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PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Kona Electric

Although Hyundai didn’t offer an SUV until the Terracan was introduced in 2001 (the 1991 Galloper doesn’t really count since it was a rebadged Mitsubishi), the Korean firm now has four different crossovers on offer. The latest to join the family is the Kona, and it’s the company’s first subcompact offering. But more importantly, it’s the first subcompact SUV to get an all-electric version. Unveiled in February 2018, the Kona Electric will be first of its kind on the European market later in 2018, and it should come to the U.S. as well.

Much like any other EV or hybrid based on a conventional vehicle, the Kona Electric is very similar to the gasoline-powered Kona. The styling carries over with a few changes inside and out, while the equipment lines remain pretty much the same. It’s the drivetrain that makes a big difference, as the Kona Electric doesn’t use dinosaur juice. What’s more, the Kona Electric comes with impressive performance and range of a crossover that will cost significantly less than the expensive Tesla Model X. Let’s find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai Kona Electric.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Exterior

  • Almost identical to regular model
  • Closed grille
  • Revised grille shape
  • New bumper
  • Cleaner look
  • New diffuser-like element
  • Two-tone paint
  • 21 possible paint combinations

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric - image 770828
“The most notable change is visible up front, where the crossover sports a closed grille”

As you might have already guessed, the all-electric version of the Kona is almost identical to the gasoline variant on the outside. The most notable change is visible up front, where the crossover sports a closed grille. This is a typical feature of EVs, which don’t need an actual grille for cooling. However, the panel that hides the charging socket prompted a few more changes to the front fascia.

For starters, Hyundai reconfigured the upper section. While the regular Kona has a thin gap just above the grille, the EV gained a silver trim that runs below the headlamps too. Second, the grille isn’t as tall as the standard model’s. While it normally includes the license plate, on the EV the grille was narrowed. What’s more, the apron is different too, now sporing a larger grille with a trapezoidal shape. Finally, the LED light mounted on each side of the grille are no longer surrounded by black cladding. All these changes give the Kona EV’s front end a more stylish look in my opinion. It also looks cleaner, and according to Hyundai, it’s a bit more aerodynamic too.


2019 Hyundai Kona Electric - image 770831
“Just like the standard Kona, the Electric can be specified with a two-tone roof”

The profile and the rear of the Kona EV appears to be unchanged compared to the gasoline model, save for the diffuser-like element around back. On this version, the grey painted lower element was replaced by horizontal strips. Of course, there’s also an “electric” badge on the tailgate.

Just like the standard Kona, the Electric can be specified with a two-tone roof. Options include Phantom Black, Dark Knight, and Chalk White, and the package also includes mirror caps in the same colors. Combined with the seven available exterior colors, customers have access to 21 possible combinations. The exterior color palette includes Chalk White, Dark Knight, Tangerine Comet, Ceramic Blue, Pulse Red, Acid Yellow, and Galactic Grey. The latter is brand new.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric – Exterior Dimensions

Overall length 4,180 MM (164.56 Inches)
Overall width 1,800 MM (70.86 Inches)
Overall height 1,570 MM (61.81 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,600 MM (102.36 Inches)
Front overhang 855 MM (33.66 Inches)
Rear overhang 720 MM (28.34 Inches)

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Interior

  • Based on regular Kona
  • New center console
  • New center stack
  • Paddle shifts for regenerative braking
  • Cloth and leather upholstery
  • The latest features and apps
  • Up 332 liters of trunk space

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric - image 770832
“The revised center console sits higher and features a new button and knob layout”

Step inside the Kona Electric and you’ll find the same interior layout from the regular model. Except for the center console, which sits higher and features a new button and knob layout. The traditional shifter is also gone, making room for the four buttons of the bespoke automatic transmission. The cupholder arrangement has also been revised, together with the small console for the HVAC system. The steering wheel also features paddle shifts that allow the driver to adjust the intensity of the regenerative braking system.

Other than that, the Electric model is pretty much the same and includes Hyundai’s new high-resolution, seven-inch supervision cluster display, which now shows additional info such as battery charge level and energy flow.


2019 Hyundai Kona Electric - image 770835
“The standard upholstery is black and combines cloth and leather, but you can opt for an all-leather layout”

The standard upholstery is black and combines cloth and leather, but you can opt for an all-leather layout. The optional three-tone blue and grey interior can be had in both variants. Just like the regular Kona, the electric offers a wide range of connectivity features, including an infotainment system which integrates navigation, media and connectivity features. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless charging are also included.

Convenience features are also similar. The package includes power front seats with eight-way electric adjustment, a two-way electric lumbar support system for the driver, and a three-step ventilation system and three-step heating system for the front seats. The heated steering wheel is optional.

Naturally, passenger and luggage space remains unchanged. The legroom in the first row is 1,054 mm, while passengers in the back seat benefit from 850 mm of legroom. Headroom is rated at 1,006 mm in the front and 948 mm in the rear. Luggage space is up to 332 liters, including storage of the charging cable (373 liters without), which makes the Kona Electric more than it suitable for everyday needs.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric – Interior Dimensions

1st Row 2nd Row
Head room 1,006 MM (39.50 Inches) 948 MM (37.32 Inches)
Leg room 1,054 MM (41.49 Inches) 850 MM (33.46 Inches)
Shoulder room 1,410 MM (55.51 Inches) 1,380 MM (54.33 Inches)

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Drivetrain

  • New lithium-ion battery
  • 39.2 or 64 kWh options
  • Up to 201 horsepower
  • Up to 470 km of range
  • 395 Nm of torque
  • 0 to 62 in 7.6 seconds
  • Top speed at 167 kph
  • Single-speed transmission

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric - image 770828
“The base model uses a 39.2 kWh battery that provides 99 kW (132 horsepower) and a maximum range of 300 km (186 miles)”

The drivetrain is what makes the Kona Electric stand out even more in the lineup. While the regular model is available with four-cylinder gasoline engines, the Kona Electric gets an electric drivetrain. The combo brings together a lithium-ion polymer battery pack and an electric motor. Two versions are offered. The base model uses a 39.2 kWh battery that provides 99 kW (132 horsepower) and a maximum range of 300 km (186 miles).

A more powerful version with a 64 kWh battery generates a more impressive 150 kW, which converts to 201 horsepower. But it’s the range that’s more impressive here, with Hyundai claiming that this model returns 470 km (292 miles) on a single charge. Both drivetrain versions deliver 395 Nm (291 pound-feet) of immediate torque, while top speed is rated at 167 kph (104 mph). The more powerful variant needs only 7.6 seconds to hit 62 mph. Both drivetrains mate to an automatic single-speed reduction gear transmission.


2019 Hyundai Kona Electric - image 770827
“The 64 kWh battery generates 201 horsepower and returns 470 km (292 miles) on a single charge”

Getting back to that 470-km range, it places the Kona Electric atop the Euro-spec Opel Ampera-e by a full 90 km (60 mph). The Korean crossover will also deliver more miles than the base Tesla Model 3. Actual figures for the European market aren’t yet available, but the sedan is expected to return 220 miles (354 km) per charge in the U.S. An EPA range is difficult to estimate at this point, but it should be rated at more than 240 miles. This means that Hyundai’s EV will return a tad more miles than the U.S.-spec Chevrolet Bolt, which is rated by the EPA at 238 miles.

Charging the lithium-ion polymer battery up to 80% only takes about 54 minutes using a 100 kW direct current (DC) fast charger according to Hyundai. With the 7,2 kW on-board-charger, charging with alternating current (AC) takes nine hours 40 minutes for the long-range battery pack and six hours 10 minutes for the shorter-range battery pack. The Kona Electric can also be charged at a compatible regular household power socket using the ICCB-cable (in-cable control box).

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Safety


2019 Hyundai Kona Electric - image 770825

The Kona Electric is as modern as they get when it comes to safety features. The crossover benefits from the superior rigidity that comes from use of high strength steel in its construction. The new materials also provide high impact energy absorption and minimized distortion, which increases passenger protection in the event of a collision. An enlarged area for the appliance of hot stamping and a ring-shaped cabin shell structure with ultra-high-strength steel, the safety zone for passengers has been enlarged, while the multiload-pass structure of the cabin disperses energy in various directions to reduce the strength of impact during a crash.

Around the interior, a total of six airbags are installed. There are two front airbags, two side airbags, and two curtain airbags. The latter cover both the first and second row, protecting the rear passengers as well. Moving over to active safety and driving assistance technologies, the Koa Electric is equipped with Hyundai’s latest system called SmartSense. It includes Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Collision Warning including Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Intelligent Speed Limit Warning, and Lane Following Assist.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Pricing

Pricing information for the Kona Electric is not yet available, and we still don’t know whether it will be sold in the U.S. The regular model has already been confirmed, so the EV should cross the pond too. With the Ioniq Electric priced from $29,500, the
Kona Electric could fetch a bit more than $30,000 before incentives. That’s not a bad sticker for an all-electric crossover.

In Europe, the Electric model will also be significantly more expensive than the standard Kona. In the U.K., the base model comes in at £16,445, but the EV will probably cost a bit more than the Ioniq Electric, which retails from £24,995. In Germany, the Kona Electric should fetch more than €32,000.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Competition

The car market has grown to include many electric vehicles. The Nissan Leaf is in its second generation, Chevrolet has the Bolt, and Hyundai already has the Ioniq. The Tesla Model S is on the market for quite a few years now and the Model 3 is close to getting a global launch this year. However, the SUV market is well behind. Sure, we already have the Tesla Model X and Jaguar is about to launch the I-Pace, but both models are too expensive to go against the Kona Electric. Kia is about to launch an all-electric version of the Niro later this year, and it’s the only option you have that will carry a similar price tag.

Kia Niro EV<


2019 Kia Niro EV - image 742860

Much like the Kona Electric in relation to its conventional sibling, the Niro EV is heavily based on the regular model in terms of design. The concept shown at the 2018 Consumer Electrics Show boasts an almost identical exterior design, with only the headlamps, taillights, and bumpers sporting notable changes. But needless to say, it has what it takes to match the sporty and modern looks of the Kona Electric. The concept’s cabin is different, but the production version should get most of the features seen inside the regular model, including an all-digital instrument cluster, a big infotainment display, and plenty of convenience features. Official specs aren’t yet available, but the Niro EV Concept was unveiled with a 65-kWh battery pack and a 201-horsepower motor. Yes, it’s the same drivetrain as the Kona Electric, which isn’t surprising given that Kia and Hyundai have shared plenty of tech in recent years. The concept’s mileage is rated at 238 miles per charge, which is very close to the Kona’s. It could also be a hint that the two will have a 238-mile EPA rating in the U.S. Pricing information is not available, but the Niro EV will have a similar tag, so expect a sticker of at least $30,000 before incentives.

Read our speculative review of the 2019 Kia Niro EV.

Conclusion


2019 Hyundai Kona Electric - image 770829

I must say that I’m really impressed with the Kona Electric. Not only it looks sporty and modern on the outside, it has a solid technology package on the inside. Sure, many cool features and apps are optional, but for an electric vehicle that will cost less than $40,000, there isn’t much to complain about. The drivetrain is pretty impressive too. Before Tesla and Chevrolet launched their compacts, we didn’t get too much range from compact EVs. The Nissan Leaf, for instance, was far from impressive in its early days, and needless to say, the second-gen model still lags behind the competition. The Kona Electric puts an end to the stereotype that Asian-made, affordable EVs lack in the drivetrain department with a 201-horsepower motor and a range of more than 230 miles. Want to pay less for Leaf-like model for inner city drivers? Not a problem, Hyundai will be happy to sell you one with a smaller battery. Finally, the fact that the Kona Electric is the first production crossover EV to hit the market with an affordable price tag is a massive achievement for the brand!

  • Leave it
    • * Pricing and availability still a mystery
    • * The range-topping model could be expensive

References

Hyundai Kona


2018 Hyundai Kona - image 748938

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Kona.


maker logos - image 744957

Read more Hyundai news.


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Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

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