Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-2023) review
Big on range and performance, practical and stylish – the Hyundai Kona Electric is a fantastic EV
The Hyundai Kona Electric is still one of our favourite EVs – punchy performance, a genuinely useful range and decent levels of comfort and practicality make it a great all-rounder. The mid-spec Premium model offering the best value for money, in our opinion.
About the Hyundai Kona Electric
The Kona Electric boasts a bolder look than many of its rivals, is very well made and comes complete with Hyundai’s excellent five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. A version with a 39kWh battery is available for those who don’t need a huge range and want to save on purchasing costs, but our favourite is the larger-batteried 64kWh version with its impressive 300-mile range. If range anxiety has been putting you off switching to an electric car, the Kona Electric 64kWh could well be the solution. All Kona's are very efficient and our tests suggest that you'll get closer to the official range figures than in most rivals.
Hyundai has plenty of experience with alternative fuel vehicles – its Ioniq hatchback has taken on the Toyota Prius at its own game and become one of our favourite hybrids on sale, while the Ioniq 5 was our 2021 Car of the Year. The pure electric version of that car paved the way for the South Korean manufacturer’s next generation of EVs, with the Kona Electric bringing usable electric power to the booming small SUV segment when it was released in mid-2019.
Car group tests
- Hyundai Kona vs Honda HR-V: hybrid SUVs battle for supremacy
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The Kona Electric is a practical small SUV powered by a single electric motor. There are two powertrain choices – a 134bhp motor with a 39kWh battery and claimed 189-mile range, or a 201bhp motor with a 64kWh battery for a 278-mile range.
There are three trim levels to choose from: SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate. SE Connect models come very well equipped, with 17-inch alloys, a 10.25-inch infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors and camera, automatic headlights, keyless entry and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity included as standard. SE Connect models are only available with the lower-powered drivetrain option.
A step up to Premium brings a heating function for the front seats and steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, rear privacy glass and a wireless smartphone charging pad. Premium models can be had with either electric drivetrain.
Top-spec Ultimate adds electrically-adjustable heated and ventilated leather seats, full LED headlights, a head-up display and a tilt and slide sunroof. Ultimate models are only available with the more powerful 64kWh battery option.
The Hyundai Kona Electric was positioned to go up against its Kia e-Niro relative, although the e-Niro has since been replaced by the the Niro EV based on an all new platform. A second-generation Hyundai Kona will launch in summer in 2023 with the Kona Electric based on the new platform due to follow soon after to replace this version. Other rivals include the Nissan Leaf, while the Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback is similarly priced and might tempt buyers away from a small SUV purchase.
For an alternative review of the Hyundai Kona Electric, visit our sister site drivingelectric.com...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingBig on range and performance, practical and stylish – the Hyundai Kona Electric is a fantastic EV
- 2Engines, performance and driveDecent performance and refined road manners means the Hyundai Kona Electric is good to drive
- 3Range, charging & running costsThe Kona Electric boasts a 300-mile range in 64kWh guise – more than enough for most buyers
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Kona Electric is just as stylish as its internal-combustion siblings, with build quality and tech to match
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Kona Electric is a comfortable and practical EV, although its boot size could be better
- 6Reliability and SafetyKona Electric customers benefit from good reliability, an excellent warranty and solid safety credentials