2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

Style

The Kona is an attractive yet sedate crossover EV. It’s roughly the size of the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Mazda CX-3. Car segments are beginning to blend—with the Kona (marketed as a small SUV but measuring only a half-foot longer than the Chevy Bolt). It’s nearly identical in size to the Jaguar I-Pace and a few inches shorter than the Kia Niro.

The gas version of the Kona is a highly-rated small but relatively tall crossover. Hyundai characterizes the Kona as youthful, futuristic, and eco-oriented—pointing to its “low and wide stance, short wheel overhangs, and sporty contours.”

The EV version of the Kona has the same generous 19.2 cubic feet of rear cargo room as its gas-powered sibling. Its outward appearance is nearly identical, except for a somewhat odd hash-marked front fascia, which houses the charging inlet. Hyundai says the flush design improves aerodynamics. The narrow split LED lighting units on the front fascia add a sleek design element.

Reviewers say the Kona platform offers a spacious front cabin, tight rear seating, and modest interior appointments. The Kona Electric dashboard uses a floating touchscreen for entertainment and vehicle information. A center-console push-button gear selector replaces the gas version’s conventional shifter.

Electric-vehicle shoppers might consider the Kona a roomier alternative to the Bolt. Unlike the gas version of the Kona, the all-electric model is not available with all-wheel-drive.

Color choices include Phantom Black, Galactic Grey, Chalk White, Ceramic Blue, and Pulse Red.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

Performance

The Kona will have the same zippy driving character of many other small EVs. Its 201-horsepower electric motor, driving the front wheels, matches the Chevy Bolt’s 200-hp motor—and beats the Nissan LEAF and BMW i3 with 147 and 170 horses respectively. All of them scoot from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in around seven seconds.

The Kona EV’s top speed is governed to 104 miles per hour. It’s strictly a front-wheel-drive vehicle.

Reviewers say that the Kona EV’s powertrain provides a quick response to stepping on the accelerator pedal, especially when set to Sport mode. There are also Normal and Eco modes. The electric model is more potent than the internal-combustion Kona. Also, adjustments to the car’s suspension system (to better accommodate the large battery pack) provide better stability and ride comfort. Standard 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/55R17 tires provide good handling on uneven roads—not always found on EVs (like the i3) that use narrow, eco-friendly tires.

Efficiency/Range

Hyundai can claim bragging rights for the Kona EV’s 258 miles of range—beating the Bolt’s 238 miles. Regardless, in real-world driving, those extra 20 miles of range will seldom be used. Once you get past about 225 miles, the benefit of more miles is only relevant for the occasional long-distance road trip.

The Kona EV’s efficiency is rated at 120 MPGe. That’s right in line with the Bolt’s 118 MPGe and the LEAF’s 108-MPGe rating. Lighter, smaller vehicles like the Hyundai Ioniq EV, BMW i3, and Tesla Model 3 are more efficient—but we don’t see much value in obscure MPGe efficiency numbers. What’s essential is driving range—and at a whopping 258 miles, the Kona EV puts an end to so-called range anxiety.

Charging

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

The Kona EV uses standard charging rates. A full re-supply from empty to full will take about 10 hours using a 240-volt Level 2 charger. The Kona’s Quick Charger, rated at 70 kilowatts, is tampered down to 50 kW at nearly every public charger available in the United States. That means a long 75-minute pit stop to bring the Kona EV from almost empty to about 200 miles (or 80-percent state-of-charge).

Price and Options
2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

The Kona EV comes in three trim levels: SEL, Limited, and Ultimate. All trims come with the same 201-horsepower electric motor and single-speed transmission. The base SEL has plenty of safety, comfort, and technology features that should satisfy most shoppers.

The Hyundai Kona EV SEL starts at $38,100. The SEL features cloth upholstery, heated front seats, automatic climate control, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, a 7-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, a six-speaker stereo, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. It also comes with a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a driver condition monitor, lane keep assist, and Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system

The starter price of the Hyundai Kona EV Limited is $42,700. The Limited trim adds a sunroof, automatic high-beam headlights, wireless device charging, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, leather upholstery, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The top-of-the-line Hyundai Kona EV Ultimate begins at $46,300. The Ultimate trim is equipped with ventilated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, navigation, an eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system, and a 10.25-inch touch screen.

Hyundai Kona Electric specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $36400
Est. tax credit: $7500
Technology: Electric Vehicle
Body type: SUV
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 258 miles pure electric
Battery size: 64 kWh
Charging rate: 7.0 kW

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