2022 Hyundai Kona Electric 39kWh Premium UK Review Car News

What is that?

The world of electric cars has evolved so rapidly that you’d be forgiven for thinking the Hyundai Kona Electric was one of the oldest statesmen in the class. Still, it’s been a little over four years since it arrived as a pioneer with a range of 300 miles and an attractive price. Good to drive too.

The electric car market has exploded since and we’ve had arrivals like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 even within the company’s own stable showing the exciting next evolution of the electric car.

Still, the Kona Electric remains a very serious contender in the category and has recently received a series of updates to keep pace with rapid developments. Two versions continue in the range: an entry-level 134hp version with a 39.2kWh battery offering 189 miles of range, as tested here, and a more powerful 201hp version with the 64kWh battery which is good for 300 miles of range.

What does it look like?

The changes are minor from the Kona Electric we first experienced and focus mainly on styling, giving it the “grilleless” look that many recent electric cars have adopted. Like many recent electric cars, it therefore lacks a bit of character and distinctive face.

Not much has been done to the dynamics of the electric drivetrain, beyond some software tweaks, but with this revised Kona Electric we have the benefit of evaluating it after the segment has evolved and effectively emerged at a fast pace. And it still holds its place very well.

The most powerful, the 201-hp Kona Electric, tended to spin its wheels, so much the amount of torque (290 lb-ft) was sent through the front tires and their lack of grip. The less powerful model we’re testing has always been less affected by this and is almost entirely absent now after recent changes.

The power and torque delivered are much less efficient; it’s still fast, but much more manageable now. Just asking the tires to do much more than is reasonable, like doing it on a wet road with a lockout, will break traction. And you’d be a bit silly to do that in the first place.

The Kona Electric has three distinct driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. Power and response increase noticeably between the three (Normal seems judged best overall), as does the vibrancy of the graphics on the updated instrument display. Seeing the whole screen turn red when Sport mode is selected raises a smile and it’s a welcome dose of character in what is a functional rather than stylish cabin.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-13 23:01:23

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