Affordable Electric Car of the Year 2018: Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona Electric is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf commended
Hyundai believes that as much as 50 per cent of its total sales could be SUVs within the next few years, so it has invested heavily in developing an all-new platform for the Kona. That platform has allowed the creation of the Kona Electric.
While the standard car underwhelmed us, the Kona EV’s 300-mile range takes victory in our Affordable Electric Car category. That means it goes further on its batteries than some thirsty petrol models on a tankful, and much further than rivals such as the VW e-Golf or Nissan Leaf.
It’s a groundbreaking figure that pushes what’s possible in this sector and a statement of intent from Hyundai. Combined with the Kona’s affordable price tag, it shows that genuinely mainstream electric cars are viable now.
During our tests in the Kona Electric we worked out the 300-mile range is well within the realms of possibility, and with careful driving you’ll be able to get even more than that from the 64kWh battery.
With most electric cars, a short commute bookended by charging at home and at work is the best way to keep the EV topped up, but the Kona’s flexibility means it only needs to be charged up once a week or so, removing much of the range anxiety that comes with ownership of an EV. This is a key development in this sector.
It’s very quiet and comfortable on the move, too, because the EV gets the same multi-link rear suspension configuration as the higher-spec petrol Konas. There’s a good balance between body control and comfort; only the sharpest road imperfections thud into the cabin, and even then the Kona does a decent job of softening the worst of the impacts.
A great infotainment system, a good kit list and funky SUV styling add to its appeal, but the core of the car’s talents are its genuinely usable real-world electric range and that affordable price tag.
Hyundai Kona Electric Premium 64kW (£29,495)
Thanks to the Kona Electric’s excellent real-world range, we think you should go for this 64kW model. It opens up new possibilities for a small EV, with a range not too far behind some small petrol SUVs. With 201bhp, it’s a strong performer, plus the powertrain doesn’t compromise practicality too much. Premium spec offers a good balance of kit and cost.
If you’re sticking to the old model of electric car ownership and are able to charge frequently, the new second-generation Nissan Leaf is a great choice. It’s comfortable, quiet and good to drive, plus impressive packaging helps the all-electric hatchback’s cabin space.
Like the Kona, the Volkswagen e-Golf is based on an existing car; the new Leaf has been built from the ground up as an EV. But because the VW uses underpinnings from the best family hatch on sale, it has a superb basis to build on, and we love the e-Golf’s high-quality cabin, refined driving experience and good real-world range.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2018
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2018 New Car Awards have the answer...
- 2Car of the YearThe Auto Express Car of the Year for 2018 is the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace
- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2018 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2018 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
- 5Convertible of the YearThe MINI Convertible is the 2018 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
- 6Compact Family Car of the YearThe Volkswagen Golf is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Mercedes A-Class and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2018 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe Mercedes C-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE commended
- 9Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 5 Series is the 2018 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2018 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
- 11Small SUV of the YearThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2018 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the YearSkoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs.
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe Skoda Kodiaq is the 2018 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and SsangYong Rexton commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Volvo XC40 is the 2018 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X1 and MINI Countryman commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the YearThe BMW X3 is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60 commended