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.

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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 fun to drive
  • Generous equipment

What's not so good

  • Other EVs have nicer interiors
  • Boot is a bit small
  • Quickest charging difficult to achieve

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

Overall verdict

If you’re keen to join the electric car revolution but not so keen on losing any benefits a traditional SUV brings – like a practical interior and high driving position – you could do a lot worse than having a look at the Hyundai Kona Electric.

A bit like a trendy upcycled backpack, the Hyundai Kona manages to be a sporty-looking SUV car and an environmentally friendly electric car at the same time, with only a few compromises.

OK, so it costs more than the Hyundai Konas that come with more conventional petrol and diesel engines, but it’s in the same ballpark as other electric vehicles (EVs) like the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf and BMW i3.

The Hyundai Kona Electric range is relatively simple with just the version on offer – a 64kWh model with 204hp and up to 279 miles of range. You’re able to charge the Kona Electric to 80% in just 54 minutes using a 100kW charger, if you can find one. In fact, the majority of public chargers are 50kW, so you’ll have to double that time.

More common is the 7kW charger, which is what you would most likely end up with if you got a wall charger installed at home. At this rate of charge the wait is far longer: the 64kWh car takes nearly 10 hours to recharge to full. This won’t be an issue if you plan to plug it in before you go to bed, like your mobile phone.

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 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 smartphone on 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.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Space inside the Hyundai Kona Electric is a mixed bag. You should be fine in the front seats – you’ll get 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.

However, adults in the back seats then they won’t be so comfortable and both a Leaf and e-Golf will be comfier for those the back seats if that’s important to you.

The regular Kona’s boot is pretty disappointing and it isn’t any better on the electric version – the Kia Niro’s boot is much bigger. At least 60:40 split-folding rear seats still feature as standard to open up the space to 1,114 litres 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. However, a Nissan Leaf feels even more fun, while a Volkswagen e-Golf is more comfortable.

Still, none of these alternatives can claim as impressive a range as the Kona, nor can they offer its chunky SUV styling, meaning it is 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.

How practical is it?

The Kona Electric will be plenty of car for two adults 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 in the Hyundai Kona Electric isn’t universally great. It is spacious for those up front, with plenty of room around the seats, lots of adjustment for both driver and passenger and a steering wheel with a wide range of movement so you should be able to get comfy no matter how tall or short you are.

However, if you’re planning on carrying a pair of adults in the back on a regular basis then the Kona Electric isn’t the best option out there. The SUV shape might mean that headroom is good but legroom isn’t as generous. In short, you’d be better off with either a Nissan Leaf or a VW e-Golf.

The batteries underneath the Kona Electric eat into the boot space a bit, resulting in a drop of 29 litres in capacity when the rear seats are in place compared to a regular Kona. Then you factor in the fact that the Kona isn’t the best in class anyway with a disappointing 361 litres of space, meaning you only get 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 in their element around town with instant get up and go that means you're rarely left wanting in traffic. Being silent, too, it's all so relaxing.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Picking which Kona Electric to go for is relatively simple with just the one 64kWh version on offer with 204hp and up to 279 miles of range. Then there are two trim levels, Premium and Premium SE, but all Hyundai Kona Electric models benefit from the Government’s 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, and that is the one you’ll probably get if you have a wall box installed at.

At this rate of charge the 64kWh car takes nearly 10 hours – plug it in when you do your teeth at night and you should be fine.

Still, a full ‘tank’ on the Kona will cost you around £9, some £20 cheaper than refueling a petrol car to cover the same distance, so the wait is worthwhile.

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, the 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.

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
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