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A week with the 2022 Hydunai Kona N

This week we were sporting the 2022 Hyundai Kona N, celebrated as an SUV for the city, promising a compact build with additional maneuverability and agility. Plus, a new redesigned exterior for the 2022 model.

But starting with the exterior, the Kona is a good-looking vehicle, especially with the two-tone finish of the paint. The fire engine red flared all the more against the charcoal black roof. And with matching grill and rims in black, this was a sleek pairing. Similarly, the matching tonal red brake pads against the glossy black spokes of the rims gave the 2022 Kona an edgy sporty appeal. And the lack of a sunroof paralleled this as sports cars do not have sunroofs due to their potential to add weight and/or displace down force. A shame for myself, as I love the ability to go top down on a warmer sunny day, or even on a clear one with the heat blasted on high.

Within, the cabin appears rudimentary. Built in USB port, wireless phone charging panel, heated seats and heated wheel capability. All the modern conveniences that are expected and now come standard with newer vehicles. What stood out was the gear shift marked with the brand’s stylized N. The “N” designates Hyundai’s high performance driving capacities within this SUV. Little nuances put in place to optimize all driving conditions on all kinds of terrains.

This is echoed in the N Grin Shift (NGS), the red button on the steering wheel that is appealing to push. Each press allows you to toggle between 5 different drive modes. Each affecting the parameters of the engine, suspension, steering, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), exhaust sound, N Corner Carving Differential (e-LSD), and transmission. It also maximizes engine performance for 20 seconds as the car will automatically shift down to the most appropriate gear for maximum acceleration.

We would put this to the test this week with late night dinner runs and a quick escape into the wilderness. The Eco-mode was great when we wanted to conserve fuel during our daily commute in rush hour, and amongst the heavy traffic as we attempted to search for parking by Rogers Arena on game day. The Sand and Mud mode gave us extra traction and stability for a smoother ride when we traversed uneven and unpaved terrain in Tsawwassen for a day of fishing. Thankfully the week saw no snow and we bypassed the need for the Snow and Deep Snow mode. Although it is good to know the latter exists for those who have that as their winter reality.

Given how fluid the wheel is, it feels as if every little pressure applied affects the Kona’s handling and your ability to helm it in volumes. I liked how all the above was built with the driver in mind. The desire to have every minute detailed accounted for and to have the driver in complete control.

Yet when it came to modern creature comforts and to classify this as a daily driver, the 2022 Hyundai Kona was lacking. Only the driver seat gave you the option to customize for comfort. You were able to turn the hard-back bucket seat into a sturdy one with lower back and lumbar support for extending travelling. Although you could still feel every bump and buckle the car made under you. And it was a similar case for the very jerky auto pilot assist mode. At one point the pilot assist steered us to a shoulder, and we would have run into an electrical pole if we were not more observant.

In summary, a great base model with aesthetics anyone can appreciate. A quasi-race car feel that blends together city weekday driving with weekend off roading well.

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