Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh Premium SE 2018 UK review


The Kona Electric, in line with many electric cars, is mega refined, pacy (in a straight line) and a generally capable performer that can be genuinely joyful to drive every day.

However, within that glowing round-up, there are some caveats that buyers should consider, even if many will end up dismissing them.

Almost all hinge around the car’s weight of 1.6 tonnes – an inevitable downside to all that battery capacity. The Kona Electric uses the more sophisticated independent rear suspension system you’ll find on the more powerful, four-wheel-drive versions of the regular Kona, and the reward is a car that rides well enough most of the time. But point it at a larger road imperfection and it starts to struggle for body control.

The weight also means that grip levels are quite modest, and due to this, along with weighty steering, the car delivers little in the way of dynamic driving thrills.

That said, the performance of the motor and batteries is quite startling if you choose to use the 291lb ft of torque, which is available instantly, to that effect. While most of the time you settle into feather-light use of the throttle in order to conserve range and enjoy the becalming benefits of an electric powertrain, if you unleash all of the Kona Electric’s performance, it will sprint from 0-30mph (and onwards) at super-saloon pace. Only as you push up to motorway speeds from around 50mph does its response start to feel adequate rather than outright impressive.

However, it’s surprisingly easy to break traction or induce torque steer, something that is so at odds with the car’s raison d’être that it’s hard not to wonder if the electronics control department might not see fit to reign in some of that all-out delivery at some point in the future.

There’s plenty to love about the Kona Electric’s interior. Although it offers little in terms of excitement, it’s well finished, the materials are on a par for the car’s price and the kit list is extensive, starring everything from an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system to digital instruments, a head-up display and a premium audio system.

Space is also on par for the compact crossover class. Fully grown adults might struggle after a while in the back, but otherwise, there’s decent accommodation in the front and rear. Boot space is 29 litres down on that of the standard Kona, due to that battery pack, at 332 litres.

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