Motor (Australia)

NEW BEST FRIEND

N Division’s mini SUV gets a flying start at life with MOTOR

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HAVE YOU MET KonaN O’Brien? He’s a good bloke, a guy that’s happy to accompany you on dayto-day errands and will always lift the mood with a good fart joke. You know, the sort of bloke that’ll help you move house.

He also has a tough streak, and is more than happy to back you up in a street fight. We suspect he’s quietly struggling with some sort of personalit­y disorder as, at a moment’s notice, his persona switches to a more KonaN the Barbarian type of character than your usually affable SNL host.

If you haven’t worked it out yet, KonaN (hat tip to Trent Giunco for first coining the name in our office) is actually a 2022 Hyundai Kona N. Our big blue bus arrived at the MOTOR Garage in December.

I’ve had the manic bump and grind of the holiday period to get acquainted with my new best friend but, before that, there was the slight matter of Hyundai’s N Festival to attend to. N Fest is a travelling annual track day put on by Hyundai for its growing base of enthusiast­s and, given that 2021’s event landed in Victoria, I was kindly invited along with ‘my’ new Kona N to take part in all the festivitie­s.

I’m no stranger to the 4:30am slog out of Melbourne up to Winton Raceway, but the hot Kona made for the best highway companion I’ve ever enjoyed. An effective climate control system, Android Auto and a hugely impressive Lane Following Assist system sharply contrasted with the tramlining old Nissan I’m usually slaving up the Hume Highway with. There was significan­t tyre roar produced by the Kona N’s Pirelli P Zero tyres however, although this was easily

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The back section of Winton can be difficult for frontdrive cars, but the Kona’s e-diff keeps the nose in check
ABOVE The back section of Winton can be difficult for frontdrive cars, but the Kona’s e-diff keeps the nose in check
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