Launch impressions: Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai has changed the game releasing the Kona Electric SUV.

Just months after introducing its first all-electric vehicle, the Ioniq, Hyundai has moved the game on in releasing the Kona Electric SUV.

How? The Kona Electric’s official test-cycle range of 449km on a battery charge trumps its compact fastback sibling’s 280km emphatically, thereby addressing the issue of range anxiety concerns that plague EVs in general.

There is, though, a trade-off for such capability with the Kona Electric coming to market priced from $59,990 compared with the Ioniq’s $44,990 (both prices not inclusive of on-road costs).
In joining the conventional, internal combustion engine Kona SUV range, the Electric version is offered in Elite ($59,990) and Highlander ($64,490) grades, each with the same high-output, long-range electric drivetrain.

Kona Electric Highlander interior

Plugged into a 100kW DC fast-charger, the electric motor powertrain can reach 80 percent battery charge in 54 minutes, while a 50kW DC charger takes 75 minutes for the same percentage. Using the 7.2 kW on-board charger, charging with alternating current takes 9 hours 35 minutes. 

Peak power output is 150kW – higher than any petrol Kona model – which propels the sporty, small SUV from rest to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 167km/h. 395Nm of peak torque is delivered almost immediately upon acceleration, helping make driving fun, not just effortless. Like the Ioniq, the car’s adjustable regenerative braking system lets the driver adjust the intensity of the regenerative braking using shift paddles to permit maximum energy recuperation.

As with all Hyundai’s except the iLoad and iMax, the Kona Electric receives a local chassis tune developed across a variety of urban and country roads.

Standard equipment across the range includes Hyundai’s SmartSense safety package of Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Driver-Attention Warning. Tick the boxes also for Lane Keeping Assist and Blind-Spot Collision Warning systems, the latter including Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning. 

A standard 8.0-inch satellite navigation multimedia system boasts an array of connectivity including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone interfaces, as well as Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. The multimedia unit also features an 8-speaker Infinity premium audio system, incorporating a subwoofer and external amplifier, with DAB+ digital radio.

Electric battery warranty extends to 8 years or 160,000 kilometres. Under Hyundai’s Lifetime Service Plan, each 12 month/15,000km service costs $165.

Watch this space for a comprehensive new car review of the Hyundai Kona Electric.

Kona Electric Highlander rear