With all the focus on the environment, there’s never been a better time to try an electric car. The Hyundai Kona EV is a groundbreaking sub-compact SUV which is the first of its kind in Canada. Hyundai has worked hard to make this electric vehicle as practical as possible and they’ve managed this beautifully without sucking out any of the fun.
As a subcompact SUV, it’s not as large as an SUV but still provides that distinctive style and elevated driving position. With smooth lines and distinctive styling, the Hyundai Kona is instantly recognizable. The unique design of the grille makes the auto look futuristic as it’s unlike anything else on the road. Some drivers will instantly love it, others may take a while to get accustomed to the unusual appearance but it is in keeping with the rest of the contemporary styling.
LED headlights with active cornering lights, LED and roof rack side rails are all practical additions that any driver will appreciate.
Performance is the one area where many electric cars fail but the Kona is a surprising hit. With a 64kWh battery, the Kona delivers an impressive 201hp and without the need to wait for the revs to rise, you’ll be hitting optimal performance right away. To put that into perspective, the car can do 0-100km in just 7.6 seconds.
The all-electric powertrain means the Kona is responsive and fast off the line. The Battery Temperature Management system is a real plus for cold Canadian winters, helping to preserve performance even at very cold temperatures. While the car is hooked up to a charger, the battery will be pre-warmed to minimize the effects of the cold.
While the Kona is fast and responsive, where it really stands out is its range. Many electric cars have come in for criticism due to their impractically short capacity for travel. That’s not the case with this car from Hyundai - the Kona can cover up to 415km on a single charge - and that’s totally free of emissions. You can top up your charge at home, at a public charging station or on the road, the Kona offers flexibility and convenience to suit.
The only drawback worthy of mention is that it’s only available in a front-wheel drive, and the clearance height is fairly low at around 16cm. For Canadians who want to go green but still need a rugged performance, this could be an issue.
Interior and Accessories
The futuristic styling of the exterior continues within with silver panels around the cabin. This looks very slick but they can become very reflective in certain lights, making it hard to read the settings.
That minor gripe aside, the interior is full of clever touches such as the Heads-Up display which projects vital information in front of the driver so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. There is also a touchscreen display and a DAB radio for in-car entertainment.
Adjustable lumbar support for the front seats offers comfort and there’s no shortage of leg-space even for taller passengers. In the back of the car, the headspace is average but no more. The trunk is on the small side, especially for a subcompact SUV, starting from just 334 litres, depending on the trim chosen. The back seats drop with a 60/40 split, and this increases the capacity up to 1143 litres max.
Regenerative braking is part of the package but drivers can have some input by choosing the level of deceleration they’re comfortable with. Paddles on the steering wheel allow this to be easily adjusted, preserving energy without compromising performance.
At the core of the Kona is what Hyundai has dubbed the SUPERSTRUCTURETM, a chassis that’s very rigid and made with high-strength steel. Lighter than traditional steel, it’s also stronger and lighter which helps with energy efficiency while still providing protection.
There is a raft of safety features included to make driving not just more relaxing but safer too. These include parking sensors on both the front and the back and a high beam assist which switches off the high beam depending on surrounding traffic. While reversing there is a cross-collision warning system to alert drivers of other vehicles that may be approaching from the side, and while driving there is a blind-spot collision warning system and forward collision avoidance. The systems within the car are smart enough to detect fatigue and include a corrective lane assist to prevent collisions.
The Hyundai Kona is a very practical subcompact SUV that has an excellent range before recharging is required. The handling isn’t quite as responsive as others on the market but it’s still very respectable. Unusual styling and front-wheel drive only may lose it some votes, but overall it’s a well-thought-out design that is comfortable and easy to drive.