Hyundai Kona Electric Review
The comprehensive Hyundai Kona Electric review
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Hyundai Kona Electric review: overviewThe Hyundai Kona Electric is a viable bridge between high-end SUVs and lower-cost vehicles, that also happens to be a battery-powered car. It's got an impressive range for the price, sizzling performance, a practical interior, city-friendly dimensions and thumbs-up all around from the motoring media. You should at least test-drive the Kona if you're looking for an EV in 2020.
how we work and how we make money.
|CarAdvice||84%||"...consider the Kona Electric as the fledgling EV market's proverbial 'clubhouse leader' at the segment's more affordable end…."||Read more|
|Chasing Cars||80%||"The Hyundai Kona Electric is a great leap for EV-kind. It brings long-range zero-emission driving into affordable territory for more Australians than ever – while offering sprightly performance and decent practicality."||Read more|
|Practical Motoring||84%||"Game-changer: an EV that manages to combine ample battery endowment, a fashionable body style and an affordable sticker."||Read more|
|Motoring||80%||"It drives as well or better than almost any rival in its class, delivers comparable range to a petrol-powered small SUV, and retains all of the packaging benefits compact crossover buyers crave."||Read more|
How does the Hyundai Kona Electric compare with other electric vehicles?
The comprehensive Hyundai Kona Electric review
Hyundai Kona Electric pricing
There are three Hyundai Kona Electric variants to choose from in Australia: Launch Edition, Elite and Highlander.
Hyundai Kona Electric Launch Edition
Launch Edition Hyundai Konas start from $63,615 driveaway. Standout features include:
- Hyundai Auto Link Premium
- Electric, single-speed, reduction gear transmission
- 5-star ANCAP safety rating, with six airbags
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Auto-dusk sensing headlights
- Solar control glass (with rear privacy)
- Leather-appointed interior
- Smart key and push-button start
- Seven-inch multimedia system
- LED daytime running lights (DRLs)
- Shift by wire (SBW – Buttons for forward, neutral and reverse)
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity
- Rear parking assist with camera
- Hyundai SmartSense
Hyundai Kona Electric Elite
Kona Electric Elites raise the driveaway price to $65,340. In addition to the Launch Edition, you also receive:
- Eight-inch satellite navigation system
- Digital radio (DAB+)
- Eight-speaker premium audio system from Infinity
Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander
The Highlander sits as the top-of-the-range model, with a starting driveaway price of $70,065. You get the following extras, over the Elite:
- LED headlights, front indicators and tail lamps
- Glass sunroof
- High Beam Assist (HBA)
- Front parking assist
- Qi-standard wireless charging pad
- Head-up display (HUD)
- Auto-dimming, Electro-Chromatic Mirror (ECM)
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Two-tone roof
Click on a price to compare car loans for the Hyundai Kona Electric.
|449km WLTP range, Electric FWD: $63,615.30 driveaway||449km WLTP range, Electric FWD: $65,340.30 driveaway||449km WLTP range, Electric FWD: $70,065.30 driveaway|
Chalk White is the only free exterior paint option.
Other paint colours cost $625, which is pretty cheap compared to other brands:
- Ceramic Blue
- Pulse Red
- Phantom Black
- Galactic Grey
- Lake Silver
|CarAdvice||"It's actually a superior WLTP range to what the imminent Mercedes-Benz EQC electric SUV is expected to offer (around 400km, Daimler's chief tester told me), and nudges the 470km range ceiling claimed by the Jaguar I-Pace."|
|Chasing Cars||"What's the Kona Electric actually like to drive and to live with? The simple answer is that this SUV is fun to drive and genuinely practical for everyday use."|
|Practical Motoring||"It's got similar range to vastly more expensive cars. Just plug it in one night on your driveway or garage and that's enough for several days' normal driving. If you want to do long journeys, it will serve better than any other affordable EV."|
|Motoring||"As an example of not only the best electric vehicle technology available right now, but also of what's to come, the Hyundai Kona Electric is a benchmark by which we'll almost certainly measure future rivals. Let's just hope fleet buyers and early adopters feel the same way."|
OnlineAutoThanks to their "bulk buying power", OnlineAuto is able to help you buy the car you want and potentially save you money too. In fact, the average saving through OnlineAuto is $4,104.
Motor and performance
The Kona Electric comes with a single, front-mounted electric motor.
Kona Electric motor
Hyundai doesn't publish the amperage for the Kona motor. It is a permanent magnet synchronous motor, situated at the front of the small SUV. In terms of power and torque, it's measured at 150kW and 395Nm.
Hyundai Kona Electric transmission
The Hyundai Kona Electric has a single-speed, reduction-gear transmission. You can operate the vehicle by pressing buttons Hyundai calls "Shift By Wire (SBW)". Paddles on the steering column are used to adjust the level of regenerative braking.
Hyundai Kona Electric battery
The battery fitted is a Lithium-ion Polymer type, with a 64kWh capacity. The voltage is measured at 356 volts.
Car reviewers' impressions of the Hyundai Kona Electric engine and transmission line-up
Though the Kona doesn't have the same veracity as a Tesla, the unique way an electric motor delivers its available torque means car reviewers found the SUV satisfyingly pokey. Journalists said it was silent, rapid from the off and lightning-fast to respond. One expert told of how they discovered in sport mode, if you bury your right foot, the front wheels are sent spinning in a frenzy to summon traction. On highways, the electric motor apparently has loads of speed in reserve, making it a highly accomplished overtaking machine. Some writers confessed they were spellbound and compelled to use the propulsion on tap.
While the Kona Electric isn't a performance vehicle, it's definitely quick and in town it's adept at zipping around congested roads and generally hustling.
Hyundai Kona Electric engine and transmission figures
|Hyundai Kona Electric key specs|
|Motor type||Permanent magnet synchronous motor, front-mounted|
|Motor amps||Not listed|
|Maximum revs||Not listed|
|Nominal battery voltage||356V DC|
|Acceleration (0–100km/h)||7.6 seconds|
|Security||Engine immobiliser and anti-theft alarm|
|Transmission||Single-speed reduction gear, 7.981 ratio|
Hyundai Kona Electric energy economy and emissions
Here's how efficient the Hyundai Kona Electric is.
Kona Electric energy efficiency and emissions, plus fuel savings
With no exhaust, the Kona Electric doesn't produce tailpipe CO2 emissions. However, using the Green Vehicle Guide, we can learn the vehicle's fuel lifecycle emissions. These sit at 118 grams per kilometre, when you include the gas created producing the electricity in the first place.
Energy consumption is listed as 131Wh per kilometre. It's estimated that if you travelled 14,000km, two-thirds of which on urban streets, annual energy costs would be $605. In NSW, if you travel 30–40km per day, you'd save around $848 per year on fuel.
Hyundai provides both NEDC and WLTP energy consumption figures. The NEDC standard is a laboratory test that was conceived in the 1980s. The WLTP also relies on lab testing but has data fed into a rig to more realistically emulate European driving conditions. This test supposedly represents real-world driving conditions more realistically.
All reviewers seemed to suggest that the factory-supplied range was very true to life and achievable. That's quite refreshing, as generally the trend (at least in conventional internal combustion engine figures) is for the numbers to be a bit optimistic.
As an SUV, weighing 1,700kg, the Kona Electric isn't a lightweight track car. But, according to motoring experts, it's no boat either. The batteries sit low down in the body, helping to centre the mass of the vehicle. If you really push it in corners, then the weight ostensibly makes things a little sluggish – but in reality, do commuters or families work their cars this hard? Not really.
Car experts surmised the car as being comfortable, acrobatic and decently smooth. Around town, the steering is described as light and quick, giving the SUV oodles of mobility. It's supposedly a fine balance between around-town wheel-spinning and controlled highway-speed lane changes. One journo handily summed it up when they said the car was on par with other rivals, whether electric or not. It sounds as though real-world roads with their imperfections are no problem, with testers describing how the Kona Electric's suspension was capable of mitigating the severity of corrugations and potholes.
On the brakes, motoring journalists also waxed lyrical about the regenerative braking mode. Some comments were made about the slightly different sensation of regen braking, but not in a negative way. However, it was noted that you need to get used to the way they worked in order to avoid coming up short at intersections. One of the motoring experts enjoyed kicking the brakes up to the maximum setting for a similar experience to shifting down a gear when entering bends.
According to Hyundai, local engineers tuned the Kona for Australia. Things that are mentioned as being tested include body control, tyre contact, handling, safety and other elements. Then adjustments may be made to parts like the telemetry, dampers, springs and roll-bar, as well as developing different local packages.
Interior and equipment
The electric Kona is based on the architecture of the petrol-powered model. There are differences though. First, the price. A standard internal combustion engine model starts from a very reasonable $25,990. The EV starts from $63,615. The EV is somewhat heavier, but compared with the same Kona (only with a petrol engine) is has benefits like:
- Lower emissions
- Regenerative brakes
- Cornering lights
- 40 extra kW, 215Nm more torque
- 5mm drop in ride height
However, it also appears that the Kona Electric has a different digital instrument cluster to the standard model, a revised centre screen trim piece and an improved climate control system. It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth phone connectivity, leather seats and a matching steering wheel as standard.
Purportedly, the interior is of good quality, though some journos found fault with the plastics (a common complaint from the motoring media, not exclusive to Hyundai), saying they didn’t have a premium feel to them. Thanks to the EV’s lack of transmission tunnel, there’s a unique, twin-level centre storage divider that houses many of the key driving controls. On an ordinary Kona, there’s just your gear knob here and some other buttons.
In everyday use, reviewers discovered the Kona interior was light and airy, with ample storage. It’s not a huge car internally, as it’s a crossover SUV, but it seems that it will do for the average car buyer.
Something great to hear, the rear seats are supposedly workable, even for those over six-foot tall, to a point. The boot is highly sensible, with 332 litres with the rear seats in use and 1,114 litres available when they’re folded flat.
If you're stuck picking between models, here are the key differences.
The least expensive Kona Electric is dubbed Launch Edition. Key highlights include Hyundai’s Auto Link Premium, 17-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, dusk-sensing headlights, solar attenuating glass (with rear privacy windows), leather seats and steering wheel, a smart key, push-button starting, a seven-inch infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Hyundai SmartSense and rear parking assist (with a rearview camera). For a base model, it’s tricked out.
The mid-tier Kona Electric Elite gets a larger eight-inch screen, with sat-nav, digital radio and an eight-speaker premium audio system from Infinity.
If you want more passenger comforts and features, the Kona Electric Highlander is the one to go for. You receive LED lights (front headlights, front indicators and taillights), as well as High Beam Assist, a glass sunroof, front parking assistant, wireless charging pad (Qi-standard), a HUD, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel and a two-tone roof.
Hyundai Kona Electric safety, security and driver assists
|5-star ANCAP rating||✔||✔||✔|
|Electronic Stability Control (ESC):||✔||✔||✔|
|Parking Distance Warning – Front (PDW-F): Four sensors, with guidance display||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Parking Distance Warning – Rear (PDW-R): Four sensors, with guidance display||✔||✔||✔|
|Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines||✔||✔||✔|
|Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) – individual tyre reading||✔||✔||✔|
|Impact detecting auto door unlock||✔||✔||✔|
|ISOFIX outer rear seats||✔||✔||✔|
|Two smart key remotes||✔||✔||✔|
|Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) with auto-hold function||✔||✔||✔|
|Hyundai Auto Link Premium (app)||✔||✔||✔|
|One-touch turn signal (3, 5 or 7 flashes)||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear window two-stage, with auto-wipe on reverse||✔||✔||✔|
Hyundai Kona Electric interior and comfort features
|Apple CarPlay and Android Auto||✔||✔||✔|
|Bluetooth phone connectivity||✔||✔||✔|
|SUNA Live Traffic Updates||✖️||✔||✔|
|Touchscreen – Seven-inch display||✔||✖️||✖️|
|Touchscreen – Eight-inch display||✖️||✔||✔|
|Infinity premium audio system with eight speakers and external amplifier||✖️||✔||✔|
|Digital radio (DAB+)||✖️||✔||✔|
|Radio Data System (RDS)||✔||✔||✔|
|AUX/USB audio input with iPod compatibility||✔||✔||✔|
|Bluetooth audio streaming||✔||✔||✔|
|Leather-appointed seats and steering wheel||✔||✔||✔|
|Height adjustable driver's seat||✔||✔||✔|
|Driver's seat – power-adjustable, 10-way (including 2-way lumbar support)||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Eight-way passenger's seat – power-adjustable||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Lower front centre console 12V outlet||✔||✔||✔|
|USB power outlet in front centre lower console||✔||✔||✔|
|Qi-standard wireless charging pad (front centre console)||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Rear centre fold-down armrest||✔||✔||✔|
|Tilt and slide glass sunroof||✖️||✖️||✔|
|All-round electric windows||✔||✔||✔|
|One-touch window up and down function – front windows||✔||✔||✔|
|Solar control glass||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear privacy glass||✔||✔||✔|
|Auto-dimming Electro-Chromatic Mirror (ECM)||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Heated, power-adjustable and folding exterior mirrors||✔||✔||✔|
|Head-up display (HUD)||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Seven-inch supervision TFT display with trip computer and digital speedometer||✔||✔||✔|
|Single-zone climate control with auto defogging||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear floor cooling and heating||✔||✔||✔|
|Ventilated and heated front seats||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Heated rear windshield||✔||✔||✔|
|Heated steering wheel||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Alloy effect steering wheel inserts, HVAC dial and vents surrounds, interior door handles, centre console and power window switches)||✔||✔||✔|
|Stone grey/blue (seats)||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Premium door centre trim materials||✔||✔||✔|
|LED interior lights||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Steering wheel mounted controls – audio, phone, cruise control and trip computer||✔||✔||✔|
|Tilt and telescopic steering column||✔||✔||✔|
|Four setting drive mode (Eco, Eco+, Comfort, Sport)||✔||✔||✔|
|Paddle shifters – regenerative braking control||✔||✔||✔|
|Shift By Wire (SBW) – electronic gear shift buttons||✔||✔||✔|
|Spare wheel repair kit||✔||✔||✔|
Hyundai Kona Electric exterior features
|Body-coloured front grille||✔||✔||✔|
|Front grille upper insert – satin silver||✔||✔||✔|
|Side garnish insert in satin silver||✔||✔||✔|
|Roof colour-matched, tailgate-mounted spoiler||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear silver skid plate||✔||✔||✔|
|Tailgate garnish insert in chrome||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Daytime Running Lights (DRL) – LED||✔||✔||✔|
|Headlights with auto dusk-sensing and escort/welcome functions||✔||✔||✔|
|LED headlight (low/high beam)||✖️||✖️||✔|
|LED positioning lights||✔||✔||✔|
|Static bending lights||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Rear fog light||✔||✔||✔|
|LED High Mount Stop Light (HMSL)||✔||✔||✔|
|LED rear combination lights||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Side mirror-integrated LED indicators||✔||✔||✔|
|Two-tone roof pack||✖️||✖️||Optional pack|
|17-inch alloy wheels||✔||✔||✔|
|Front ventilated brake disc, rear solid brake disc||✔||✔||✔|
|Single-speed reduction gear transmission||✔||✔||✔|
|On-board AC charger time (7.2kW)||9 hours 35 minutes|
|On-board DC fast charger||50kW fast charger, up to 80%: 75 minutes|
100kW fast-charging, up to 80%: 54 minutes
|Battery capacity and voltage||64 kWh, 366V Lithium-Ion Polymer|
Hyundai backs up the Kona Electric with a five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty. The battery has an 8-year (up to 160,000km) warranty. Hyundai also includes a 12-month roadside support plan.
Charging the Kona can be done at home, using an optional Delta in-home charger, for sale at Hyundai dealerships. Hyundai says it unlocks higher amperages, meaning shorter charge times, so you can top up in 9 hours and 35 minutes, easily going from flat to full overnight if you plug it in when you get home from work, for example.
The included emergency charging cable plugs into a standard domestic 240V AC socket but does have a charge time of 27 hours and 50 minutes.
Out and about, the quickest way to top up your Kona would be to find one of the compatible fast-charging stations. Networks like Chargefox have scores of locations dotted around Australia.
It's nice to see another mainstream car maker jumping into the electric-car fray. Car reviewers could find little wrong with this EV crossover SUV, other than the price. But, you do get a more powerful, more torquey powertrain for the extra money, plus other nice-to-have passenger comforts. The Kona is a plausible alternative to other similar size SUVs with conventional engines. This could be one of the cars that heralds the mainstream adoption of the electric car.
Compare some options to finance a Hyundai Kona Electric
Compare car insurance side-by-side and get quotes
More guides on Finder
Exceptional demand for Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 electric SUV
Hyundai's IONIQ 5 electric SUV looks set to sell out. Check out the specs and pricing here.
Hyundai IONIQ 2021 review: A fully electric hatchback
The future is here for the hatchback, but is the fully electric Hyundai IONIQ as enjoyable to drive as it is efficient?
MG HS plug-in hybrid review: A compelling medium SUV
The MG HS brings to the medium SUV space hybrid performance at a petrol price, and it does so with the full suite of modern features. It lacks a voice that’s truly its own, but does enough to demand a test drive.
2021 Kia Sportage Review
In 2020, the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan X-Trail all outsold the Kia Sportage. That's not to say this is a bad car; in fact, the motoring media reviewed it favourably.
2021 Kia Carnival review
With Australians purchasing larger, more stylish, three-row SUVs as opposed to people-movers, Kia has decided to make some changes.
2021 MG HS Review
MG's HS is a convincing mid-size SUV. It offers undeniable value, a well-designed interior, ample practicality and is a genuinely attractive car from the still fledgling brand.
2021 Toyota HiLux Rogue Review
The HiLux is as tough as they come with a proven reputation, but it isn't the most refined ute in the segment.
2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid Review
If you’re after a large SUV, you’re spoiled for choice. However, if you’re looking for a large SUV that attempts to reduce its footprint on the planet your options are considerably less. Enter the Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid ...
2021 MG ZS Review
It seems the ZST is really a jack of all trades kind of car. It looks good, is specced well, drives nicely and is acceptably practical.
Finally, Kia brings electric and hybrid Niro to Australia
Which Kia Niro would you choose? Hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric?
Ask an Expert