The EV we’ve been waiting for: Hyundai Kona EV review

Hyundai Kona Electric 150kW Premium SE 64kWh 204PS Auto review

  • P11D value: £36,240
  • BIK: £36,240/13%
  • 5-door small SUV
  • 201bhp / 395Nm Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor electric battery
  • Performance: 7.6s / 104mph
  • CO2 emissions/economy: 0g/km / 248 miles

What is it?

THE standard Kona is a well liked compact SUV that takes the usual benefits and packages them up in a distinctive design that is covered in sharp edges, converging crease, multiple light units and contrasting plastics and paints. It sounds a mess but works well.

Hyundai Kona Electric (Image: Hyundai)

Hyundai Kona Electric (Image: Hyundai)

Now Hyundai has taken the petrol and diesel engines out and replaced them with a pure electric drivetrain. There are two power outputs available from two battery capacities – the smaller 39kWh battery provides 134bhp, while the higher capacity 64kWh battery can deliver 201bhp. The increased capacity also increases range, with a WLTP rated range of 279 miles.

The entry model seems designed intentionally to upset Nissan, offering marginally more range in an on-trend SUV bodystyle, and all but matching it on price. Prices rise to just under £32,000 (including the government OLEV grant) for the fully-specced, big battery, Premium SE model.

Why would you want to drive a Hyundai Kona EV?

  • We got to drive the 64kWh version on the launch event, which means it was the more rapid of the two options. We all know about the instant acceleration offered by electric cars, but the Kona still surprises; 62mph comes along in just 7.6 seconds, despite the car weighing just under 1.7 tonnes. However, while it’s quick off the line, thrust fades away once you start reaching low motorway speeds, and it’s gone entirely at three figures.
  • It also does a good job at matching its official range, although the caveat there is that the first test was done on perfect, near empty, Norwegian roads – we’ll be testing the car on the flawed UK network soon. Still, despite a bit of ‘performance testing’ and a fair slog of motorway miles, the Kona’s on board computer suggested we’d get pretty close to that near 300 mile range. With rapid charging taking just 75 minutes to reach 80% charge (or about 260 miles of range) the days of range anxiety should be mostly just a memory.
  • While charging at 50kW at motorway services or the like can top the car up quickly, most will charge at home. Leaving it plugged in overnight will see a full charge in around nine and a half hours, assuming you’ve had a 7kW charger installed. These are subsidised up to £500 by the government, and even those with the heaviest of right foots will find that electricity is far cheaper than petrol.
  • Electric power means zero emissions, and that, in turn, means lower company car tax. With a BIK burden of just 13% (based on the full price, not the price after the government OLEV subsidy) that translates to a 20% taxpayer bill of less than £80 a month.
  • Ignore the EV side of things, and the Kona performs as any other similarly sized SUV. It rides quite nicely thanks to that longer suspension travel, and there’s enough room inside to accommodate four adults in comfort, and five at a squeeze. The boot remains a decent size too, despite losing 29 litres due to the presence of a battery pack under the floor.
  • It’s also loaded with equipment, at least in Premium or Premium SE spec. It’s positively luxurious, with heated and ventilated leather seats and a heated steering wheel, eight-inch infotainment with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless phone charging, head up display, LED lights front and rear and a Krell audio system with eight speakers and subwoofer.
  • Hyundai has not overlooked safety, with the Kona EV being equipped with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot protection, lane keeping assist, rear cross traffic alerts and much more.

Read more: Business Motoring

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