Hyundai Kona Electric review
|Car||Official range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Kona 39kWh||180 miles||6hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||50mins (10-80%, 50kW)|
|Kona 64kWh||280 miles||10hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||44mins (10-80%, 100kW)|
The regular Hyundai Kona is part of the burgeoning compact SUV class, which means it adopts something of the style of a chunky off-roader while offering the easy-driving practicality of a small family hatchback. In truth, against a roster of rivals that includes the Citroen C3 Aircross, SEAT Arona, Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, a petrol Kona isn’t a very inspiring choice.
The Hyundai Kona Electric isn’t the first electric SUV; that accolade fell to its Korean stablemate the Kia Soul EV. It’s a much more exciting proposition than the Kia, though, and one that really takes the fight to established electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf, not to mention the Kia e-Niro, which shares the Kona's platform, battery technology and impressive range.
There are two versions of the Kona Electric depending on how much range and power you want, one with a 39kWh battery and 134bhp electric motor, the other with a 64kWh battery and 201bhp electric motor. The latter is vastly more popular with customers, but the 39kWh version's lower starting price may appeal to some who primarily want an electric car for local journeys.
The downside of a big battery is long charging times. If you use the basic domestic charging cable supplied with the Kona Electric plugged into a standard three-pin socket in your house or garage, the 64kWh battery will take more than 30 hours to fill completely, which is why Hyundai expects most owners to install a faster wallbox charger at home.
With a 7.4kW supply, the charging time comes down to a bit more than 10 hours. If you want to drive longer distances, you’ll likely be using rapid-charging stations at motorway services, and these can give the Kona Electric an 80% top-up in less than an hour.
So which spec should you go for? All trim levels are well equipped, with 17-inch alloys, roof rails, adaptive cruise control, electric windows and a seven-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, as well as a comprehensive safety package, sat nav and wireless phone charging. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range.
The Premium SE adds luxuries like a head-up display to project vehicle and route info on the windscreen in front of the driver, as well as LED headlamps and leather seat facings.
On the road, the Kona Electric feels similar to its internal-combustion-engined siblings, which means it’s not much fun to drive, but never less than competent. The electric version is more relaxing as it’s so quiet, and you don’t have the hassle of changing gear, but the considerable extra weight makes itself felt on twisty roads and when you’re accelerating.
The 64kWh version will do 0-62mph in just 7.6 seconds, but it never feels like a hot hatchback, and top speed is 104mph. The ride is comfortable though, which helps add to the relaxing feel of the car.
From a practicality perspective, the Kona isn’t as spacious or well thought-out as some of its rivals (notably the e-Niro) and the boot may feel pretty small to some users – or indeed anyone who looks in the back of a SEAT Arona. But the Kona is just about big enough to manage a family of four, and it has a good safety package too.
For a more detailed look at the Hyundai Kona Electric, have a look at how we got on running one for six months, or read on for the rest of our in-depth review.