The bold-styled compact SUV is Hyundai's belated entry into the EV segment. The Hyundai Kona Electric has previously been described as a viable bridge between high-end SUVs and economical options. It has an impressive range, high performance in the power department, and a practical interior. Since 2019, buyers of the Kona have had a two or four-wheel drive selection and the option of gas or electric powertrain.
It has been previously described as the most outrageously styled Hyundai in the world. For one, there is a two-tone colour theme and different front and rear bumpers. The dinner plate wheels are also odd-looking as they add to a lower drag coefficient to make the Kona slippery while using less power.
The Kona Electric is available in galactic grey, phantom black, ceramic blue, and pulse red. The significant changes compared to the petrol version include the lack of grille at the front and mode-specific rear bumper treatment. The appeal of the Kona Electric could be that it does not look too different from the regular Kona.
There are a few attributes that separate the Kona Electric from the petrol models, such as the centre console area. It may not be as practical as the regular Kona, considering the floor pan of the Electric has been lifted to create space for the battery pack underneath.
The space in the cabin depends on what type of small SUV customer the user would be. It is suitable for couples without children or single individuals. The boot space in the Kona Electric is lower than the gas version. The capacity for cargo is 332 litres, which is somewhat smaller than the petrol. In the petrol model, there is a space-saver spare wheel.
The battery pack is under the floor of the Kona, which means there is limited foot room for rear-seat passengers, the knees are pushed upwards as a result, and the knee room can be tight. There are also mesh map pockets and door pockets that have bottle holders at the rear. There are no rear air vents, though, but that is not much of a need within a cabin that compact. The front seating area has heated and cooled seats, which is great on cold mornings.
The Kona Electric differs from the petrol-powered version in some ways, including a new media screen that is 10.25 inches. It also has a new skin display for the software, which is crispier and better to navigate.
The console still has a lot of hard buttons below the screen and volume and tuning knobs. The audio system has controls on the steering wheel, and there is support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay that allows you to display apps from your smartphone on the touchscreen of the car and operate them there.
Hill-start assist, which operates the brakes automatically, also makes take off on steep hills easier. Headlights also turn on automatically when it gets dark and bright.
The Kona’s electric motor sends power to the front wheels and is linked to a single-speed transmission. It is capable of 150 kW and 395 Nm of torque. There is a 356-volt lithium-ion polymer pack situated under the vehicle with a 64-kW capacity. The range of the Kona Electric is reportedly 449 km.
There are the usual options for charging the battery. It takes a day or so at home to charge from 0 to 80 per cent. That charging time drops to at least nine and a half hours with an optional wall box and onboard 7.2 kW charger. There is an old-fashioned 12-volt battery as well next to the motor. The Kona Electric is based on the standard internal combustion engine platform, and it’s evident that the brand did not completely re-engineer the car's electrical settings during construction.
The official consumption figure is 15.3 kWh/100 km. That is the best bit as Hyundai has been great with the claimed consumption for gas-powered options. The Kona Electric can get off the line to 96 km per hour in 7.6 seconds.
It is very compelling as an urban driver considering it is very comfortable over decent distances. If the drive is over country back roads, then there may be some stiffening, and the suspension can be hard. The steering is a bit predictable, and the suspension has been tuned to offer good engagement for the driver.
The Kona Electric Elite arrives with the usual complement of six airbags, electronic stability control, and a five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty as part of the mandatory safety packages. Other packages include forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, pedestrian detection, active cruise control, and front and rear parking sensors.
The Kona Electric also provides lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning and reverse cross-traffic alert systems for objects, vehicles, and people behind the car. The standard new warranty applies to the car with a separate one for the battery.
Pricing and maintenance
There are two options as the entry-level Elite costs $59,900 while the Highlander retails at $64,990. Hyundai also offers two ways to pay for maintenance. If the driver pays upfront for prepaid servicing, then they can roll the cost into the finance. Otherwise, there is an option to keep checking back to see the expenses linked with the Lifetime Service Plan program.
The brand requires that the user services the Kona Electric every 12 months or 15,000 km, whichever happens first. There are fewer moving parts in an electric car, so fewer things can go wrong. It is no wonder that the servicing costs for the electric model are lower than usual.
If the goal is a small electric SUV with an excellent driving range and economical maintenance, then the Kona is the best option. It is the best EV option when it comes to practicality since the competitors are quite costly or do not have the same range. It is also quite comfortable and offers a suitable urban driving experience. It is not the best option for off-roading.
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