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Hyundai Kona Electric Standard Range Sunroof Review: Designed Ground Up as an EV

Hyundai's compact SUV feels grown-up and very capable.
James Wong
James Wong
14 May 2024
... packaging wise, the Kona Electric has the exact same cargo capacity as the Kona Hybrid, albeit the former has a bit more due to the availability of a 27-litre frunk.
What we like:
pros
Little drawbacks of being an EV
pros
Much bigger cabin versus the last generation
pros
Useful V2L feature
What we dislike:
cons
Its performance is on-par with the Hybrid but doesn't quite exceed it

Following our review of the Kona Hybrid last year, the car won Best Ergonomics in OneShift’s Car of the Year 2023 and now we get to try the electric version.

How big is the battery pack of the Kona Electric?

It is available with either a 48.6 kWh or a 64.8 kWh battery; the version tested here has the former and gives a WLTP rated range of 456 km.

How powerful is the Kona Electric?

It is good for 135 hp (the 64.8 kWh version has 10 hp more) and torque is rated at 255 Nm for both versions - surprisingly a full 10 Nm less than the Kona Hybrid. Usually, EVs would have significantly more torque than their ICE/HEV counterparts. But fret not, on the move, the Kona Electric doesn’t feel any slower than the Hybrid with a 0-100 km/h time of 9.9 seconds. I would say their performance is pretty on par, which is to say, pleasingly sufficient.

How practical is the Kona Electric?

Designed ground up first and foremost of an EV, the Kona Electric in principle should feel most at home as a car without any combustion engine under its bonnet. And it shows: packaging wise, the Kona Electric has the exact same cargo capacity as the Kona Hybrid, albeit the former has a bit more due to the availability of a 27-litre frunk.

How does the Kona Electric drive?

I think its EV-first design filters through in the way it drives, because it goes down a road very similarly to the Hybrid version especially where comfort is concerned. This is a compliment to the Kona Electric, because EVs tend to have their ride comfort undone when dealing with the weight of a battery pack. You don’t really get that with the Kona Electric.

Dynamically, with the Kona Electric having less weight up front and more in the middle of its chassis, it should feel more planted around corners and have less understeer. I didn’t drive it anywhere near to its limit to feel these differences, but suffice to say, it is a pleasingly easy car to drive yet with measured, linear controls that convey surprising feedback from the road.

What unique features does the Kona Electric have?

Other features exclusive to the Kona Electric you don’t find in the Kona Hybrid include memory driver seats, a rear flat floor and paddle shifters that control regeneration. Not deal breakers by any measure, but they are nice touches. Also, the Kona Electric has V2L capabilities and has a power outlet located in the rear of the cabin - perfect for doing work on the go or powering up a picnic.

The Kona Electric is a brilliant electric car that also happens to have a brilliant hybrid sibling as well, and its award-winning ergonomics continue unchanged here. There’s huge appeal in this generation of Kona, whichever powertrain you decide on.

Photos by James Wong


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