Hyundai Kona Electric
“With 258 miles of range and loads of tech, the Kona Electric makes a great EV entry point.”
- Impressive vary
- Functional inside
- Intuitive infotainment system
- Available Digital Key
- Low-power charging
- Lackluster driving expertise
Electric vehicles based mostly on current gasoline fashions can really feel half-baked, however the 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric appears to be like just like the exception to that rule. The gasoline Kona was already an excellent subcompact crossover SUV, and the Kona Electric provides a powerful 258-mile vary. To discover out if this EV was pretty much as good in actual life because it seems to be on paper, we spent per week driving one.
The Kona Electric launched as a 2019 mannequin and will get some notable updates for the 2022 mannequin yr. Highlights embody wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, its Digital Key characteristic, and the identical new touchscreens utilized in different Hyundai fashions. Hyundai made some exterior styling modifications as effectively however didn’t make any powertrain modifications, so vary stays the identical.
Hyundai presents the Kona Electric in base SEL and our test-model Limited, which begin at $35,185 and $43,685, respectively (all costs embody a compulsory $1,185 vacation spot cost). The Kona Electric can be eligible for the total $7,500 federal tax credit score and should qualify for state and native incentives, relying on the place you reside.
Design and inside
Hyundai has promised a line of electrical vehicles based mostly on a devoted platform, however for now, the Kona Electric shares its underpinnings with gasoline fashions. That means it has largely the identical exterior styling as gasoline Kona fashions, with stacked headlights and daytime operating lights, plastic physique cladding, and a form that’s someplace between an SUV and a traditional hatchback. Gasoline or electrical, the Kona appears to be like like nothing else on the highway.
Electric fashions are distinguished by a blanked-off grille (which additionally homes the cost port) and model-specific wheels that, Hyundai says, optimize aerodynamic effectivity. Styling tweaks for the 2022 mannequin yr embody purposeful front-bumper vents, reworked lighting, and a brand new rear bumper. The modifications are pretty refined, nonetheless.
The inside is just about similar to the gasoline Kona’s. The essential distinction is a set of buttons that substitute the gasoline mannequin’s shift lever. The inside design is clear and purposeful, with a useful storage tray beneath the middle console. The solely draw back was materials high quality. Nearly the whole lot was plain black plastic, and whereas that will be wonderful on the worth level of a primary gasoline Kona, it didn’t appear acceptable given our check automobile’s roughly $43,000 MSRP.
Gasoline or electrical, the Kona appears to be like like nothing else on the highway.
The Kona Electric has barely much less rear headroom and legroom than the already-cramped gasoline Kona. This car’s tiny dimension and pretty low seating place don’t really feel notably SUV-like, however passenger house is much like rival EVs. The Kia Niro EV and Chevrolet Bolt EV/EUV provide related headroom, though the Chevys provide extra legroom in each rows. The Volkswagen ID.4 presents extra entrance and rear headroom, and extra rear-seat legroom, however long-legged drivers received’t discover a lot of a distinction.
At 19.2 cubic toes with the rear seats in place, and 45.8 cubic toes with the rear seats folded, cargo house is similar to gasoline Kona fashions. With its rear seats up, the Hyundai presents extra cargo house than the Kia Niro EV and Chevy Bolt EV/EUV, however loses that benefit once you fold the rear seats. Conversely, the Nissan Leaf has extra cargo house with its rear seats up, however much less with the rear seats folded. Only the VW ID.4 presents extra cargo house in each circumstances.
Tech, infotainment, and driver help
The commonplace 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system contains wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Higher trim ranges get a ten.25-inch touchscreen with multiple-device pairing, however solely wired CarPlay and Android Auto.
Our check automobile had the bigger touchscreen, which carries over from different Hyundai fashions. That’s not a foul factor, as we’ve had optimistic experiences with the identical unit up to now. The display’s smart structure, well-designed graphics (together with old school vacuum tubes for the radio menu), and responsiveness have made it among the best from a mainstream automaker. That’s nonetheless the case right here.
The Kona Electric does an exceptionally good job of displaying charging info. A tab on the suitable facet of the display reveals the battery pack’s state of cost, a variety estimate, and areas of close by charging stations. You may set the charging-station search by station sort, and even by main networks like ChargePoint or Electrify America. It’s an intuitive setup that ought to be reassuring to first-time EV drivers whereas offering the performance extra educated drivers will seemingly admire.
The display’s smart structure, well-designed graphics, and responsiveness make it among the best from a mainstream automaker.
All Kona Electric fashions additionally get an ordinary 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster with EV-specific shows for issues like cost degree and regenerative-braking use. Everything was straightforward to learn, and the data was effectively organized, however we discovered the default white-on-black setting to be a bit too vivid (there’s an evening mode too).
The Kona Electric may also be outfitted with Hyundai’s Digital Key characteristic, which lets the driving force use a smartphone instead of a conventional key fob. Drivers can lock or unlock the doorways, begin the automobile, and drive with solely a related telephone. However, this characteristic solely works with Android telephones.
Standard driver-assist tech contains blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, forward-collision warning, lane-keep help, lane-follow help, safe-exit help, and a driver consideration monitor. The Kona Electric Limited provides adaptive cruise management and automated excessive beams. That’s a fairly good array of options, however the Kona Electric doesn’t get the intelligent camera-based blind-spot monitoring system out there in different Hyundai fashions, which reveals a digital camera view within the instrument cluster when a flip sign is activated.
The Kona Electric’s single motor produces 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. That’s about the identical quantity of horsepower you get in a base VW ID.4 or a Chevy Bolt EV, however the Hyundai has considerably extra torque.
While gasoline variations of the Kona can be found with all-wheel drive, the Kona Electric is front-wheel drive solely. That’s not ultimate for a car billed as an SUV, however many of the Kona Electric’s rivals don’t provide all-wheel drive both. You can get an all-wheel-drive VW ID.4, or spend extra money on a Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, or Volvo XC40 Recharge.
Copious torque supplies extra of a kick off the road than the Kona’s gasoline siblings.
That copious torque supplies extra of a kick off the road than the Kona’s gasoline siblings, or induces futile wheelspin in case you’re not cautious. Robust acceleration is a characteristic of each electrical automobile, although, as a result of electrical motors present instantaneous torque supply. Drivers can select from totally different ranges of regenerative braking by way of paddle shifters. The lowest setting successfully permits the automobile to coast at freeway speeds. The highest setting supplies substantial deceleration when lifting off the accelerator pedal, however falls a bit wanting the one-pedal driving most EVs aspire to.
The Kona Electric couldn’t distinguish itself from different EVs in dealing with, missing the solidity of the VW ID.4, and the nimbleness of the Chevy Bolt EV and EUV. The electrical mannequin’s sloppy dealing with additionally felt like a downgrade from the final gasoline Kona we examined. The cabin did at the very least preserve highway noise out (all Kona fashions get extra sound-damping acoustic glass for 2022) and the trip was pretty snug more often than not. However, the suspension failed to soak up even small bumps, transmitting a harsh jolt into the cabin each time.
Range, charging, and security
At 258 miles, the Kona Electric presents considerably extra vary than most different similarly-priced EVs, handily beating the Kia Niro EV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Nissan Leaf. The Chevy Bolt EV presents 259 miles of vary, however that falls to 247 miles for its Bolt EUV sibling. The Volkswagen ID.4 is rated at 260 miles of vary in base rear-wheel-drive Pro trim, and achieves that with extra SUV-like quantities of passenger and cargo house.
When it’s time to recharge, nonetheless, it’s possible you’ll be in for an extended wait. Hyundai says the 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger takes 9 hours to completely recharge the 64.0-kilowatt-hour battery pack from a 240-volt Level 2 AC supply. The Kona Electric can be outfitted for DC quick charging at 70 kW, which Hyundai says can accomplish a ten% to 80% cost in 47 minutes. However, it took us simply over an hour to go from a 25% to 80% state of cost, and we solely bought a peak cost fee of 39 kW. While a single charging session doesn’t make for a scientific conclusion, that’s not encouraging.
Full crash-test rankings for the Kona Electric aren’t out there. The gasoline Kona did effectively in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing, however these outcomes is probably not immediately relevant to the electrical model. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn’t printed crash-test rankings for the Kona Electric both however, once more, the gasoline Kona carried out effectively within the federal company’s exams.
The Kona Electric will get the identical five-year, 60,000-mile, new car guarantee and 10-year, 100,000-mile, powertrain guarantee as gasoline Hyundai fashions, that are among the many finest guarantee phrases within the enterprise. The electrical mannequin additionally will get a 10-year, 100,000-mile, battery guarantee, which is aggressive with different EV battery warranties.
How DT would configure this automobile
As talked about above, Hyundai’s infotainment programs require you to choose on the subject of tech. The base Kona Electric SEL trim degree will get wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however the Kona Electric Limited will get a bigger touchscreen with higher graphics. We would go for the Limited mannequin and its larger display, which we predict could be extra appreciated in each day use. The Limited additionally provides different tech options.
This high-end Kona Electric will get commonplace wi-fi machine charging, Hyundai’s Digital Key, and the battery-warming system. Those three options can be found as a part of an extra-cost Convenience Package on the Kona Electric SEL, however that provides $3,500 and thus closes the hole with the Limited’s base worth. The Limited trim additionally will get adaptive cruise management. That’s not out there on the SEL at any worth.
The Kona Electric bucks the development of mediocre EVs based mostly on gasoline vehicles. It presents a powerful vary for the worth whereas protecting the well-designed inside and funky styling of the gasoline Kona. However, it’s let down by low-power charging and a lackluster driving expertise.
The Hyundai’s cramped inside and small cargo space could be a legal responsibility when in comparison with typical crossover SUVs, but it surely’s the same story with the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt EV/EUV (that are presently present process a serious recall). Only the recently-launched Volkswagen ID.4 presents a very SUV-like expertise, with extra cargo house and an all-wheel-drive model on the best way.
Marketing classes apart, the Kona Electric excels as a price range EV. It presents loads of tech for the worth, and sufficient vary that almost all drivers received’t be inhibited, though uneven deployment of charging infrastructure may nonetheless make issues inconvenient for some folks. The upcoming Hyundai Ioniq 5 would be the automaker’s true future-tech assertion, however anybody able to take the EV plunge proper now received’t be dissatisfied by the Kona Electric.
Should you get one?
Yes. The Kona Electric doesn’t really feel just like the automobile of the long run, but it surely’s a superb EV for right now.