In-depth reviews

Hyundai Kona Electric review

Big on range and performance, practical and stylish – the Hyundai Kona Electric is a fantastic EV

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

  • Great performance
  • Good value for money
  • Comfortable and refined
  • Waiting list to buy is long
  • Similar Kia e-Niro is more practical
  • No long-range entry model

The Hyundai Kona Electric is 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 closely-related Kia e-Niro is a similar EV that’s built on the same platform and uses the same powertrain, but is slightly longer and more practical. The Hyundai doesn’t trail too far behind, however, with a 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.

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.

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. The latter option is the same as found in the Kona’s Kia e-Niro sister car.

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 is positioned to go up against its Kia e-Niro relative, as well as the BMW i3, and Nissan Leaf and, to some extent, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, while the Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback is also similarly priced and might tempt buyers away from a small SUV purchase.

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