as part of the Kona's 2022 model year facelift, the N Line demands a trained eye to spot the differences between it and a full-bore Kona N model. The mesh grille and three-vent nose, swollen body-color wheel arches, and cute-as-a-button rear diffuser are identical from N Line to N. The only real differences are the N Line's chromed Hyundai badge, 18-inch birds nest–style wheels, and single-sided dual exhaust – the N has a gloss black badge, 19-inch wheels, and a single exhaust tip on either side of the rear bumper. Props to Hyundai for doing so little to dilute the Kona N's visual menace.
Hyundai did precious little to distinguish the Kona’s cabin across its disparate trims. The overall layout is identical across the Kona family, while the N Line adorns the base Kona's interior with red accents rather than adding the actual sporty touches from the N. That means a simple and uninteresting steering wheel and flat, uninspiring front seats with cloth upholstery. And overall, the Kona N Line's cabin is a rather dark and drab place filled with cheap-feeling black plastic.
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The Kona N Line suffers on most parts of the Comfort segment. The ride is brittle and unrefined, struggling to isolate the steering from imperfections, although it's compliant and pleasant on smoother surfaces. The front seats are unsupportive while retaining enough padding that their flatness doesn't grow too exhausting on longer journeys. The turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder is a member of the long-in-the-tooth Gamma engine family, which remains as buzzy and coarse as ever.
All that said, tiny crossovers like this are not renowned for their comfort. While the Kona could be noticeably better in a few key areas – I'm looking at you powertrain refinement – relative to the class, it's largely average.
|Headroom (Front, Rear)||Legroom (Front, Rear)||Cargo Volume|
|Hyundai Kona||39.6 / 37.8 Inches||41.5 / 35.2 Inches||19.2 / 45.8 Cubic Feet|
|Chevrolet Trailblazer||40.0 / 38.4 Inches||40.9 / 39.4 Inches||25.3 / 54.4 Cubic Feet|
|Honda HR-V||39.4 / 38.0 Inches||41.9 / 37.7 Inches||24.4 / 55.1 Cubic Feet|
|Jeep Renegade||41.1 / 40.5 Inches||41.2 / 35.1 Inches||18.5 / 50.8 Cubic Feet|
|Mazda CX-30||38.1 / 38.3 Inches||41.7 / 36.3 Inches||20.2 Cubic Feet|
- Center Display: 10.3-inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 10.3-inch
- Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: No
Hyundai upgraded the Kona's infotainment system as part of its recent refresh, adding a standard 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster to the N Line, Limited, and N. It's the same attractive setup found in the Elantra, offering three basic skins for the digital tach and speedometer, and featuring information pages in between. The themes are linked to drive modes, or drivers can set them independently. Still, I'd like to see more customization – a full-screen map setting is a must.
A $2,500 Tech pack replaces the base 8.0-inch touchscreen with a 10.3-inch unit that's shared with every other new Hyundai/Kia product from the past two years. The graphics are crisp and attractive, and the screen's response to inputs is prompt. Still (and honestly I'm getting tired of writing this) the lack of wireless Apple CarPlay in such a new and advanced infotainment setup is bewildering.
- Engine: Turbocharged 1.6-liter I4
- Output: 195 Horsepower / 195 Pound-Feet
- Transmission: Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch
All shirt and no trousers. All hat, no cattle. All Kona, no N. The N Line might borrow the letter signifying Hyundai's motorsports arm, but its turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder packs just 195 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Performance is ample for the segment, but not for the checks its sporty body work is trying to cash.
There's a fair amount of lag from a standstill, and the responsiveness of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission just compounds matters. Like some other recent Hyundai/Kia product, the lack of response left me dialing in additional throttle, only to find an unintended and unpleasant surge of power once the powertrain woke up. Things are better once underway – the 1.6 offers peak torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm – but wind the engine out too much and its buzziness grows grating. Par for the course with the 1.6-liter Gamma, then.
Cornering is a surprising bright spot with this all-wheel-drive Kona. All N Line models feature brake-based torque vectoring, while all-wheel drive swaps out the standard torsion beam with a multi-link rear end. Ask the Kona N Line to change directions and tight body motions and well weighted steering overcome the initial dullness of the response. The Kona N Line isn't Mazda CX-30 good, but it's certainly not far off. Hyundai need only provide sharper reflexes on center.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands On)
- NHTSA Rating: Five Stars Overall
- IIHS Rating: Not TSP/TSP+
The Kona N Line earns high marks for safety owing to its extensive roster of active safety equipment. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring are all standard.
The $2,500 Tech pack, featured on my tester, adds automatic high beams and Hyundai's excellent Highway Driving Assist system, which adds adaptive cruise control for level two driver assistance. HDA remains an extremely well-integrated system, responding well to surrounding vehicles and keeping the Kona moving down the road with little in the way of lane ping-ponging.
|2022 Hyundai Kona N Line AWD||27||32||29|
|2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS AWD||26||30||28|
|2023 Honda HR-V AWD||25||30||27|
|2022 Jeep Renegade AWD||23||29||26|
|2022 Mazda CX-30 2.5 AWD||24||31||26|
Prices for the Kona start at a reasonable $22,595, but the N Line adds $4,550 to that for a price of $27,145. From there, add in $400 for my tester's Lunar White paint, $1,500 for all-wheel drive, and $2,500 for the tech package. You can save a few pennies by ditching the premium paint, but it's hard to overstate what the remaining $4,000 in options yields.
Yes, all-wheel drive provides surefootedness in slick conditions, but it also swaps out the primitive torsion beam rear suspension for a more modern multilink arrangement. And Tech pack's Highway Driving Assist system and 10.3-inch touchscreen are worthwhile on their own, but this pack also adds automatic high beams with LED headlights and a Harmon Kardon audio system. You're getting quite a bit for your money.
And among vehicles in the class, there are few that look so overtly sporty. While the Kona could go further in backing up its looks, this is a realistic alternative to the Mazda CX-30 if all you care about is driver engagement. Then again, at $31,545 for a fully loaded Kona N Line, you're less than $4,000 away from the $35,495 Kona N, which will blow the doors off cars like the CX-30 and broadly match the N Line's everyday drive experience.
|Trim Base Price||Competitive Price w/Options|
|2022 Hyundai Kona N Line AWD||$27,145||$31,545|
|2022 Hyundai Kona N||$35,495||$35,495|
|2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS AWD||$28,595||$31,525|
|2023 Honda HR-V Sport AWD||$28,395||$28,395|
|2022 Mazda CX-30 Carbon Edition AWD||$29,815||$29,815|
Model Competitor Reviews:
- Chevrolet Trailblazer: 8.0 / 10
- Ford EcoSport: Not Rated
- Honda HR-V: 8.5 / 10
- Jeep Renegade: Not Rated
- Kia Seltos: 8.1 / 10
- Mazda CX-30: 8.3 / 10
- Nissan Kicks: 8.7 / 10
- Subaru Crosstrek: 8.5 / 10
- Toyota Corolla Cross: 8.0 / 10
- Volkswagen Taos: 7.9 / 10
Is The Hyundai Kona N Line All-Wheel Drive?
Yes, Hyundai offers the Kona N Line with an optional all-wheel drive system. It adds $1,500 to the price tag.
What Is The N Line Trim On The Hyundai Kona?
N Line, named after Hyundai’s motorsports arm, N, is a style and appearance package available on the Kona and other Hyundai products. It fits sportier wheels and unique body work to mimic the high-performance N models, while retaining powertrain and suspension setups with broader market appeal in mind.
How Much Is A Hyundai Kona N Line?
The base price for the Kona in N Line trim is $27,145, including the $1,295 destination charge. That’s $4,550 more than the Kona range’s $21,700 base price.
2022 Hyundai Kona N Line AWD