In-depth reviews

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"

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Pros

  • Smart design
  • Powerful motor
  • Impressive range

Cons

  • 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 and it has already increased Hyundai’s profile on the electric-car market.

The Kona Electric didn't have any direct rivals when it first arrived but now it faces off against a growing contingent that includes the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, Peugeot e-2008, MG ZS EV, Mazda MX-30 and Vauxhall Mokka-e, along with the Kia e-Niro from Hyundai’s sister brand.

Originally, the Kona Electric only differed from the conventionally fuelled versions in minor details and badges but to help it stay competitive, a facelift ushered in a number of changes. Slimmer headlights and a smooth nose not only helped give the Electric its own identity, but also reduced drag. The grey plastic wheel arch extensions are now body coloured for a more upmarket look, and the rear lights and bumpers have also been tweaked. 

It's pretty smart inside too;  every version now gets a 10.25-inch touchscreen display along with a digital instrument panel. 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 the 201bhp version doesn't feel quite as fast as the claimed 7.9-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 models. Go gently and Hyundai claims you'll see up to 300 miles on a full charge of the biggest 64kWh battery; a cheaper 39kWh battery is also offered, for which a 189-mile range is claimed.

If you find yourself running low on charge on a long journey, Hyundai says that using a 100Kw fast charger is sufficient to bring the 64kWh battery up to 80% in just under an hour. Alternatively, around 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 the next day.

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. 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

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