Farewell to the Hyundai Kona N: An Iconic SUV Bids Adieu
In a bittersweet moment for fans of high-performance SUVs, the Hyundai Kona N has reached the end of its road in Australia. This small, sporty SUV, a sibling of the beloved Hyundai i30 N hot hatch, has made its mark but is now ready to bow out. With no successor on the horizon, we're witnessing the end of an era. In this blog post, we'll explore the legacy of the Hyundai Kona N and the reasons behind its departure from the Australian market.
The Final Chapter
The Hyundai Kona N, a high-riding counterpart to the Hyundai i30 N, is preparing to take its final bow in Australia. After just two years in the local market, the Kona N will soon be relegated to the annals of history. Hyundai Australia has confirmed that the last batch of Kona N vehicles has arrived in showrooms. As of now, there are only 26 brand-new Kona N units left without an allocated customer in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia.
The End of an Era
Production of the Hyundai Kona N has come to a halt, marking the conclusion of its short but impactful journey. While there had been hopes for a new-generation Kona N based on the latest Kona range, Hyundai's South Korean headquarters has not yet confirmed any plans for such a vehicle. In fact, it appears that there won't be a new N flagship in the foreseeable future. The largest turbocharged engine that the new Kona supports is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder in the 146kW/265Nm N Line version.
Challenges for an Electric Kona N
Speculation has swirled about the possibility of an electric Kona N. However, Hyundai N executives have indicated that the 400-volt electric technology and battery inside the new Kona Electric are not suitable for the rigorous demands expected from a Hyundai N performance car, particularly on the racetrack.
Emissions Standards and Aging Engines
One of the key reasons for the Kona N's departure is the aging 2.0-liter turbo engine it shares with the i30 N hatch and sedan. This engine has been in service for over a decade and is unlikely to meet the stringent new European emissions standards slated for 2026.
Success in Australia and Beyond
In its brief time in Australia, the Hyundai Kona N garnered a dedicated following. Hyundai Australia reported 643 Kona N sales this year, representing 10% of the Kona model mix, and a total of 1506 units sold since its Australian debut in late 2021.
For comparison, the i30 N hatchback, i30 Sedan N, and i20 N also enjoyed strong sales, showcasing Hyundai's diverse range of high-performance offerings.
The Future of Hyundai N
Hyundai N, the performance division of Hyundai, has been making strides in the electric vehicle segment. With models like the Kona Electric and Ioniq 5 EV in their lineup, the shift toward electric mobility is evident. As Albert Biermann, former head of Hyundai N and current Hyundai executive technical advisor, mentioned in December 2022, Hyundai Europe is in "EV heaven," with strong sales of electric vehicles. This shift has played a role in the decision to not pursue a new-generation Kona N with a combustion engine.
The Hyundai Kona N may be bidding farewell to the Australian market, but its legacy as a high-performance SUV will live on in the hearts of enthusiasts. As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, the transition to electric vehicles takes center stage. While the Kona N era in Australia has ended, the future holds exciting possibilities for Hyundai's N division in the realm of electrified performance. The journey may change, but the spirit of performance and innovation remains at the core of Hyundai N.