Hyundai’s rollout of the new, second-generation Kona has reached its crescendo as the Korean brand revealed details for the all-electric version of its redesigned subcompact crossover. But while gas-, hybrid-, and battery-powered versions of Kona and Kona N-Line are part of the plan, one trim was conspicuously absent.
Yep, I’m talking about the fire-breathing Kona N. And based on a conversation at the Kona Electric’s media preview in Berlin, it sounds like the jury is still out on the tallest N model. Speaking to Hyundai’s Sang Hyeon Park, senior vice president and head of EV strategy, and Se Hyuk Park, VP and head of compact vehicle projects, the real determining factor for a second-gen Kona N is the response to the upcoming Ioniq 5 N. And if a new N appears, it won’t be with the turbocharged gas engine, but an electric motor(s).
“Nothing is decided on Kona N at the moment,” SVP Park said during a media roundtable. “For Kona, we have a focus on ICE, EV, and hybrid, and are considering N as well. We are seeing the feedback and market reaction from the market about Ioniq 5 N.”
The news might come as a surprise, considering the strong positive reception to the current Kona N. But Hyundai’s shift to EVs is driving new thinking at the automaker, and that might mean sacrificing the Kona N as we know it.
“Technically, it’s easier for us to make an N high-performance version of the dedicated EV because of the platform,” VP Park said. “We can bring out the high-performance output; but based on the non-dedicated platform with an ICE or EV, we have to look at different options. We also have to fully consider CAFE. It’s a difficult situation. The ICE N is not our consideration. Based on the feedback of Ioniq 5 N, we’ll make a future decision.”
It will likely be some time before Hyundai ultimately makes up its mind on the potential N EV. Neither the second-gen Kona nor the Ioniq 5 N are due to arrive in dealers until later this year.