Hyundai Kona Highlander Electric

Hyundai have shifted the goal posts again, with the addition of two electric models to the Kona small SUV range.

The Ioniq, the first of Hyundai Australia’s electric vehicle models, was introduced only a few months ago and with list prices starting at $44,990, it immediately became the new benchmark for electric vehicle affordability.

Now Hyundai have shifted the goal posts again, with the addition of two electric models to the Kona small SUV range. Available in either Elite or better-equipped Highlander specifications, the newcomer’s quoted real-world battery range of 449km trumps the compact-fastback Ioniq’s 280km range and should allay the ‘range anxiety’ of many potential buyers.

The Kona EV isn’t cheap though, at near $30k above a comparable petrol-powered Kona, and in Highlander spec its price is nudging towards that of a BMW i3. But we couldn’t find any other electric model currently available in Australia that offered such range for anything like that money. The aforementioned i3 is quoted at ‘up to 260km’, while the luxury Jaguar I-Pace with 470km range starts at around $124k.

Kona ev interior

Our mix of easy-with-the-right-foot city commuter traffic operation, highway running and a decent burst of more punishing driving through backroads, all with air con going, averaged power consumption of 14.8kWh/100km. In recharge power cost terms that’s about $3.94/100km (assumes 26.62 cents/kWh tariff). And our test car’s effective range looked like it was on target to slide in just under the ‘official’ number. So, no complaints there.

Charging time to 80% capacity on a 50kW DC fast-charger is around 75 minutes, while the optional home-charger system takes approximately 9 ½ hrs for a full charge. The charging cable supplied with the vehicle plugs into a normal 10amp power outlet, but is considerably slower, so the optional home charger-pack is probably a sound investment.

On the road, the electric Kona offers immediate, strong and effortless acceleration, with its 395Nm of torque available almost as soon as the throttle is opened. But tread carefully, the Nexun tyres’ limited grip can be overwhelmed by the torque, particularly on a damp road. Their grip levels can also detract from braking and handling proficiency. Otherwise, Kona EV offers an attractive blend of ride quality and dynamics.

Kona ev rear

Tyre/road noise is rather intrusive, but the powertrain is impressively quiet, and Hyundai have fitted a switchable artificial sound generator to alert pedestrians and other road users of its approach in shared environments such as car parks.

We like the generous standard equipment and advanced safety features list.

Key stats

  • MLP: $64,490
  • Engine: 150kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor
  • ANCAP crash rating: 5 stars
  • Tailpipe CO2 (g/km): 0
  • For: Range, performance, equipment and safety features, economical to run.
  • Against: Price, low tyre grip, road noise, rear leg and foot space limited.

Information correct as of May 2019.