19 April 2024
Hyundai Kona Electric Review – Plug Into The Matrix

The Hyundai Kona Electric is an outstanding all-rounder, coming with bold looks and a suite of sensible features.

This is the new Hyundai Kona Electric, where the design team, it seems, has taken a bold leap into the future with none other than RoboCop himself.

If the original Kona was ever a head-turner, this latest iteration is a veritable street-stopper. With its “seamless horizon lamps” stretching across the front and rear like light sabers, this family crossover looks like it’s leapt straight out of a sci-fi epic. Bravo, Hyundai.

Imagine the design meeting: “The Hyundai Ioniq 5, with its 8-bit video game aesthetics, and the Ioniq 6, inspired by sleek streamliners of the 1950s, is scooping up design awards left, right, and centre. Why not double down and give the Kona some of this flair?” One can almost hear the enthusiastic chorus of agreement echoing through the room.

The Kona now proudly declares itself as an electric vehicle first and foremost – a clear pivot from its first-generation sibling, which was initially conceived with a combustion engine.

And for those who might still be warming up to the idea of going fully electric, a hybrid version is also available, offering a gentler transition from traditional engines while still dipping a toe into the future of mobility.

The choice is yours, but one thing is certain: the new Kona Electric is setting the stage for what a family crossover can and should be in an increasingly electric era.

RoboCop-esque Facade

Imagine a car that looks as if it’s driven straight off the set of Cyberpunk 2077 – this is the Kona Electric, replete with front lights that span the entire width of the vehicle, accented with diamond-like squares that catch the light just so. Its sides are sharply angular, while the rear end is as clean and streamlined as they come.

Now, there might be some who argue that the Kona’s design is perhaps too bold, too futuristic, and somewhat over the top. But, in the ever-congested compact EV segment, standing out is pretty much a necessity at this point.

The audacity of the Kona Electric’s design is its greatest charm; daring to be different in a sea of conformity, boldly asserting its presence in a crowded field.

This is the kind of car that demands to be noticed and remembered.

It’s Got Everything You Need…

If you are intrigued by the external overhaul of the latest Hyundai Kona Electric, just wait until you step inside.

Dominating the dashboard are twin 12.3-inch screens, seamlessly integrated into a single unit. The clarity and simplicity of the dial display are a breath of fresh air, especially when you compare it to the rather flamboyant rev counter graphics of Hyundai’s N cousins.

The central infotainment system boasts a layout that is both intuitive and user-friendly, with shortcuts that seem thoughtfully arranged.

And here’s a round of applause for Hyundai’s nod to traditionalism – physical buttons! Yes, for nearly every function you could think of, there’s a tangible button or knob.

This includes a dedicated climate control panel, direct screen access buttons, genuine knobs for audio adjustments, and even tactile controls for the heated and cooled seats. This is how you do it, people.

The front seats have slimmed down, making more space for those in the back. However, both rows offer a surprisingly high seating position. Those in the rear will find ample legroom, though the underfloor battery placement means taller passengers might find it a bit of a squeeze, with knees pushed upwards.

The new Kona Electric doesn’t skimp on standard equipment, and the array of options is quite extensive.

Noteworthy items include heated and ventilated seats, dual-zone climate control, wireless phone charging and a heated steering wheel.

Storage space has seen a significant boost; the boot now offers a roomy 466 litres, and an impressive 1,300 litres when folded flat. This puts it in close contention with the Kia Niro EV.

… With Power To Spare

The Hyundai Kona has long held a reputation for being a dependable drive, and the latest model holds true to that legacy.

It’s not exactly the thrill-seeker’s first choice; acceleration is more stately than explosive. Interestingly, it’s dialled back on the torque compared to its predecessor, opting for a more refined distribution of power.

For those of you keeping score on performance stats, the century sprint is clocked at 9.9 seconds. This is achieved with the 133bhp and 255Nm of torque on tap.

Where the Kona really comes into its own is in the tactile feel of its drive. Both the steering and brake pedal offer reassuring resistance, despite its substantial heft thanks to the inclusion of a battery.

This allows the Kona to maintain decent composure through the bends, though I suspect the suspension is stiffer than its hybrid sibling, to account for the added battery weight.

Hyundai continues to charm with its adjustable regenerative braking paddles behind the steering wheel, enhancing the driving experience by allowing for everything from effortless coasting to aggressive one-pedal driving.

Fancy a bit more or less regeneration? A simple flick of the left or right paddle will adjust this on the fly.

What about efficiency? The Kona shines here as well. On a balmy day with the air conditioning cranked up and the seat coolers on full blast, I still managed about 6.4km/kWh. This was with a mixed bag of driving conditions, from spirited traffic light jaunts in sport mode to more conservative urban trawling in eco mode.

This roughly suggests a realistic range of over 410km; more than enough for the weekly commute.

It’s also remarkably quiet inside, thanks to effective sound insulation and a sleek drag coefficient of 0.275, making it a serene environment to observe the hustle and bustle outside.

What More Could You Need? This Has Everything.

Since its debut in 2017, the Hyundai Kona Electric has seen its fair share of competitors vie for the spotlight. Yet, this latest refresh ensures that it not only keeps pace but continues to stand tall among the top contenders in our rankings.

Hyundai has proved once again that thoughtful updates can keep an established model feeling fresh and relevant in a rapidly evolving market. This one’s for the books.

Technical Specifications

Hyundai Kona Electric

Engine: Single Electric Motor, Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 99 kW (133 bhp)
Torque: 255 Nm
Gearbox: Single-Speed (A)
0-100km/h: 9.9 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed: 162 km/h
Battery Capacity: 48.6 kWh
Drive Range: 456 km (claimed)
Energy Consumption: 8.3 km/kWh (claimed)

Price: S$176,888 (Standard), $186,888 (Sunroof) with COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Hyundai Singapore

Photo Credits: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)

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