Exactly three years have passed since the debut of the 100% electric Kona and Hyundai has already put the updated version on the road. The restyling covers the entire range and is focused as much on aesthetics, especially in the front area, as on the technology on board. The innovations regarding the powetrains are marginal, even absent in the case of the electron version, but there was no particular need for them. In fact, since its launch, the Hyundai Kona Electric has been available with two electric motors accompanied by as many lithium-ion batteries of different sizes. A choice that reflects a double possibility of use: more urban in the case of the 39.2 kWh battery, which still guarantees 305 km (WLTP) of average autonomy, and more versatile in the case of the 64 kWh battery which promises a distance of 484 km (WLTP). Prices change accordingly, with a delta between the two accumulators of 4,600 euros. Not a lot but just enough to make a careful analysis of your needs.
Speaking of necessity, Hyundai is one of those manufacturers that hasn’t felt the need to fully commit to just one technology, but has continued to believe in all drive systems. In the list you can find petrol, diesel and LPG models, but also mild hybrid, full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid, up to hydrogen and electric. Today we focus on the latter and on the Kona, which performed very well in its first three years of life. In this period, in fact, sales exceeded 120,000 units globally, of which over 53,000 in Europe. It should also be said that for at least two years the electric Kona was practically the only competitor of the Tesla in terms of autonomy, underlining the speed of the Korean brand in responding to the new needs of mobility, which in that period were starting to emerge strongly. Today, Kona Electric has far more competitors, and that’s why it updates itself to stay on top of it.
The instrumentation is now fully digital and is visible on a 10.25-inch display, the same size as the screen dedicated to infotainment. The Hyundai system is confirmed as one of the best in terms of speed, functionality and connectivity, even if it is not always intuitive. There is also an update of the Bluelink system to remotely monitor the battery and recharge activity or to pre-condition the passenger compartment. The Hyundai SmartSense driver assistance systems department, which was already of a high standard, has also been enhanced. The most important innovations are the Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance and the Blind Spot Collision Avoidance which activate the brakes when necessary, as well as providing warnings to the drivers. The RCCA avoids collisions when reversing by braking when other vehicles are detected arriving from the side. The BCA system, on the other hand, applies the brakes to prevent a collision if another vehicle is detected at the blind spot and the driver attempts to change lanes.
At the wheel of the Kona Electric, the 204 hp and 395 Nm of the electric motor can all be felt, despite the almost 17 quintals of weight. The speed is limited to 167 km / h but you get there rather quickly. If, on the other hand, you want to check the 7.6 seconds declared for 0-100 km / h, you need the steering wheel firmly, because the front is lightened enough under the torque ranges of the electric motor. Better to focus on the system for managing the recovery of energy in deceleration, which is functional and intuitive. Behind the wheel of the, there is a pair of vanes similar to those of many sports cars, only here they serve to increase or decrease energy recovery and therefore the engine brake. It goes from level 0 (the smoothest) to level 3 (the most braked) by decreasing the resistance with the right paddle and increasing it with the left. On the highway, level 0 works very well, while in the city it is better to position yourself at least on 1, leaving 2 and 3 for prolonged descents.
Hyundai Kona Electric – the factsheet
What is that: the restyling of the 100% electric version of the Korean B-SUV
Dimensions: length 4.20 meters, width 1.80 m, height 1.57 m, pitch 2.60 m
Trunk: 332 liters
Motor: permanent magnet synchronous electric, 204 HP and 395 Nm
Exchange: single speed
Benefits: technology on board, equipment, quality / price ratio, guarantee
Defects: still high price, logic of the infotainment system
Production: Ulsan, South Korea
Prices: the Hyundai Kona Electric price list starts at 35,850 euros for the version with a 39.2 kWh battery, while the 64 kWh one goes up to 45,000 euros