Hyundai Kona Electric vs Nissan Leaf

We put two of the market-leading mid-size electric cars head-to-head, with the Hyundai Kona Electric taking on the Nissan Leaf

It might be hard to believe, but it was way back in 2010 when Nissan launched the first-generation Leaf. Today, that car has been superseded by the Mk2 version, but the newcomer was never going to have the clear run at the electric-car market that its predecessor enjoyed.

The new Nissan Leaf has a growing field of talented electric rivals to contend with, not least the Hyundai Kona Electric. But which one is best?

The Hyundai Kona Electric presents buyers with a choice of battery sizes and, as a result, ranges, but it’s the cheaper 39kWh model we’re testing in Premium trim. It costs £28,720 after the £3,500 Government plug-in car grant, so it undercuts the £29,295 Nissan Leaf that’s in equivalent N-Connecta trim with a 40kWh battery.

With a longer official range of 194 miles to the Leaf’s 168, the Hyundai Kona Electric has a clear edge on paper.

However, that edge will be negated for many by the long wait times faced by anyone ordering a Kona. In fact, as we write in June 2019, Hyundai has sold all of its 2019 Kona Electric allocation and has a waiting list of some 2,000 customers for the next batch.

Clearly, it’s no small matter that you’ll be waiting a year or more if you want to buy a Kona Electric, while the Leaf’s delivery time is just a few months. Even so, we’re here to judge which of these cars is best, not which is most available.

Hyundai Kona Electric 39kWh Premium

Pros

  • Range
  • Infotainment & equipment
  • Price

Cons

  • Boot size
  • Ride quality
  • No app connectivity

Nissan Leaf 40kWh N-Connecta

Pros

  • Practicality
  • Acceleration
  • Single-pedal driving

Cons

  • Infotainment
  • Unreliable app
  • Range

So, while the Leaf is a purpose-designed electric car in the family-hatchback mould, the Kona is an SUV that’s also offered with petrol, diesel and hybrid engines – although it was designed from the outset with an electric variant in mind.

At a glance

  Hyundai Kona Electric 39kWh Premium Nissan Leaf 40kWh N-Connecta
Price £28,720 (after PiCG) £29,295 (after PiCG)
Estimated monthly cost* £421 £385
Energy consumption / real-world range 4.5 miles/kWh / 170 miles 3.6 miles/kWh / 150 miles
Charge cost (13p per kWh) £4.91 £5.04
Fastest 20-80% charge time 30 mins (100kW) 60 mins (50kW)
0-60mph 8.6 seconds 7.8 seconds
Boot (seats up/down) 332/1,114 litres 435/1,176 litres

*PCP estimate, based on a 36-month contract with £5,000 deposit and 10,000-mile annual allowance

Despite their different approaches, both cars promise good practicality and interior technology. But there can only be one winner. Read on for the rest of our head-to-head test between the Hyundai Kona Electric and Nissan Leaf…