Hyundai Kona Electric motor, drive & performance

The Hyundai Kona Electric is quick off the mark, but the handling is safe and sensible

A powerful motor means the Kona Electric has what it takes to surprise a hot hatch at the traffic lights, but its considerable weight and comfort-focused handling mean it’s most at home around town or on the motorway.

Hyundai Kona Electric motor, 0-62mph and acceleration

The two different battery options in the Kona feel very similar, although the more powerful motor gives you noticeably quicker acceleration. The extra power of the 201bhp motor helps the Kona to a 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds, while the 134bhp motor manages it in a more moderate 9.9 seconds.

In spite of the decent 0-62mph figures, the Kona’s acceleration doesn’t really add any sense of excitement to driving it, as the car’s weight of 1.7 tons always makes itself felt. There are also paddles behind the steering wheel that you can pull to operate the regenerative braking system, allowing you to gently slow the car to a stop while giving the battery a boost – without touching the brake pedal.

Progress is pleasingly silent from inside, unless you’re accelerating hard, when a faint whine from the motor is audible. In order to alert pedestrians and cyclists to your approach, Hyundai has added a not-unpleasant harmonic hum to replace the engine note of a traditional car.

Handling

Once again, the Kona Electric’s weight is the defining characteristic here, and the chassis is definitely not set up to provide any fun behind the wheel. The steering is direct and neither too heavy or too light, but it doesn’t offer any tangible connection to the front wheels through your fingertips. The handling is unremarkable, too, with a tendency for the nose to drift wide into understeer quite early if you’re trying to push the car into corners with any sort of commitment. On the plus side, the silent interior, well composed suspension and easy-driving nature of the Kona Electric make it a likeable companion for drivers who want a relaxing, comfortable drive.