Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh 2021 Review

The Hyundai Kona Electric has been one of our favourite EVs since its original introduction because of its 300-mile range, affordable price and fun-to-drive character, and now it’s been updated for 2021.

  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Hyundai_Kona_Electric_64-kWh_Fastned_Chargecurve
Green Car Guide Rating: 9/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size: Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate 64kWh
  • Fuel: Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 300 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate: 50 kW – 77 kW

Summary

  • 300-mile range
  • Responsive, fun to drive
  • Relatively affordable
  • Updated styling is one of only a few changes for 2021

Background

When the Hyundai Kona Electric was first launched it offered a 300 mile range for a price of just over £30,000, so it was one of our top-rated EVs. The Kona Electric has now received some minor mid-life updates, so have these kept the car at the top of its league?

Hyundai Kona ElectricHyundai Kona Electric

Design & Engineering

The main change to the 2021 Kona Electric is the styling (as well as some interior technology updates). We thought the last Kona looked good anyway, but the new version is more streamlined and sporty compared with the previous SUV-inspired styling. Which of these two approaches you prefer is probably a matter of personal taste. There are 17-inch alloy wheels, and other colours are available rather than the light grey/cream of our test car. The boot, at 332 litres, isn’t as large as the Kia e-Niro, which is based on the same platform.

Not much has changed under the bodywork in the powertrain department. There’s still a 64kWh lithium-ion battery in the case of our test car (or a 39 KWh battery is also available) with a 204PS/150kW electric motor (or 136PS with the 39 KWh battery), a single speed transmission and front-wheel drive.

Hyundai Kona ElectricHyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric Driving Experience

The Hyundai Kona Electric is a compact car with instant responses, as well as being refined thanks to its powerful electric powertrain, which translates to it being great fun to drive. This is helped by the Kona, at 1,660kg, being lighter than many other EVs.

The slightly raised suspension assists with the comfort of the ride quality, and, helped by the compact size (and weight that isn’t excessive), the handling is also good.

There are three drive modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. Sport mode results in hot hatch responses.

You can adjust the level of brake regeneration using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, which gives levels of 0, 1, 2 or 3.

The Kona is front-wheel drive, which is fine under most circumstances, but if you do happen to accelerate enthusiastically out of a junction into a gap in traffic then all the torque through the front wheels can result in wheelspin.

The interior controls of the Kona have always been easy to use, and there’s no change here with the latest model. Unlike many of the latest EVs, there are physical buttons to press, rather than all buttons being hidden in a touchscreen, which we massively approve of. You can adjust the fan with just a turn of a dial, it’s the same with the heating temperature, the heated seats, the drive modes, and even the gears.

You can even banish the lane departure warning system with a touch of the button on the steering wheel in order to avoid the system interfering with the steering.

An interesting feature is that if you’re in traffic and the car in front drives off without you noticing then the Kona alerts you.

The touchscreen is also user-friendly, although the satnav mapping features grey roads in a very similar tone to the green background, so it isn’t the clearest system.

There’s a battery charge gauge down at the bottom of the instrument dials: it tells you the range in miles that you have left, but it doesn’t give you the percentage of battery change left, and it’s quite small.

Hyundai Kona ElectricHyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric Electric Range And Charging

The Hyundai Kona Electric, with the 64kWh lithium-ion battery of our test car, has an impressive WLTP combined range of 300 miles (this is unchanged from the previous model). In real-world driving this was translating to 286 miles in Normal mode, or 290 miles in Eco mode. When we’ve previously driven the Kona Electric we’ve been able to achieve over 300 miles with careful driving.

If you’re charging the Kona Electric at a 7.2kW home charging point, a full recharge will take 9 hours 15 minutes with the 64 kWh battery, or 6 hours with the 39.2kWh battery.

At a public 100kW rapid chargepoint, the Kona should be able to complete a 10% to 80% charge in 47 minutes, either with the 39.2kWh or the 64kWh battery.

It’s interesting to see where different manufacturers are positioning the charging socket on EVs; the Kona has the charge port at the front, meaning that after charging it’s likely that you’ll have to reverse out of your drive or charging bay.

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 ElectricHyundai Kona Electric

Price And Model Range

The Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate 64kWh as tested costs £37,200 (it’s no longer eligible for the revised £2,500 UK government Plug-in Car Grant because it costs more than £35,000). You can choose SE Connect trim level with a 39 KWh battery and 136PS, when the Kona Electric is available from £27,950; Premium spec with the 39 KWh Battery and 136PS; Premium spec with the 64 KWh Battery and 204PS; or Ultimate trim, as tested, with the 64 KWh Battery and 204PS.

The Kona Electric attracts just 1% Benefit in Kind for company car drivers.

The Kona Electric has previously had long waiting lists; Hyundai says that this issue has now been overcome.

Hyundai Kona ElectricHyundai Kona Electric

Conclusion

We thought the previous Hyundai Kona Electric model was a great car, and our view hasn’t changed with the latest model – perhaps not surprisingly, as there’s not a huge difference between the two. The Kona Electric is compact, responsive, great fun to drive, and has a user-friendly interior. And a key reason why we like it so much is that it has a 300 mile electric driving range (300 miles being the minimum range that most people tell us that they want from an EV).

When the Kona Electric first went on sale it gained a 10/10 rating from us, so does the latest update mean that it maintains this rating? Well, although it’s a great car, the mid-life update hasn’t moved it massively forward (although the price has crept up over the years), whereas there are now lots of other excellent EVs with similar driving ranges, including the IONIQ 5, and we suspect that Hyundai has invested more effort with the new IONIQ 5 than the new Kona, so the 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10.

Car facts and figures Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh 2021 Review

  • Test electric driving range: 286 miles
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):   £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2021/22): 1%
  • Price: £37,200 (not eligible for the £2,500 UK government Plug-in Car Grant)
  • Insurance group: 24A
  • Power: 204 PS
  • Torque: 395 Nm
  • Max speed: 104 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds
  • Weight:   1,660 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor