Hyundai Kona Electric review
"The Hyundai Kona is a car transformed by the switch to electric power, making it a great choice for affordable family motoring"
- Smart design
- Powerful motor
- Impressive range
- Not fun to drive
- Home charger costs extra
- Longest range not available on SE
While electric cars are gradually gaining a following, limited range is still a factor that puts some potential buyers off. The Hyundai Kona Electric is among a wave of EVs that aims to overcome this hurdle, as well as increasing its maker's profile on the electric-car market.
The Kona Electric doesn't face a lot of direct competition; the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq Electric are close in size, but more conventionally hatchback-shaped, and the same is true of the Volkswagen e-Golf. It's possibly no exaggeration to say that only the more expensive BMW i3 is more distinctive among electric-car rivals.
That's despite the fact that, filled-in grille aside, the Kona Electric only differs from its conventionally fuelled stablemates in details and badges, but it certainly stands out from the ever-growing array of compact SUVs such as the Citroen C3 Aircross and SEAT Arona. It's pretty smart inside, too – the flat, metallic-coloured centre console has a look of quality to it and the 'floating' infotainment screen adds a hi-tech touch. Among the first things you notice, though, is the absence of a conventional gearstick, which reminds you just how different this version is to its fossil-fuelled counterparts.
It also means the Kona Electric's rapid acceleration in near-silence comes as less of a shock. Although it doesn't feel quite as fast as the claimed 7.6-second 0-62mph time suggests, the Kona Electric's instant response couldn't feel more different to the occasionally noisy and jerky progress experienced in the petrol or diesel models. Go gently and Hyundai claims you'll see around 300 miles on a full charge of the biggest 64kWh battery; a cheaper 39kWh battery is also offered, for which a 200-mile range is claimed.
If you find yourself running low on charge on a long journey, Hyundai says that a 75-minute session plugged into a 50kw fast charger is sufficient to bring your battery up to 80%. Alternatively, just under 10 hours is long enough for a full charge using an optional 7.2kWh home charger. Many owners will do this overnight, so the car is ready for use after breakfast.
While the petrol and diesel Hyundai Kona struggles to beat the all-round talents of its rivals, the appeal of the electric version is more clear-cut. It's one of the more compelling electric cars you can buy, and costs no more than shorter-range rivals once the UK Government's plug-in vehicle grant is taken into account. Add Hyundai's strong reputation for customer service and impressive five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, and the Kona Electric is an easy electric car to recommend.
See how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric