Close
Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC 2024 REVIEW

The new Hyundai Kona Electric has grown in size, but the key selling points of the previous model remain: a practical range (up to 319 miles), and competitive pricing.

  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai Kona Electric 2024
  • Hyundai_Kona_Electric_64-kWh_Fastned_Chargecurve
Green Car Guide Rating: 8/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size: Hyundai KONA Electric Ultimate + Lux Pack
  • Fuel: Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): Up to 319 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate: 77 kW

Summary

  • Kona Electric has grown in size compared to the previous model
  • Two battery sizes available, 48.4 kWh and 65.4 kWh
  • Electric driving range of up to 319 miles (65.4 kWh battery)
  • Maximum rapid charging rate is still only 77 kW

BACKGROUND

The Hyundai Kona Electric first went on sale in the UK in 2018, sharing a platform with the Kia Niro, and it offered an electric driving range of almost 300 miles for around £30,000. This was a breakthrough at the time, and it was even better because the Kona was compact and reasonably fun and agile to drive. The Kona was updated in 2021, but the only main change was a facelift. Now we have a new Kona Electric model, so does it improve on the original?

Hyundai Kona Electric 2024Hyundai Kona Electric 2024

DESIGN & ENGINEERING

The big news is that the Kona Electric has grown compared to the last generation. The new model measures 4,355mm in length, giving more cabin space, and it now has a boot with 466 litres of luggage space – this compares to 332 litres for the previous model. With the rear seats folded down, the luggage space increases to 1,300 litres. There’s also a ‘frunk’ under the bonnet, offering 27-litres of storage space. Rear legroom is good, but remember that this is only a compact car, so the legroom isn’t huge (and the rear seats are quite high). There’s decent storage space in the cabin, including a large area between the two front seats.

Under the skin there’s a 65.4kWh battery, the size of which is unchanged from the last model. The electric motor now has a slightly greater power output, at 218PS/160kW compared to 204PS/150kW, and drive is still through the front wheels.

As well as getting bigger, the Kona also has new styling. Design is a very subjective thing, so we invited some feedback from others about the Kona’s looks, and the overwhelming view was that people didn’t think that it was a pretty car… (possibly not helped by the grey colour of our test car).

The Kona’s cabin looks quite busy with its various screens and buttons etc, and although some influences are evident from the IONIQ 5 and 6, it doesn’t have the upmarket design and feel of some other products from Hyundai and Kia.

The Kona Electric has a 750 kg (braked) towing capacity.

Hyundai Kona Electric 2024Hyundai Kona Electric 2024

HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC DRIVING EXPERIENCE

The Hyundai Kona Electric appears to be engineered to ensure that all the road imperfections that are thrown at it are dealt with comfortably. This includes speed bumps – if you drive over one in the Kona, you’ll barely notice it.

The Kona is also easy to drive, with light steering, and although it’s grown, it’s still a relatively compact size so it feels manoeuvrable, and weighing just over 1,700 kg, it’s relatively light compared to many EVs.

The electric powertrain means near-silence and high levels of refinement, both around town and on motorways, as well as instant torque resulting in effortless acceleration.

Because the Kona is a car with a focus on driving comfort, this results in its handling not feeling sharp or particularly planted to the road, and because it’s front-wheel drive, there’s not much grip on cold and wet roads; we suspect that the Nexen tyres don’t help in this department. It’s interesting that Hyundai has swapped to rear-wheel drive for the IONIQ 5 and 6 (and many other manufacturers including Volkswagen, Volvo and Polestar have also done the same); the Kona highlights how the combination of lots of electric torque and front-wheel drive can result in poor levels of grip in certain conditions.

If you’re jumping in a new Kona from an old Kona and you can’t find the gear selector, that’s because it’s moved. The previous model had a collection of buttons for the gears in the centre console between the front seats, but the gear selector has now moved to under the wiper stalk on the right-hand side of the steering column; you twist it to change gear.

There are also steering wheel-mounted paddles to increase or decrease the level of brake regeneration (giving levels of 0, 1, 2 or 3), which is a much better way of controlling this feature than, for instance, via sub-menus in the touchscreen.

A circular rotary dial at the bottom of the central console gives you the drive mode options of Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow.

The Kona has a 12.3-inch central touchscreen, and there’s a separate panel underneath it for climate controls, which means that you can easily change heating and ventilation settings. And there are also various physical buttons, which is rare in new EVs, but we think buttons can be more user-friendly than having to press lots of sub-menus hidden in a touchscreen.

One of our favourite buttons is the one on the steering wheel that switches off the lane departure warning system. Other useful buttons, especially during a week on test when temperatures barely rose above freezing, are for the front heated seats and heated steering wheel. And our test car even had buttons next to the rear window switches to heat the seats for rear occupants.

Thanks to legislation, the Kona beeps if you creep over a speed limit by 1 mph. Even if you stick closely to speed limits the vast majority of the time, this can get very tedious; you can switch this off in the touchscreen (the Set Up button on the right of the shortcut buttons gives you lots of options including speed notification settings), but you have to do this every time you start the car.

Hyundai Kona Electric 2024Hyundai Kona Electric 2024

HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC RANGE AND CHARGING

The new Hyundai Kona Electric has a WLTP combined driving range of up to 319 miles with the 65.4 kWh battery and 17-inch wheels. As a demonstration of the impact of larger wheels on electric driving range, this 319-mile range drops to 282 miles with the larger 19-inch wheels on our Ultimate spec test car.

The Kona was on test during a week when the temperature barely rose above zero, and this is likely to have had an impact on the real-world driving range, which averaged out at 224 miles.

If you opt for the smaller 48.4 kWh battery, only available in the entry-level Advance spec, the official WLTP combined electric driving range is 234 miles.

So the official electric range of the 65.4 kWh Kona is impressive, but the car’s DC charging rate is behind most rivals, at just 77 kW for the 65.4 kWh battery. This means that at a public 100kW rapid chargepoint, it will take 47 minutes for a 10% to 80% charge. Things are even slower for the 48.4 kWh battery, which can only be charged at 50 kW. For AC charging, there’s a 10.5 kW on-board charger.

The Kona has a number of features that are designed to help stretch out the maximum range. Firstly, it has a heat pump, which aims to heat the cabin using waste heat from the electric powertrain, so minimising the impact on the battery’s driving range.

And then there’s a variety of things that are heated, including the front seats, and, importantly for passengers, the rear seats. There’s also a heated steering wheel, and even heated door mirrors (these activate when the front window demister is switched on). A button allows you to just heat the driver’s side of the cabin. And there’s even a heated charging door, which aims to prevent this freezing up in cold weather.

Not that you should need it, but if you want any more heat, you could always plug an electric heater from your house into the Kona, because there’s a 3-pin plug socket in the rear footwell, and Vehicle to Load (V2L) functionality allows you to power electrical equipment from the external charging socket using an adaptor.

Most new EVs seem to have their charging socket at the rear of the car, but the Kona still has its socket at the front, which means that you’ll have to reverse out of a charging bay or a drive after charging.

Electric cars do not charge at their maximum charge rate for an entire charging session – their charge rate typically starts off high with a battery with a low state of charge, then the charge rate decreases as the battery charge increases. See the charge curve for the Hyundai Kona Electric from Fastned:

Hyundai_Kona_Electric_64-kWh_Fastned_Chargecurve

How to charge an electric car

Hyundai Kona Electric 2024Hyundai Kona Electric 2024

PRICE AND MODEL RANGE

The Hyundai Kona Electric has four trim levels. The entry-level Advance trim is the only one that offers two battery options: 48.4 kWh (£34,995) or 65.4 kWh (£38,595). If the 48.4 kWh battery is specified this comes with a 156PS/115kW electric motor (and 17-inch alloy wheels), whereas the 65.4 kWh battery comes with the more powerful 218PS/160kW electric motor.

The other three trim levels all have the 65.4 kWh battery as standard: N Line (£40,395); N Line S (£43,095); and Ultimate (£43,095).

Our Ultimate test car came with the options of Lux Pack, comprising of Digital Key, Memory Driver’s Seat, Premium Relaxation Front Seats, Remote Smart Park Assist, HDA2.0, FCA2.0, Heated Charging Door; and Metallic/Pearl Paint.

Prices and specifications correct at time of review

Hyundai Kona Electric 2024Hyundai Kona Electric 2024

Conclusion

The Hyundai Kona Electric is a welcome option for car buyers; depending on the spec, it offers an official electric driving range of over 300 miles – no longer for around £30,000 as was the case with the original Kona Electric, but now for around £40,000. It offers more space than the previous model, and it’s easy to drive, with comfortable ride quality. However our test revealed that its front-wheel drive chassis didn’t offer much grip on cold and wet roads, and while the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and 6 can ultra-rapid charge at 233 kW, the Kona can only DC charge at 77 kW for the 65.4 kWh battery, and at just 50 kW for the 48.4 kWh battery. And we received mixed feedback about the new styling.

Hyundai and Kia are making huge progress with new EVs, but it feels like they’ve held the Kona back in some ways – possibly to try and keep the price reasonable. The Hyundai Kona Electric is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10.

Car facts and figures HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC 2024 REVIEW

  • Test electric driving range: 224 miles (in winter)
  • Consumption (WLTP): 4.4 miles per kWh
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED): £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2023/24): 2%
  • Price: £43,095
  • Insurance group: 20-26
  • Power: 218 PS
  • Torque: 255 Nm
  • Max speed: 107 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 7.8 seconds
  • Weight: 1,698 kg – 1,795 kg
  • Towing capacity: 750 kg (braked)
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor