Hyundai Kona Electric

hyundai kona electric review 2023 01 tracking front

Hyundai Kona Electric front

The second-generation crossover grows in size and has been developed with a great focus on the EV version

The first Hyundai Kona Electric was something of an afterthought. The multi-powertrain crossover was developed as a combustion-engined model, with the battery-powered version following later.That was fine in 2018, and while the Kona Electric is still a strong performer, relentless progress means the EV market is quite different now. With the Electric accounting for 40% of European Kona sales, Hyundai has developed the second-generation version as an EV first, and the petrol and hybrid versions afterwards (although the ICE models go on sale here first).The new Kona doesn’t have all the benefits of a bespoke EV like the Ioniq 5, but it has switched to a new multi-powertrain platform that was developed with BEVs in mind. Benefits include that EV versions have a flat floor without needing to account for the transmission tunnels ICE versions require.The line-up hasn’t changed: you can have a Standard Range model with a 154bhp motor and 48.4kWh battery, or a Long Range model with 214bhp and 65.4kWh battery. We’ve driven the entry-level model, with an estimated range of 234 miles – behind rivals such as the Peugeot e-2008 (250 miles), but ahead of the entry-level Volvo EX30 (214).The Long Range, from £38,595, has a 306-mile range, which puts it ahead of the Kia Niro EV that uses the same platform. Both versions can charge at up to 102.3kW – hardly cutting-edge, but decent enough for the size of the batteries. A heat pump is standard, so those ranges shouldn’t plummet in winter. In terms of range, the Standard Range model will only be offered in the UK in entry-level Advance trim, which rides on 17in wheels and features niceties such as dual zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and front and rear parking sensors.The Lone Range model will also be offered in N Line and N Line S trims, which will arrive in 2024 with 19in wheels and bespoke styling elements. There’s also a range-topping Ultimate trim, which is priced from £43,095 and also has 19in wheels along with leather upholstery, a sunroof, Bose stereo and extra driver assistance systems.The styling has developed substantially, and the use of pixel lights means the EV is particularly sharp. But the most notable thing is how much the Kona has grown: it is 145mm longer than before, giving it mini-Tucson vibes. It’s also far closer in size to the related and hugely popular Niro EV.You notice the extra size inside. The cabin and boot are roomier and more practical, making this a far better proposition for families. Hyundai has maximised the extra space, for example moving the drive controller from the centre console to a chunky steering wheel stalk and freeing up more storage between the front seats.Interior quality is a substantial step forward, and everything seems robust and built to last. The dashboard is dominated by twin 12.3in screens for driver info and infotainment, and it gets the latest version of Hyundai’s software, but for the touchscreen-averse, there are buttons below the central screen, too. Visibility is good all round, the driving position is exactly what you’d expect for this type of car, and it’s a comfortable, pleasant environment.From our short experience in a late pre-production car (hence the camouflage stripes on the car we tested), ‘comfortable’ and ‘pleasant’ also describe the driving experience. There’s the instant response you expect from an electric motor, but once moving the Standard Range’s acceleration is relatively sedate.The steering isn’t massively engaging but is consistently weighted and predictable, and the Kona rides well on mixed surfaces and at speed. You can adjust the brake regen using paddles, right up to a full one-pedal mode. Our drive wasn’t long enough for us to get an accurate say on how efficient the machine is, but indications are that this will continue to be a strength.There are also a variety of modes that a discernible difference between each, but don’t expect Sport to turn this into a faux-Kona Electric N.We doubt many prospective Kona Electric buyers are looking for N-style thrills, though. They’ll want a strong all-rounder that happens to be electric, and this second-gen Kona delivers on that. We suspect the Long Range version will be the choice of many, but even in entry-level form the Kona Electric retains its status as a decent all-rounder with plenty of mass appeal.
Source: Autocar

Leave a Reply