When Hyundai first launched its Kona into the UK market back in 2018, it became an instant hit.
First developed as a multi-powertrain small SUV, an electric version soon followed. Now this second-generation Kona has been developed with much of the attention focused solely on the EV version.
Across Europe, 40% of Kona sales are electric, so clearly the improvements in technology, plus newly updated styling and more interior space are key to ensuring continued success.
While the latest Kona will be available with a choice of internal combustion engines, we’re focusing on the new electric offering.
Worth mentioning right from the start that the new Kona now benefits from a much roomier cabin, thanks to the fact it now shares its underpinnings with its Korean sister, the Kia Niro EV.
In fact, the Kona is now 145mm longer than its predecessor, including 60mm extra between the front and rear wheels. The result is more of a mini-Hyundai Tucson look. The second-gen Kona is available with a choice of four trim levels; the entry-level Advance is followed by the N Line, N Line S and Ultimate. Standard kit is impressive, with all models getting dual 12.3-inch displays, a reversing camera, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and 17in wheels.
If you fancy a sportier look, both inside and outside, opt for the N-Line duo. Not only do they have a better presence on the road, but the spec adds new tech, including a wireless smartphone charger and powered tailgate. The Ultimate goes a number of steps further, introducing a sunroof, an enhanced Bose sound system, leather upholstery, enjoys extra driver assistance systems and has a full-width LED strip adorning its nose. Plus, it also sits on 19-inch alloys.
From launch buyers will have the choice of two powertrains. There’s the entry-level 48kWh battery and 154bhp motor, which is best suited to those who don’t require a huge range and are governed more by budget. The smaller battery delivers 234 miles, is available only in Advance trim and starts at £34,995.
Those who prefer a combination of more power and range will opt for the 65kWh battery and 215bhp front motor. With a range of up to 305 miles, prices for the larger battery start from £38,595. The range-topping Ultimate trim starts from £43,095.
The new Kona Electric is fitted with a heat pump, so mileage ranges shouldn’t plummet in winter.
Plus, both power units can charge at up to 102.3kW, meaning a 10%-80% top-up will take around 43 minutes. If you already have a 7.4kW home wallbox, that should fully charge the battery within nine hours.
Sprightly. Even the entry-level 154bhp version, which sends its power to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission covers the 0-62mph sprint in 8.8secs. The larger 215bhp 65kWh version knocks a second off that time. Both are restricted to a maximum speed of 104mph.
Pretty impressive. Unlike the first Kona, this version has been designed first and foremost to be electric. That means a greater feeling of more space within the cabin and a welcome increase in areas to store odds and ends. It never feels cluttered.
Gone too are much of the shiny, scratchy hard plastics which were prevalent in Hyundai models from just a few years ago. This looks and feels more upmarket, more premium. There’s a soft-touch to many of the materials now.
Unquestionably, the cabin is dominated by the twin 12.3-inch screens. These stretch out from behind the steering wheel and sit comfortably above the centre console. And hallelujah! Unlike many other manufacturers, Hyundai’s designers have retained knobs for key functions like climate control.
Yes. The Kona Electric comes with a new interface which has configurable widgets which are easier to navigate. There’s also an updated version of Hyundai’s Bluelink connectivity and companion smartphone app, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard kit. Also, navigation with EV route planning — which incorporates chargers into your journey if you need a charge to reach your destination — is also included, even on the entry-level Advance trim.
The option sheet includes a Comfort pack. Tick the box and you’ll get a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, wireless smartphone charging pad plus tinted rear windows.
One of the biggest improvements to the new Kona Electric is the practicality of its packaging: there’s just so much more space and the Hyundai designers have maximised its use.
Your odds and ends can be stashed in numerous storage cubbies and bins, plus of course there are the inevitable cupholders. There’s also a large central storage compartment between the front seats, and remember there’s no transmission tunnel, so the floor is flat. The benefit of that is felt most in the back where, if you do have three rear seat passengers, they won’t be fighting for footspace.
Thinking of making the switch to electric?
With Vehicle-to-Load included, with a three-point-pin adaptor passengers will be able to power external devices like a computer … or even a fridge! And if another EV’s battery is running low, you can give it a power boost from your car’s battery.
Bootspace has increase significantly, up from 332 litres to 466 litres. Fold the Kona’s seats down and that shoots up to 1300 litres. At the front of the Kona, under the bonnet, you’ll find something akin to a plastic engine cover. Thankfully it has a hatch which, once opened, reveals a a small storage compartment ideal for storing the Kona’s charging cable.
If the first-gen Kona was deemed a success, this latest version will only build on that reputation. More grown-up than its predecessor, it also benefits from some of the charm first associated with the hugely successful Hyundai Ioniq range.
Throw into the equation more cabin space, even better exterior styling, plus the entry-level price of the smaller battery version, and the Kona Electric is sure to appeal to buyers making the switch to EVs.
|Model||Hyundai Kona Electric 48.4kWh Advance|
|Powertrain||48.4kWh battery plus 1x e-motor|
|Transmission||Single speed auto, front-wheel drive|
|0-62 mph||104mph / 8.8secs|
|Range/charging||234 miles/102kW (10-80% 43 mins)|