In-depth reviews

Hyundai Kona Electric review

The Hyundai Kona Electric boasts fashionable looks, reasonable pricing and – crucially – a range that meets or beats that offered by many rivals

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£30,111 - £40,861
Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • Up to 300-mile range
  • Fashionable crossover styling
  • Well equipped for the asking price

Cons

  • Interior a bit bland
  • Some rivals more spacious
  • Weight saps driving enjoyment
ModelOfficial rangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Kona 39kWh189 miles6hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)48mins (10-80%, 50kW)
Kona 64kWh300 miles9hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)47mins (10-80%, 100kW)

The Hyundai Kona launched in 2018 with various engine options, including petrol, diesel and electric. The car forms 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 and BMW i3, not to mention the Kia e-Niro, which shares the Kona's platform, battery technology and impressive range.

The Kona Electric was facelifted in 2021, but the battery and electric motors were left unchanged; there are two versions depending on how much range and power you want. The entry-level car comes with a 39kWh battery and 134bhp electric motor, while the range-topper features 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 – especially now that the UK Government's plug-in car grant has been reduced.

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 little over 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. Maximum range stands at between 189 and 300 miles depending on which battery you opt for.

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 10.25-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, as well as a comprehensive safety package. Sat nav, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range. The Premium trim adds luxuries like a heated seats, wireless phone charging and LED headlights. Ultimate tops the range with a head-up display to project vehicle and route info on the windscreen in front of the driver, plus ventilated front seats and a sunroof. Beware however, as bigger-battery versions are expensive.

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 Hyundai 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...

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