REVIEW: Hyundai KONA Electric
It’s the number 1 selling electric vehicle in Ireland so far this year and we drove it for a week to see if the Hyundai KONA Electric deserves this top spot. We would like to thank Hyundai Ireland for lending us the car. This electric version was released in 2018 in Korea and Europe, with its US debut coming in 2019.
It’s available in 2 battery sizes in other markets (39.2kWh and 64kWh) but only the larger one in the Irish market.We feel this is a smart option as there are enough of the smaller battery sizes in other available vehicles such as the LEAF and eGolf but the larger battery size at this price (starting at €38,130 after the government VRT exception) is a winner in the eyes of the Irish EV car buyer with 700+ units sold so far this year.
We really like the look of this car or as Hyundai like to classify it “a subcompact crossover SUV”. This car is available in Petrol and Diesel variation along with the EV versions. An easy way to tell the difference is the solid front grill for the EV version.
It has a sporty stance externally and internally it has a modern and light feel in the cabin. The perceived external size is deceptive as it’s not the biggest of cars internally. The boot is 334 litres of space which is a few litres smaller than the Renault ZOE.
The dash has a myriad of button so picking your perfect configuration is easy. Unfortunately, the Iron Man version seen below is only available in the ICE version.
We found the build quality to be as expected for this price point. It’s no BMW but there is a good selection of quality materials used along with a good quality feel to doors etc. The cabin has some lightweight plastics used here and there to help with that impressive range. The seats are comfortable and at 6’2″, the driving position was excellent for me. The rear cabin space behind my seat may be a little tight. Hyundai offers 5 years unlimited warranty and with confidence.
You get a lot of bang for your buck on this car. The cockpit is awash with buttons and switches. With electric handbrake, shift by wire and wireless phone charging along with much more, the standard spec for this car is impressive.
You get a 7″ touchscreen similar to a lot of Hyundai models with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. No SatNav but with all smartphones having this, we don’t see there being any issue.
We are a little disappointed that some of the UK spec items are not on the Irish model such as LED headlights, head-up display and active cruise control
Range and Battery
This is where the KONA Electric starts to overtake the competition. The battery size is 64kWh and it comes with a range of 446 km, you can see why the Irish motoring public have decided that this is the best selling EV so far in 2019.When we sat into our car for the first time, to see 426km range on a nearly full battery it was an instant sense of relaxation. There is no range anxiety here.
Like a lot of EVs, there are a number of driving modes available along with paddles on the steering column to increase/decrease the regenerative braking levels.
During the week we did over 500kms worth of driving including a spin up the motorway from Dublin to Newry. Similar to others, motorway speeds are not kind to any electric vehicle but the cruising and overtaking potential of the KONA Electric was great. This is all down to the substantial battery pack. Home charging takes around 9.5 hrs (7.2kW) and fast charging up to 80% takes around 54 mins.
We really enjoyed the KONA Electric. It’s all about the range but that’s not to take away from other aspects of this car. We’d like to see some of the UK specs that are missing and the boot may be a little on the small side it’s very worthy of the sales it has accrued so far this year. We wonder how the Kia e-Niro will call a halt to Hyundai’s gallop. Only time and stock availability will tell.