2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Review | Asian Car Guide
September 19, 2019




2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Review

Hyundai Kona EV

The All-Electric version Hyundai Kona is a car that we really like – it is green, futuristic and forward-looking, yet still surprisingly familiar and easy to get to grips with.

With funky stacked twin headlight design, guards over the wheels and the rest of the body for a more rugged look, this car certainly turns heads! This is not the first time the Korean manufacturer produced something this funky from their factories.

The Veloster hatch has design cues from another planet, and an unequal number of doors on the sides.

It has a range of around 450kms, which currently is quite impressive with respect to the other EV’s around.

Slightly smaller in-size than the Tucson and lower in height, the unique Kona styling is aimed at younger SUV/Crossover buyers. A close look at the pinched grille reveals design shared with the latest Hyundai SUVs. On the whole, its slit-style lamps present a face which resembles something like Iron Man’s mask.

The ergonomics of this car are pretty good. The 8-inch screen of the infotainment unit is flanked by menu buttons, making navigation naturally easy to use. While the interface is not the best looking around, it is very easy to navigate. There is also a wireless charging pad for easier charging of compatible mobile devices.

Space in the rear is decent for two adults, as is cargo space, with 332 litres expanding to 1,114 litres with the seatbacks folded.

Initially, the driving experience can be a little awkward. The front end is notably lighter when compared the petrol variants we drove; when we turn the steering wheel, the car changes direction quite rapidly.

Using the paddle shifters to adjust the regenerative braking is a key to extracting maximum range out of the car. We think it is the car weight. It is heavier than petrol variants (39kg heavier than the all-wheel drive 1.6-litre). Because the Kona EV is lighter at the nose, the overall weight distribution means that there is disconnect between the front and rear axles that takes some getting used to.

With 395Nm of torque, the car accelerates easily and effortlessly. Select Sport mode and the acceleration are even more immediate and aggressive. As far as an electric powertrain is concerned, it will do everything that you really need.

Using the paddle shifters, you can select from three different regenerative braking settings. From our experience, you are best served to select Level 1 when driving at highway speed (which allows you to coast along when you are off the acceleration), and a higher setting when driving at lower speed (to maximise energy recovery).

The Kona EV is an impressive car, but the transition is not seamless. With higher riding height and bigger overall footprint, it takes a little time to adjust to the unique dynamic behaviour of the Kona EV.

Once you get used to driving the EV version, this Kona makes a lot of sense. It is certainly a capable and practical all electric SUV. We do feel that the Kona EV is arguably best suited as a city runabout. With all things considered it does an excellent job and makes for an easy car to drive around the city, zippy and agile in traffic.

The Kona Electric has a suite of advanced driver assistance systems that fall under the Hyundai SmartSense safety package. Features such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (with Pedestrian Detection), Lane Departure (with Lane Keeping Assist), Driver Attention Warning, Blind spot Collision Warning (with Lane Change Assist), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, and High Beam Assist. As for occupant safety during a collision, the Kona covers all bases starting with the SuperStructure high-strength steel vehicle chassis, anti-lock braking system (ABS) with brake assist (BA) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD), and six airbags.

There are two versions of the Kona Electric; Elite and Highlander. The Elite starts at $59,990 (plus ORC) and Highlander is priced from $64,490 (plus ORC).

The Kona EV costs more than $25,000 above the 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine version, making it the most expensive model in the Hyundai range, but of course at this stage in their introduction you pay a premium for EV’s, and most sales are expected for government and business car fleets, and private owners keen to be first adopters and maybe do their bit for the planet.

The higher cost is partially offset by lower running and servicing costs (about $4.5/100 km, and electric motors are much simpler and easier to maintain).

In the future, with EV’s going into much larger scale production runs, their cost will drop, and their batteries will continue to improve.

Servicing intervals are 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first), and each of the first five visits is currently capped at $165. The regular Hyundai warranty is five years, but the battery-pack warranty is eight years/160,000km.

HYUNDAI KONA EV HIGHLANDER PRICE AND SPECS:

  • Price: $64,490 plus on-road cost
  • Motor: Permanent magnet synchronous Front-wheel drive
  • Max power: 150kW
  • Max torque: 395Nm
  • Transmission: Single speed reduction gear
  • Weight: 1,743kg
  • 0-100km/h: 7.6 seconds (claimed)
  • Economy: 14.7kWh/100km (tested)