The second-generation Hyundai Kona was initially intended to be an electric vehicle, but its platform may be modified to accommodate combustion engines, like the one found in the 2024 Kona N Line turbo.
The Korean carmaker adopts a different strategy this time around in an effort to address issues from the previous model, which was originally a sporty-ish model that acted as an amuse-bouche for the Kona N’s hot-hatch emulation.
The things inside work better. The 2024 Kona N Lines come standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather and suede upholstery, a black headliner, and metal sport pedals—despite the plastics being just as forgettable as last time. Another typical feature is an eight-speaker Bose audio system.
The heated front seats have supportive cushioning and strong bolstering. The back doors virtually open to a 90-degree angle, and there is very little reclining room in the back seats.
Back there, there are additional air conditioning vents, two USB ports, and a pocket for your phone. There is a small milk gallon cubby in the cargo hold, all the way back there.
To keep the Kona N Line inexpensive, Hyundai always had to exclude some features. Only the top Kona Limited trim level offers a motorized liftgate, while none of the other trim levels have a powered front passenger seat.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto may be the biggest letdown because they are wireless on the bottom two Kona variants but require a plug-in on the N Line.
The Kona’s updated exterior may attract more attention than it did previously, and altogether, it now resembles a crossover rather than a tall hot hatch. A rear roof spoiler, beautifully spaced model writing, and thin horizontal LED lights front and back that span the width of the car further glam it up.
Although the 19s on our N Line look good, the SUV has a lot going on behind its surface. Some people might not like the widebody’s blocky fender flares or its unusually shaped headlamps and taillights.
The main goal of the brand-new Kona N Line is accomplished live within the cabin. More passenger space results from an inch increase in width, an inch increase in height, a 7.0-inch increase in length, and a 2.3-inch increase in wheelbase.
The increase in front legroom to 41.7 inches is minimal, whereas the increase in back legroom to 38.2 inches is significant. Cargo capacity behind the second row increases by 6.3 cubic feet to 25.5 cubic feet.
The 2024 Kona N Line uses the same 1.6-liter turbo-four and eight-speed automatic as were used in the previous model, producing 190 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque.
Although all-wheel drive is an option, our test Kona came with front-wheel drive as standard. It is hardly surprising that this version of the new small SUV is slower than earlier turbocharged Konas because it is over 200 pounds heavier as well.
With its larger non-turbo engine producing less power than the tightly wound Hyundai, the 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L AWD is 1.3 seconds slower than the new N Line (9.8 seconds).
Although it is less powerful and lacks a turbo, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek 2.5-liter is 0.6 seconds faster than our Hyundai. The Kona N Line isn’t a frontrunner, but it’s still in the subcompact SUV performance range.
Efficiency is also impacted by weight, and the turbocharged Kona AWD moves from being good to being among the worst in its class. Compared to the previous model, its EPA ratings for fuel economy on the highway and in the city both decreased by 3 mph.
The city EPA estimate for the 2024 Kona N Line is better than the 23 mpg of the 1.3-liter turbo-four 2023 Jeep Renegade but poorer than the 25 mpg of the three-cylinder 2023 Ford Bronco Sport.
Our 2024 Kona N Line AWD had a sticker price of $34,145 with $660 in extras, which included carpeted floor mats and premium Ultimate Red Metallic paint.
That is precisely $3,000 more than the crossover’s 2023 model. The price is also in line with more expensive subcompact crossovers like the Mazda CX-30 and VW Taos, but we don’t yet know what they will cost in 2024 for either vehicle.