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View all Hyundai Kona Electric reviews
Parkers overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 4.7

The state-of-the-art of family electric cars

Hyundai Kona Electric SUV (18 on) - rated 4.7 out of 5
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PROS

  • Electric versions have a long range
  • Standard 39kWh model nears 180 miles
  • Premium 64kWh model tops 279 miles with ease

CONS

  • Cramped rear seats and small boot
  • More expensive than rivals on PCP
  • Funky styling isn't to everyone's taste

PROS

  • Electric versions have a long range
  • Standard 39kWh model nears 180 miles
  • Premium 64kWh model tops 279 miles with ease

CONS

  • Cramped rear seats and small boot
  • More expensive than rivals on PCP
  • Funky styling isn't to everyone's taste

Verdict

The smooth and refined electric versions of the Hyundai Kona are hugely impressive. So much so that the most powerful version won the the Best Eco Car in the 2019 Parkers New Car Awards. both versions offer a driving experience that wrestles away the Nissan Leaf's crown as being the best mainstream battery electric vehicle (BEV).

Both versions of the Kona Electric have a single-speed transmission that's selected via a push-button arrangment in the high-rise centre console. Entry point for the Kona Electric range is the 39kWh version, with 136hp and 395Nm of torque available instantly. Top speed is restricted to 96mph, while the 0-62mph acceleration benchmark takes 9.7 seconds. Hyundai claims a 180-mile range, while a full recharge on a 7kWh domestic wallbox should take around six hours.

More interesting is the punchier 64kWh version, with a 204hp electric motor. Peak torque is identical to the 39kWh mode. Top speed is just 104mph, but the 0-62mph sprint is dealt with in just 7.6 seconds. More impressive is the 279-mile official range, but remember as the battery is significantly larger in the 64kWh version a full recharge takes around 9.5 hours.

What makes the Kona Electric so special?

Given that you can buy the Hyundai Kona with petrol and diesel engines, it’s very much a sign of the times that the most appealing package is the fully electric version, and specifically the one with the larger 64kWh battery.

It’s easy to spot the Kona Electric alongside it’s more conventionally propelled siblings. First-up, that moustache-like upper (dummy) grille is gone, while the larger lower grille gives way to a dimpled blank panel, the right-side of which hides the charging port. Additionally, the bumpers are reprofiled and it’s finished in a range of colours unique to the Electric model, with two-tone finishes available.

Inside there are more changes, with paler finishes available for the grey plastics, and a high-set centre console, similar to that of the Hydrogen-fuelled Nexo, complete with a push-button transmission selector. There's more colour variation in the Kona Electric over the standard model, which is further differentiated by the higher level of the centre console. As the Electric doesn't require a conventional gear lever, it's place is taken by a collection of buttons to select the transmission mode.

What's the Hyundai Kona Electric like to drive?

Hyundai Kona Electric

Utilising the power from that 64kWh battery pack is a 204hp electric motor driving the front wheels. Take-off, thanks to the instantaneous is smile-inducingly brisk, with an unlikely 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds – it’s a car that will embarrass many a GTI not worthy of the badge at traffic lights.

Like other fully electric cars, it’s a refined, quiet and a doddle to drive, but unlike its chief protagonist – the Nissan Leaf – there’s a greater range of adjustability in the driving position allowing for a greater degree of comfort behind the wheel.

Bursts of acceleration aside, it’s not especially exciting to drive, but it doesn’t do anything incompetently. Cornering lines are easy to maintain and bodyroll is kept neatly in check, thanks largely to the low-slung position of the batteries at the base of the car.

Should it suit your driving style, the Kona Electric’s brakes can be dialled-up in terms of their energy recuperation properties. In their highest setting, the Hyundai can be driven as a one-pedal car – lifting off the accelerator will activate the brakes to such a degree that you rarely touch the actual brake pedal at all.

This is a similar operation to Nissan’s E-Pedal on the Leaf, but the action feels less aggressive in its operation. Plus, if you find it too much, you can dacker down the effect by pulling on the paddle on the right-side of the steering wheel. Similarly, pulling on the left-handed one increases it again.

For more details about the Hyundai Kona Electric, visit:

Should you buy a Hyundai Kona Electric?

Not only is the Kona Electric the pick of the small Hyundai SUV line-up, it’s the best mainstream electric car currently available. Yes, it’s a tad smaller than the Leaf, but it feels a better-rounded product, with a more pleasing driving experience.

Plus, in this 64kWh form, it has a range of 279 miles. Sure, that’s unlikely in the real world, but based on the driving route of our test on Norwegian motorways, you’d be hard-pressed to get much less than 220 miles out of it.

Hyundai could have a winner on its hands, with the only fly in the ointment being the price – in range-topping Premium SE guise it costs £31,795 once the government’s plug-in car grant has been deducted, which is still a lot for a supermini-sized SUV.  Then again, each recharge is likely to cost you less than £9.00 at current energy prices – significantly less than a petrol- or diesel-drinking Kona will cost you.

Hyundai Kona Electric

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