The all-new 2024 Hyundai Kona compact SUV was unveiled last year and is on sale now. Available in both gasoline powered and all-electric models, we’ve just tested the sportiest of them all, the N-Line trim which is slotted just below the top-line Limited

The Kona is the last of the value brand’s top models to get their latest modern design language with striking lines, creases and origami folded forms that are future forward. It got slightly larger, now 5.7-inches longer at 171-inches with a 2.3-inch longer wheelbase and is now a full inch wider than before.

Our N-Line is powered by the brand’s proven 1.6-liter 4-cylinder direct-injected four-cylinder turbo with 190 horsepower and 195 pound-feet torque. The best news here is that it’s now mated to a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission instead of the jerky old dual-clutch transmission. Nice. Ours was also optioned with AWD.

The N-Line gets you 19-inch wheels, a sport tuned suspension, more aggressive body cladding and rear spoiler, a really nice set of dual exhaust tips and a good deal of upgrades inside to elevate the driving experience.

Its interior got most of the extra space added to its length and its width, gaining a the same futuristic mid-century style we’ve been seeing in Hyundai’s latest ground-breaking designs. New is a dual 12.3-inch panoramic display screen layout for the cockpit and an artful steering wheel with oval center pad.

Featured is a shift-by-wire paddle on its right, replacing a conventional shift lever at the console. Not my favorite as it has a twist knob instead of being a lever and was easy to confuse with the twist knob for the wipers just above it at night.

The wide horizontal dash is accented by a continuous red color line that cuts across and through the vents. Infotainment here is the top line 8-speaker Bose Premium Sound System plus subwoofer. It sounds ok and the 12.3-inch screen is easy enough to use. In spite of all its features, it still does not have wireless connection for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Strange.

This is an SUV though so there’s a good deal of cargo space starting with 25.5 cubic feet behind the second row. Folding down the rear seat gets you up to 63.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

With a longer wheelbase, suspension has been re-tuned to offer a more stable and refined driving experience. All models get a conventional MacPherson strut front suspension and our AWD equipped Kona had an upgraded multi-link rear suspension. FWD models will get a torsion beam suspension at the rear. Frown.

The ride was firm and fit the sporting character of the Kona N-Line but with its 19-inch wheels could be harsh over urban pavement irregularities. The brakes too showed themselves to be hard to modulate in traffic.

Overall, the 2024 Hyundai Kona is so much better than the car it replaces in every measure. It is however still built to a price. Rattles and squeaks, hard plastic in the cabin and a rougher than average engine were the things that had us wishing for more.

Key Specifications:

As Tested Price: $33,695

Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged 4-cylinder GDI
Horsepower: 190 @ 6000rpm
Torque: 195 @ 1700-4500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive Type: AWD
EPA Fuel Economy: 24 city, 29 highway, 26 combined
Observed Fuel Economy: 26 Combined

Length: 172.6”
Width: 71.9”
Height: 63.6”
Wheelbase: 104.7”
Curb Weight: 3483 lbs

Ground Clearance: 8.3”
Towing Capacity: Not Recommended
GVWR: 4277 lbs