2022 Hyundai Kona N Line AWD First Test Review: Spicy Enough? (2023)

Bob HernandezWriter

hyundai kona Full Overview

What are the uninitiated to make of the updated 2022 Hyundai Kona in new N Line trim? The subcompact SUV's distinctive exterior is kind of cute, kind of funky and chunky, but not necessarily everyone's cup of tea. As an N Line offering, it's supposed to be sportier, and its size and fifth door have led some to consider the Kona to be something of a compact/subcompact hatchback instead of a small crossover SUV.

The 2022 Kona N Line features the range's more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and our test vehicle has all-wheel drive. As for the N Line designation, that's a reference to the brand's "N" vehicles, like the Veloster N, the Elantra N, and, yes, the Kona N, with N Line being a sort of stepping stone between the regular versions and the frenetic, high-performance full-N models. Those include the Elantra N Line, Sonata N Line, and more aggressively styled Tucson N Line, some of which receive power upgrades, and some of which don't.

So, is the 2022 Kona N Line to be viewed as a performance hatch with a direct line that traces to Hyundai N performance machines? Or is it more like a baby Tucson N Line, which is to say an SUV that's all show and no go? That's one of the questions we hoped to answer through testing.

What the Numbers Say

The 2022 Kona N Line AWD's performance shines greatest when it's turning left or right at speed and not so much out of the gate or in a straight line. On our one-way lateral acceleration loop on the skidpad, it netted a result of 0.89 g on average. That compares favorably to subcompact SUVs like the less powerful segment-leading 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport, which maxed out at 0.79 g, and 2019 Honda HR-V Sport AWD, which was very close at 0.88 g. It's also better than hatchbacks like the 2021 Mazda 3 AWD Turbo (0.79 g) and front-wheel-drive 2022 Honda Civic Sport Touring (0.88 g) but not unexpectedly trails thoroughbred performance models like the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R (0.94 g).

On our figure-eight assessment, the Kona N Line continued to impress, but with a caveat. "More grip than expected, but stubborn understeer on the limit," road test editor Chris Walton said. "The only time AWD was evident was on the exit, where I could floor the throttle without wheelspin. Steering weight and precision are very good for this vehicle class. Sportier than most would expect."

An average lap for the Kona N Line AWD around our figure eight took 26.2 seconds at 0.67 g, which is both quicker and grippier than the 2021 Crosstrek Sport (27.9 seconds at 0.60 g) and 2019 HR-V Sport AWD (27.5 seconds at 0.61 g) we've tested. It also outperforms the 2021 Mazda 3 AWD Turbo (26.4 seconds at 0.65 g) and 2022 Civic Sport Touring (26.8 seconds at 0.65 g) hatchbacks.

The Kona's athleticism is less evident mashing the throttle from a standstill. Although its 195-hp turbo inline-four powertrain can get peppy, road test analyst Alan Lau noted it provided an unremarkable launch and the "drivetrain felt kind of lazy, too." We recorded a best 0-60-mph time of 7.3 second for the Kona N Line and a quarter-mile time of 15.7 seconds at 91.5 mph.

That's still better than times for the 182-hp 2021 Crosstrek Sport and 141-hp 2019 HR-V Sport AWD. It also eclipses the times of the 180-hp 2022 Civic Sport Touring hatch FWD, but the Kona N Line isn't a match for the 227-hp turbo 2021 Mazda 3 hatchback, which sprints to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and can run the quarter mile in 14.5 seconds at 95.5 mph.

Our test team found the Kona's brakes to be effective and predictable, though pedal feel was a bit soft. Lau also experienced chassis "wiggle under hard braking, and not the sporty kind."

What It's Like to Live With

The Kona N Line's solid testing numbers translate to a fun time on the street, and our canyon drives were a hoot in the crossover. Although the suspension was a little stiff, ride and handling were good and body roll minimal, no doubt helped by the Kona's multilink rear, comparatively low ride height, and forward and aft anti-roll bars. The grip in corners was particularly impressive, aided by AWD and standard 235-section tires that are notably wider than the 215s that come on the lesser SEL model and the 205s on the base Kona SE.

It wasn't the swiftest in stoplight drag races. But the Kona N Line's powertrain provided enough punch for passing on the freeway. Its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission seemed quick enough and delivered almost instant throttle response.That you're experiencing this satisfaction while sitting in an interior with plenty of hard plastic—some of it quite cheap feeling—seems a little incongruous, but overall, the Kona N Line's interior is perfectly fine. Its design and layout are tasteful and logical. The front seats are comfortable enough. But wherever you are in the vehicle, there's usually an unattractive plastic panel or two nearby.

But the feature set is decent; the Kona N Line has standard features such as a power driver's seat, heated first row, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Hyundai also added the available $2,500 Tech package to our Kona test vehicle, which includes, among other features, a power sunroof, eight-speaker premium audio (two more speakers than standard), automatic high-beams, and adaptive cruise control.

The cabin's screens are appreciated for their size, both 10.3 inches, but only the digital instrument cluster is on every Kona N. (The standard infotainment touchscreen is 8.0 inches.) We also appreciate that Hyundai tried to sport up this Kona with splashes of red in the black-on-black cabin. But with its available sunroof, the Kona's headroom is compromised in the back seat. The hinged armrest that covers the center console storage cubby is also positioned more as an elbow rest.

Indeed, space maximization is one of the Kona's biggest letdowns. The room most shoppers are looking for in this class is usually for transporting small numbers of people or parcels. Even so, the five-passenger Kona is pretty tight inside. It offers less rear legroom than rivals like the 2022 Crosstrek and 2022 Honda HR-V and trails them in cargo space, as well. The Kona offers just 45.8 cubic feet of space with the rear seat folded, whereas both the Honda and Subaru provide more than 55 cubes. Behind the rear seat it's more of the same, with even the Mazda 3 hatch delivering 20.1 cubic feet to the Kona's 19.2.

A small car generally means a small fuel bill, and in that regard the 2022 Kona N Line is competitive. Rated at 27/32 mpg city/highway by the EPA, it offers slightly better fuel economy than 2022 versions of the 1.6-liter turbo Kia Seltos AWD, which rides on the same platform and shares a similar powertrain, and the 1.8-liter naturally aspirated inline-four HR-V AWD equipped with its CVT. From the hatchback world, it's also better than both the turbo and non-turbo 2.5-liter Mazda 3 AWDs. The 2022 Crosstrek gets slightly better fuel economy regardless of powertrain, but both SUVs are down on power compared to the Kona N Line.


The entry-level 2023 Kona SE FWD comes with a sticker of $22,545. Move up to the N Line trim level and add AWD, and that price grows to $28,595. With the Tech package and optional $195 carpeted floormats, our test car came with a retail price of $31,290.

A comparable 2022 HR-V AWD could be the EX model, which has a sticker price of $27,795, but it doesn't get the Hyundai's leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and comes with a smaller infotainment screen and fewer speakers. The same goes for the 2022 Crosstrek Sport. Even with the optional package that adds a moonroof, blind-spot monitoring (standard on the Kona N Line) and bigger touchscreen (still 2.0 inches smaller than our tester's), for $29,770 you're getting a manually adjusted driver's seat, analog gauges, and fewer speakers than the Hyundai.


We have driven less engaging small cars than the 2022 Kona N Line and like how Hyundai has sharpened the performance on this subcompact SUV. It's not a hot hatch by any stretch—not even close—but it's also not boring. We said as much when we named an earlier version of this Kona generation a 2019 SUV of the Year finalist.

That's a plus for a relatively affordable model that wears its cost savings on its sleeve. Yes, there is a ton of plain-looking plastic inside a cabin that's small for its class. But the Kona N Line's turbo powertrain is punchy, its chassis handles great, its equipment list is generous, and fuel economy is nothing to sneeze at. It's these things that lead us to think this little Hyundai could make an ideal first car for a young enthusiast. While the Kona N Line doesn't measure up to true performance compacts like the VW GTI/Golf R or Honda Civic Si/Type R, it provides enough heat to spice up most folks' daily grind.

Looks good! More details?
2022 Hyundai Kona AWD 1.6T N-Line Specifications
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE1.6L Turbo direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4
POWER (SAE NET)195 hp @ 6,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET)195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION8-speed twin-clutch auto
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)3,259 lb (60/40%)
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT166.0 x 70.9 x 61.4 in
0-60 MPH7.3 sec
QUARTER MILE15.7 sec @ 91.5 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH124 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT26.2 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)
EPA RANGE, COMB383 miles


Is Hyundai Kona AWD reliable? ›

Is the 2023 Hyundai Kona Reliable? The 2023 Hyundai Kona has a predicted reliability score of 83 out of 100.

What competes with 2022 Kona N Line? ›

The non-N Kona competes directly with the Honda HR-V, Crosstrek, Nissan Kicks, and more. And while it sits four inches taller than a GTI, matches it in cargo room, and exceeds it in headroom—making it hard to see how this subcompact crossover can compete with the VW—everything changes when you turn it on.

What's the difference between the Kona N and the Kona N line? ›

The Hyundai Kona N Line uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that creates 195 horsepower and a 7-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Kona N uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that creates 276 horsepower and an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

How fast is the 2022 Kona N Line? ›

How Quick Is the 2022 Kona N? The Kona N traveled from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 13.9 seconds at 101.1 mph. It does this with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that's in the 2022 Elantra N, which produces 276 horsepower and 289 lb-ft of torque.

Is Hyundai Kona good in the snow? ›

There are several subcompact SUVs that are designed for the road less traveled. The 2023 Hyundai Kona AWD actually made it on a list of best cars and SUVs for snow.

Which Hyundai konas are being recalled? ›

Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Elantra, 2019-2021 Kona and Veloster vehicles equipped with 2.0L Nu MPI engines. The piston oil rings may not have been properly heat-treated, which could result in engine damage. A damaged engine may stall, increasing the risk of a crash.

Which trim of Kona is best? ›

To have the most premium 2022 Hyundai Kona, choose the Limited trim level. The 2022 Hyundai Kona Limited has a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, making sure you'll be able to see everything you need while driving around the Orlando area.

How many miles per gallon does a Kona N line get? ›

Compare Side-by-Side
2022 Hyundai Kona N
EPA Fuel EconomyPremium Gasoline
23 MPG 20 27 combined city/highway city highway
4.3 gal/100mi
304 miles Total Range
7 more rows

What does the N stand for in Kona N? ›

Next to Namyang and the zigzagging shape of a chicane, the 'N' in Hyundai N also stands for Nürburgring. Fuel consumption combined for the Hyundai KONA N 2.0 T-GDI (280 PS) with DCT in l/100 km: 8.5; CO2 emissions combined in g/km: 194 (WLTP)

Is Kona a quiet car? ›

Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The 2022 Hyundai Kona N-Line has a generally quiet cabin.

How long is the wait on a Hyundai Kona? ›

Between three and six months

Where is the Hyundai Kona N Line made? ›

The all-new KONA N was announced earlier this year. The high-performance SUV is being produced at Hyundai's production site in Ulsan, Korea and will arrive in European showrooms this summer.

Which Kia is similar to Kona? ›

The Hyundai Kona has the same turning radius as the Kia Seltos, so they both maneuver the same in and out of tight spots. In terms of horsepower, it's a virtual tie between the Hyundai Kona and the Kia Seltos.

What is the reliability score of a 2022 Hyundai Kona? ›

The 2022 Hyundai Kona has a predicted reliability score of 82 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.

What Mazda is equivalent to the Hyundai Kona? ›

Nobody would feel ashamed driving off the forecourt behind the wheel of either of these two highly successful compact SUVs.

Is AWD really worth it? ›

Is AWD Worth It? It depends. If you live somewhere where there is a lot of snow, mud, or other precipitation, then yes, you should get an AWD vehicle. However, if you have a FWD vehicle with the proper tires and mainly do city and highway driving, then you'll most likely be just fine.

Is AWD or 4WD better in snow? ›

If you are on a back road without frequent plowing, then a 4WD system may be better able to handle the challenges of the terrain. If you are driving on the regular roads but want to handle the icy and snowy conditions of IL a bit better, then AWD is a great option.

What are the disadvantages of all-wheel drive? ›

AWD Cons
  • AWD typically doesn't get as much life out of the tires because all four wheels are being powered while driving.
  • Added weight can reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Limited off-road capabilities.
  • A more complex system, which raises the cost of a vehicle.

Do Hyundai konas have issues? ›

Forward collision, engine, and powertrain issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners.

What is the recall on the Kona N line? ›

Find Existing Hyundai Kona N Car Recalls

The vehicle's "fail-safe" limited-mobility drive mode may be impaired, when prompted by a transmission oil pump malfunction, which can result in a complete loss of drive power. Action Need To Fix It: Dealers will inspect and replace the transmission, as necessary.

Do Hyundai's still have engine problems? ›

Filed in March 2022, the lawsuit alleges engines from the Theta, Lambda, Gamma, Kappa, and Nu families are all faulty and consume too much oil. Model years covered under the class action run from 2009 to 2021, and include pretty much everything Hyundai and Kia sold during that time span.

Does Kona N Line have leather seats? ›

The 2023 Hyundai Kona is a small SUV with upgraded styling, intelligent technology and a versatile, accommodating cabin. The new Hyundai Kona offers plenty of interior sophistication with premium leather-trimmed seating surfaces on Limited or N Line sport seats on N Line as well as a couple interior color options.

Does Hyundai Kona have push button start? ›

The push-button start feature is available in all models of Hyundai Kona Electric. Check similar car details: Does MG ZS EV have push-button start feature? Does Hyundai Ioniq 5 have push-button start feature?

Which Kona has leather seats? ›

Hyundai Kona Limited

The Kona Limited is fully loaded with heated leather seats and 18-inch alloy wheels⁠.

How many miles can a Hyundai Kona go on a full tank? ›

2021 Hyundai Kona Driving Range

Some of the all-wheel drive models, including the Ultimate AWD and Limited AWD, get around 343.2 city miles and 382.8 highway miles per tank.

What is the fuel economy of a 2023 Kona N Line? ›

What is the gas mileage of the 2023 Hyundai Kona? The new 2023 Hyundai Kona is a small, upgraded SUV with exceptional fuel-efficiency. The new Hyundai Kona is capable of achieving an EPA-estimated 30 city and 35 highway mpg when equipped with the standard 147-hp 2.0L MPI Atkinson 4-cylinder and FWD on SE and SEL trims.

What is the mpg on a Hyundai Kona N Line AWD? ›

The EPA estimates that the Kona N should deliver 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, which is significantly less efficient than the regular one.

Does the Kona N Line require premium fuel? ›

On the upside, the Kona N Line makes about 50 more ponies than its SE siblings and still achieves similar fuel efficiency—32 mpg combined. And for all you penny pinchers, Hyundai recommends using regular 87-octane rather than premium as in many higher-performance turbo engines.

What is the red button on the Kona N? ›

Our second clue was a red button located on the steering wheel labeled “NGS.” We discovered that this stands for N Grin Shift and puts the Kona in a turbo overboost situation for a short time, increasing the horsepower to 286 along with 289 foot-pounds of torque.

Does Kona N Line have heated seats? ›

Heated and ventilated seats.

Warm in winter and cool in summer.

How does AWD work in Hyundai? ›

The electronic AWD system automatically divides traction between the front and rear wheels depending on conditions and driving parameters, allowing for all power to go to the front wheels or in a 50:50 split.

How many miles will a Hyundai Kona last? ›

How many miles will a Hyundai Kona last? The Hyundai Kona should easily last between 150,000 and 200,000 miles. Based on the average annual driving range, that works out to over 10 years of ownership. The average new vehicle ownership period is only 8.4 years.

Is Hyundai Kona AWD or 4wd? ›

Hyundai Kona models. The 2023 Hyundai Kona is a subcompact crossover with space for up to five passengers. It comes in five trim levels: SE, SEL, N Line, Limited and N. Front-wheel drive comes standard, with all-wheel drive optional on all models except for the Kona N (which sticks with front-wheel drive).

What is Hyundai Htrac AWD? ›

HTRAC monitors 50 vehicle inputs over 100 times per second to calculate the torque needed for each wheel. If it detects slippage, this intelligent system reroutes power between the front and rear axles and applies subtle braking pressure to the left and right wheels to help you maintain traction.

What are the disadvantages of AWD? ›

AWD Cons
  • AWD typically doesn't get as much life out of the tires because all four wheels are being powered while driving.
  • Added weight can reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Limited off-road capabilities.
  • A more complex system, which raises the cost of a vehicle.

Is Hyundai AWD always on? ›

While the AWD system is always engaged, drivers have the option of selecting one of three driving modes: Comfort - Power is split approximately 70/30 between the front and rear wheels for stable control is all weather conditions.

Can you use AWD all the time? ›

AWD is optimized for on-road use. It has the capability to send the engine's power to all four tires all of the time.

Is Kona a good and reliable car? ›

The Hyundai Kona comes with lots of safety kit as standard and the brand has a reputation for good reliability. The Kona has won praise from its owners in our Driver Power surveys for its reliability, cheap running costs and array of safety features.

How many miles between oil changes for a Hyundai Kona? ›

How often does a 2022 Hyundai Kona need an Oil Change? An oil change is one of the most basic and essential services for your car. Synthetic oil frequently should be changed every 7,500 - 10,000 miles. Hyundai suggests getting your 2022 Hyundai Kona oil & filter changed every 3,000-5,000 miles for conventional oil.

How far does a Hyundai Kona go on a full charge? ›

Hyundai Kona Electric mileage
Fuel TypeTransmissionARAI Claimed
Electric(Battery)Automatic452 Km/Charge

What is the top of the line Kona? ›

The top-shelf Kona N Line Premium or Highlander get the very best of the equipment, from the leather seats that are heated and cooled up front, to the big glass sunroof, the ambient interior lighting choices and the digital air-con controls.

Is Hyundai A Good Car to buy? ›

According to RepairPal, Hyundai boasts a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking 4th out of all 32 car brands. In addition, Hyundai ownership is on the inexpensive side, with only $468 annual repair costs of scheduled and unscheduled repairs.

What is the ground clearance of a Kona AWD? ›

Hyundai Kona Electric ground clearance is 172 mm.

Is Hyundai all-wheel drive good in snow? ›

When it comes to driving in snow, there are a few Hyundai vehicles that perform better than others. Overall, the Hyundai Santa Fe with all-wheel drive is considered to be the best option for winter driving.

Is AWD drive faster? ›

Improved performance: An all-wheel-drive car has better acceleration than RWD or 4WD. Since all four wheels accelerate simultaneously, there is no wheel spin when you pull hard. The vehicle doesn't overspin when cornering as the wheels move at different speeds to maintain traction.

Is AWD less efficient? ›

Both AWD and 4WD vehicles are less fuel-efficient than rear- or front-wheel-drive cars and require more maintenance than two-wheel-drive models.


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