Hyundai's sizzling hot Kona N SUV is a born 'corner rascal' with 'grin control'...
HYUNDAI is certainly not holding back on raising expectations about its upcoming Kona N performance SUV, writes William Scholes.
There may be good reason for it to be so confident, given how stonkingly impressive the i30 N is - a feat all the more remarkable given it was the company's first proper performance car.
Credit to how well the i30 N drives goes to Hyundai R&D supremo Albert Biermann, who in an earlier incarnation gave BMW M cars their sparkle.
Biermann promises that the Kona N is "a true 'hot SUV' with the performance level of a hot hatch".
"It breaks the rule that SUVs cannot be fun to drive," he says.
"As an N model, it goes beyond the limits of an ordinary SUV.
"Kona N can carve corners on the racetrack and bring excitement to everyday driving."
Such bold talk has me hoping that the little Kona N will be like a junior Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio...
There's a sense of humour to the Kona N too, which is encouraging.
It's been developed as a "corner rascal", no less, and it has something called the "N Grin Control System".
The seats, meanwhile, allow drivers to "feel the feeling" - and who doesn't want to feel the feeling?
Styling-wise, it is perhaps what you would expect from a hot Kona - big wheels and spoilers, in the aggressive mould of the i30 N - and the interior is similarly gentrified with buckets seats, metal pedals and shortcut buttons on the steering wheel to access your favourite drive modes.
It uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, good for 276bhp and 290lb ft of torque.
This is paired with an eight-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox - there's no manual option - and goodies like launch control and an electronic limited-slip differential.
Top speed is quoted as 149mph with a 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds.
It is a desirable little package, and while some enthusiasts might hesitate at the idea of a high-riding SUV being an alternative to a classic hot hatch like the i30 N, there's no doubting that there will be a ready market for the Kona N.
No Northern Ireland prices have been announced yet, but given the technology, engineering and performance, expect the Kona N to be priced close to the i30 N, which starts around £30k.