Hyundai Kona Electric Review

The Hyundai Kona Electric offers punchy performance, a raised driving position and lots of equipment, but there are more spacious EV alternatives

8/10
wowscore
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Great electric range
  • Good value – for an electric car
  • Generous equipment

What's not so good

  • Other EVs have nicer interiors
  • Good but not great to drive
  • Quickest charging difficult to achieve

Hyundai Kona Electric Review

The Hyundai Kona Electric offers punchy performance, a raised driving position and lots of equipment, but there are more spacious EV alternatives

8/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Great electric range
  • Good value – for an electric car
  • Generous equipment

What's not so good

  • Other EVs have nicer interiors
  • Good but not great to drive
  • Quickest charging difficult to achieve
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Hyundai Kona Electric: what would you like to read next?

Hyundai Kona Electric: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

Is there anything more of-the-moment than a pure-electric small SUV? Kim Kardashian giving her opinions on Brexit, maybe, but that’s about it. The Hyundai Kona Electric is significant because more of us are turning to small SUVs, and our backs on combustion engines. It’s also not as expensive as you might think.

OK, so it costs more than others Hyundai Konas with petrol and diesel engines further down the range, but next to alternative EVs such as the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf and BMW i3, the Kona Electric is temptingly priced.

There are two power outputs to consider when buying a Hyundai Kona Electric – a 39kWh model with 135hp and official range of 180 miles, or a ‘Long-range’ 64kWh version with 204hp and up to 279 miles of range. Both benefit from the Government’s £3500 EV grant.

You’re able to charge a Hyundai Kona Electric to 80% in just 54 minutes using a 100kW charger, if you can find one. In fact, the majority are 50kW, so you’ll have to double that charging time. More common is the 7kW charger, like the one most people have at home. At this rate of charge the wait is far longer: the 39kWh model takes just over six hours to ‘fill’ while the 64kWh car takes nearly 10 hours. So best to leave it charging overnight, then

Still, a full ‘tank’ on the 64kWh Kona will cost you around £9, some £20 cheaper than fuelling a petrol car to cover the same distance, so you’ll be rewarded for your patience.

You get a different, raised central console to the one you’ll find in regular the 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 smartphone on the Kona’s screen.

It’s worth stepping up to the 8.0-inch display if you can, though. Its graphics are clear and you can swipe through menus like you do on your smartphone.

Petrol and diesel Konas fail to stand out in a crowded class of small SUVs, but this pure electric Kona is different - it offers something unique, and does it well

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Space inside the Hyundai Kona Electric is a mixed bag. On the one hand, front passengers benefit from lots of seat adjustment and the driver a wide range of steering wheel adjustment to ensure a comfortable driving position, while space around the seats in the front is impressive.

However, a couple more adults in the back seats won’t be so comfortable as, even if headroom is decent, legroom is at more of a premium. In short, both a Leaf and e-Golf will transport rear passengers in more comfort.

The regular Kona’s already-disappointing 361 litres of space (next to other small SUV efforts) drops to an even tighter 332 litres when you go for an Electric model. At least 60:40 split-folding rear seats still feature as standard to open up the space should you need a run to the rubbish dump.

Like all EVs, the Hyundai Kona Electric is great to drive in town. Performance is punchy, instant and silent, which means darting through traffic is easily done.

In other respects the Hyundai Kona Electric is good rather than great: its steering is nicely weighted, it deals with all but the worst broken roads and keeps most wind and road noise outside at speed. However, a Nissan Leaf feels even more agile, while a Volkswagen e-Golf rides even more comfortably along battered roads.

Still, none of these alternatives can claim as impressive a range as the Kona, nor can they offer its chunky SUV styling. If that sounds good to you, make sure you check out our Hyundai Kona Electric deals for the very best prices.

What's it like inside?

There’s no mistaking the Kona Electric for a regular Kona inside, but there are better infotainment systems on offer in other EVs of a similar price. 

Read full interior review

How practical is it?

For a couple of adults the Kona Electric will be fine, but for families there are more spacious and practical EVs available for similar money

Boot (seats up)
332 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,114 litres

Space inside the Hyundai Kona Electric is a mixed bag. On the one hand, front passengers benefit from lots of seat adjustment and the driver a wide range of steering wheel adjustment to ensure a comfortable driving position, while space around the seats in the front is impressive.

However, a couple more adults in the back seats won’t be so comfortable as, even if headroom is decent, legroom is at more of a premium. In short, both a Leaf and e-Golf will transport rear passengers in more comfort.

The Kona’s transition to electric power hurts boot space too, so the regular Kona’s already-disappointing 361 litres of space (next to other small SUV efforts) drops to an even tighter 332 litres when you go for an Electric model. At least 60:40 split-folding rear seats still feature as standard to open up the space should you need a run to the rubbish dump.

What's it like to drive?

The Kona Electric is great to drive, being punchy in town and comfy and quiet on the motorway. It has a very commendable range for its size, too.

EVs are so great to drive in town. Instant get up and go means you're rarely left wanting in traffic and being silent, it's all so relaxing.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

There are two power outputs to consider when buying a Hyundai Kona Electric – a 39kWh model with 135hp and official range of 180 miles, or a ‘Long-range’ 64kWh version with 204hp and up to 279 miles of range. Then there are three trim levels, SE, Premium and Premium SE, but all Hyundai Kona Electric models benefit from the Government’s £3500 EV grant.

 

You’re able to charge a Hyundai Kona Electric to 80% in just 54 minutes using a 100kW charger, if you can find one. In fact, the majority are 50kW, so you’ll have to double that charging time. More common is the 7kW charger, like the one most people have at home. At this rate of charge the wait is far longer: the 39kWh model takes just over six hours to ‘fill’ while the 64kWh car takes nearly 10 hours. Better stick the kettle on.

Still, a full ‘tank’ on the Kona will cost you around £9, some £20 cheaper than fuelling a petrol car to cover the same distance, so you’ll be rewarded for your patience.

Like all EVs, the Hyundai Kona Electric is great to drive in town. Performance is punchy, instant and silent, which means darting through traffic is easily done. In fact, even the lesser 39kWh model can crack 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds, while the more powerful 64kWh car races to 62mph in a warm hatch-bothering 7.6 seconds. That’s quicker than both a Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf, albeit slower than a BMW i3.

While the Nissan Leaf has its E-Pedal – where the car starts to slow itself gently when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal and in doing so recharges the batteries – the Hyundai Kona Electric has a similar feature but you have to press a button on the steering wheel and it takes a little time getting used to.

In other respects the Hyundai Kona Electric is good rather than great: its steering is nicely weighted, it handles tidily, deals with all but the worst broken roads and keeps most wind and road noise outside at speed. However, a Nissan Leaf feels even more agile, while a Volkswagen e-Golf rides even more comfortably along battered roads, meaning the Kona Electric is by no means the best-driving EV for the money.

 

Read about prices & specifications

What's it like inside?

There’s no mistaking the Kona Electric for a regular Kona inside, but there are better infotainment systems on offer in other EVs of a similar price. 

Next Read full interior review
Hyundai Kona Electric
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