Hyundai facelifts popular Kona Electric for 2020

  • One of our favourite electric cars gets an update
  • Kona Electric rivals Kia e-Niro, Peugeot e-2008
  • Now features sleeker, less divisive design

The Hyundai Kona Electric – already one of our favourite electric cars – has been updated for 2020. Following on from its petrol-powered sibling, which got a similar upgrade quite recently, the Kona Electric now benefits from a smoother, less divisive design as well as improved technology for the interior.

Upgraded design

The front end of the Kona is now noticeably smoother and more cohesive than it was before. The false upper grille of the previous car with its distinct dashed pattern is gone, and has been replaced with a Tesla-style grille-less front end. Instead, the Hyundai badge sits alone, above a simple crease.

The Kona’s ‘upside-down’ headlight arrangement remains, with the main light units positioned low on the fascia beneath slim LED daytime running lights. One side effect of losing that grille, though, is that the Kona’s front-mounted charging port (an ideal location in terms of practicality) now stands out, with its off-centre position looking rather ugly.

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric - rear three quarter

Round the rear, there’s a redesigned bumper, incorporating the same horizontal bars as the front air intake, as well as redesigned rear light clusters.

Further cleaning up the look of the Kona Electric, Hyundai’s eschewed the black plastic cladding around the wheelarches that its predecessor employed. This takes away a bit of SUV-style attitude, but the Kona Electric never had much of that to begin with…

Hyundai’s also upgraded the exterior colour palette – there are now 10 options to choose from, including five new ones. Some of them have rather strange names, including Dive in Jeju, Misty Jungle and Surfy Blue.

Upgraded interior with improved tech

There’s been quite the change on the inside of the Kona Electric. The overall design remains the same, though, with a high-set centre console making the most of the electric powertrain. As there’s no need for a physical gear selector, there is just a set of drive buttons – with storage underneath the console for bits and bobs.

 The biggest upgrade comes in the form of a standard 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, which can be paired to either an 8.0-inch or a matching 10.25-inch infotainment display. Both of these infotainment options come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, but the larger unit features Hyundai’s live services.

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric - interior

These services allow for features such as live traffic and weather information, as well as connectivity via a Bluelink app. Users can control aspects of their car through their phone, such as remote locking or – more pertinent to an electric vehicle – charging state, battery management, and pre-heating.

Further interior upgrades include ambient lighting in the footwells and the option of a two-tone grey interior with leather upholstery, while safety kit has also been improved – there’s now rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring that not only warn the driver but actively apply the brakes to prevent a collision.

Unchanged under the skin

Hyundai hasn’t touched the Kona’s underpinnings, which certainly isn’t a problem – it already had one of the best driving ranges on the market, and with the addition of new tyres it can now claim up to 300 miles on a single charge.

That figure applies to the larger, 64kWh battery pack – a smaller 39.2kWh pack is available, which provides up to 189 miles of range.

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric - charging

The larger battery pack comes with a 204hp electric motor, the smaller with a 136hp unit – but both have the same amount of torque, and should feel impressively peppy, especially around town. Both are capable of using 100kW fast chargers, and will charge from 10-80% in as little as 47 minutes.

What this means for you

One of our favourite electric cars on the market now looks better, has more equipment, and even offers a greater driving range than before. What’s not to like?

The Kona Electric didn’t win any recent Parkers awards – so we still think you should take a look at both the Renault Zoe and the Tesla Model 3 if you’re considering buying an electric vehicle. But it’s a close-run segment and there’s plenty to recommend the Hyundai, whether it’s the firm’s five-year warranty or the new, sleek look.

Further reading: 

>> Hyundai Kona Electric review

>> Small Electric Car of the Year 2021

>> The best electric cars