Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-2023) Review & Prices
The Hyundai Kona Electric has a good range, a raised driving position and lots of equipment, but there are more spacious EV alternatives
What's not so good
Find out more about the Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-2023)
The Hyundai Kona Electric is an EV for those who are a bit nervous about joining the electric revolution. That’s because it offers the traditional small SUV benefits of a sensible interior and high driving position plus all the battery-powered benefits.
It’s a bit like those fancy woollen Allbirds shoes, which are rugged and waterproof but also environmentally friendly.
The Hyundai Kona Electric range is relatively simple with just the two versions on offer – a 39kWh model with 136hp and a 189-mile range, and a 64kWh model with 204hp and up to 300 miles of range. You’re able to charge the 64kWh Kona Electric to 80% in just 47 minutes using a 100kW charger.
More common is the 7kW charger, which you’re most likely to have installed at home. At that 7kW rate, charging does take a lot longer: the 64kWh car takes just over nine hours to recharge to full. But this shouldn’t be an issue if you plan to plug the car in before you go to bed, like your mobile phone.
You get a different, raised central console to the one you’ll find in a ‘regular’ Kona, and it looks and feels more premium. Its standard infotainment system is easy to use and comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, so you can seamlessly use the sat nav and music apps on your phone via the Kona’s screen.
While the petrol and diesel Konas don’t stand out amongst small SUVs, the pure electric Kona manages to catch the eye – it offers something unique, and does it well
Space inside the Kona Electric is a mixed bag. You should be fine in the front seats. You have lots of seat adjustment while the steering wheel has a wide range of movement too. Space around the seats in the front is impressive too.
Space in the back isn’t so generous, though. Indeed, adults much above average height may find it pretty cramped. Smaller children should be fine, but alternatives like the Nissan Leaf are a much better bet if space in the back matters to you.
The regular Kona’s boot space is pretty disappointing and, in the electric version, it’s even worse because the batteries take up some of the space. Other EVs like the Kia Niro are much more capacious. At least the Kona Electric has 60:40 split-folding rear seats as standard that open up 1,114 litres of space should you need to do a run to the rubbish dump.
Like all EVs, the Kona Electric is great to drive in town. Performance is punchy, instant and silent, which means darting through traffic is easily done. However, a Nissan Leaf is more fun and Volkswagen ID3 is more comfortable.
The Kona offers chunky SUV styling and decent range, so it’s capable of doing the job of a couple of cars in one. If that sounds good to you, make sure you check out our Hyundai Kona Electric deals for the very best prices.
The Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-2023) has a RRP range of £30,450 to £41,500. Monthly payments start at £273. The price of a used Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-2023) on carwow starts at £15,000.
There are three trim levels available on the Kona Electric – SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate. There are two different batteries available, as well, with 39kWh or 64kWh capacities.
You can think about battery capacity in the same terms as the size of a petrol or diesel car’s fuel tank. The bigger the tank, the more fuel goes in, so the further you can go. So it is with battery capacity – the higher the capacity, the more electricity it holds, so the further you can go.
The SE Connect model is only available with the smaller 39kWh battery, the Premium is available with both batteries and the top-of-the-range Ultimate has the bigger, 64kWh battery. Every model has front-wheel-drive and an automatic gearbox.
Alternatives to the Kona Electric include other small electric SUVs like the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, Kia Soul EV, MG ZS EV, Peugeot e-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka-e, plus hatchbacks like the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen ID3.
The most affordable Kona Electric costs less than all but the MG and Nissan. However, if you compare models with similar range and features, they’re all much closer on price.
The Hyundai Kona Electric is very capable, whatever sort of road you’re driving on, although the smaller battery version does hinder long-distance runs
Electric cars always feel really nippy to drive in town. That’s because all of their power is available the instant you press the throttle pedal. In a petrol or diesel car, the engine only makes all of its power available at certain revs.
The Kona Electric proves to be particularly nippy around town, because it’s relatively light for an electric car. Indeed, the 64kWh version is arguably a bit too nippy. It has a more powerful, 204hp motor and, if you stamp on the throttle, you can feel the front wheels scrabble around as they try to transfer all that power to the road. It feels more controlled with a lighter touch on the pedal, but it’s easy to overstep the mark. If you mostly drive in town, the less powerful 39kWh version may be the better bet.
It’s a small car, so driving the Kona Electric along narrow city streets is really easy. You don’t sit particularly high up for an SUV, but you still have good visibility all-round. Rear parking sensors and a reversing camera are standard on all models to help you out when parking, although it’s easy enough just using the mirrors.
There’s lots of adjustment in the driver’s seat and steering wheel, so pretty much anyone should be able to find a driving position that suits them. The car is generally quiet and comfortable, too.
The regenerative braking (which recharges the battery) can be dialled up through several settings. In the highest setting, the car slows down when you lift off the throttle so strongly that you basically only need to use the actual brakes in an emergency.
On the motorway
Both the 39kWh and 64kWh versions of the Kona Electric accelerate up to 70mph pretty swiftly. However, being more powerful, the 64kWh version feels happier cruising at the speed limit and is better able to accelerate from, say, 50-70mph in a hurry. It also has a lot more range than the 39kWh version – an official 300 miles versus 189 miles – so you’ll need to stop to recharge less often, even though range does plummet on the motorway compared to running at slower speeds.
Otherwise, the Kona Electric is a perfectly pleasant car to do a long journey in. It’s quiet, gives a smooth ride, feels safe and stable. All models have adaptive cruise control to help take the strain off. Spend a long day in the car and you should feel none the worse for it.
On a twisty road
The Kona Electric behaves as you’d expect a small electric SUV to on a twisty road. It goes where you point the steering, the body barely leans over in corners, it’s settled over bumps, and has the power to overtake tractors easily. Only the sheer power of the 64kWh can cause some issues because the front wheels can writhe around if you’re too heavy-footed on the throttle. Most of the time it won’t be an issue, though.
It’s a pleasant, relaxing car to cruise along in, taking in the countryside. But there’s no fun to be had – not that there is in any of the alternatives, either. If you really enjoy driving, right now you’re still better off with a petrol-powered alternative like the Ford Puma.
The Hyundai Kona Electric works well for single people and couples, but it struggles as a family car
There’s enough space in the front of the Kona Electric for someone around six feet tall to get comfortable. Headroom in particular can be very generous because the height adjustable seat goes down a long way. There’s not much shoulder room, though – this is quite a narrow car. But two average-size adults can sit side-by-side comfortably.
For storage, there’s decent-size door bins, a bin under the centre armrest, a pair of cupholders in the centre console and a lidded compartment in front of the gear selector that doubles as a wireless charging pad in Premium and Ultimate models.
Space in the back seats
Space in the back of the Kona Electric is dictated entirely by how tall the people in the front seats are. There’s reasonable legroom for an adult of average height to sit behind someone of similar size. But if there’s anyone much taller than that in the front, there may be barely enough room for a child. At least headroom is reasonable, but trying to fit three adults in the back is a non-starter. Installing a child seat on either set of ISOFIX mounts is tricky, too. Door bins and a pocket on the back of the front passenger seat are all there is for storage.
If you’re looking for a smallish electric car to carry your family, you’ll be better off with an MG ZS EV or Volkswagen ID3.
The Kona Electric has a rather small boot, with a capacity of just 332 litres. For comparison, a Peugeot e-2008 has 405 litres. Even a Skoda Fabia hatchback has 380 litres. A family’s weekly food shopping will go in with room to spare, as will a couple’s luggage for a week’s holiday. Realistically, though, there’s not enough space to deal with family life.
At least the boot opening is quite wide and the loading lip low, so heaving stuff in won’t put undue strain on you. And the back seats fold down if you need to cram in anything big and bulky.
Clear and sensible layout, but there’s no design flair to the cabin
The dashboard in the Kona Electric is basically the same as that in the petrol models. But you get a higher centre console that puts the gear selector buttons where your left hand naturally falls when you take it off the steering wheel. The layout is clear and functional, so you can find the buttons and knobs without looking away from the road for too long. And many of the surfaces are made from higher quality materials than in the non-electric Kona. It’s just a bit boring to look at – the Peugeot e-2008 has a much more interesting, more premium interior.
Every model has a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and assorted apps to help keep you informed and entertained on your journey. The screen’s responsive when pressed and looks sharp. You can get a bit lost in the menus, though, so you may prefer to connect your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Other standard features include a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display, high-quality Krell stereo, climate control, rear parking sensors, reversing camera and adaptive cruise control. Premium models add heated front seats and steering wheel, front parking sensors and a wireless charging pad. On top of that, the Ultimate model gets leather seats that are ventilated and electrically adjustable in the front and heated in the back, plus a head-up display.
According to official figures, the 39kWh version of the Kona Electric has a range on a fully charged battery of up to 189 miles, and the 64kWh has a range of 300 miles. The former is OK for this type of car, the latter is very impressive.
Fully recharging the 39kWh battery from a 7kW wallbox at home should take six or seven hours; the 64kWh battery takes more like nine hours. If you plug them in when you get home in the evening, they should be ready by morning.
On your travels, the 39kWh version takes 47 mins to recharge from 10-80% using a 50kW rapid charger. Connect the 64kWh version to the same charger and a similar top-up takes just over an hour, or 47 minutes using a 100kW charger.
Being an electric car, there’s no vehicle excise duty to pay, and the benefit-in-kind rate for company car drivers is just 2%.
Car safety experts Euro NCAP haven’t assessed the Kona Electric specifically, but did award the petrol Kona a full five-star rating. It scored strong marks across the board, but Hyundai has since improved the Kona’s safety features so it would probably score even higher if assessed again.
Those features include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and an emergency call system. Premium and Ultimate models also have blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
Hyundai is very highly rated for building dependable cars that are really enjoyable to live with. And so the Kona proves to be, achieving top-five placings in recent owner satisfaction surveys. We’re certainly not aware of any issues with the Kona Electric and, if any do come up, you’ve got the reassurance of Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited mileage warranty which includes roadside assistance.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.