The Hyundai Kona Electric small crossover SUV is now the brand’s cheapest electric vehicle after the Ioniq Electric liftback was axed globally.
After a mid-life facelift in 2021, it now starts from $54,500 before on-road costs with two trim levels – Elite and Highlander – and a small Standard Range or larger Extended Range battery offering up to 305km or 484km of driving range (WLTP) respectively.
The update also brings a revised exterior design, more efficient tyres that boosts driving range, more advanced safety assistance systems and a fully-digital driver’s instrument display.
The Kona Electric is eligible for most Australian state EV incentives depending on the variant. For further information, check out our comprehensive guide.
It is sold via Hyundai’s certified BlueDrive dealerships nationwide or can be ordered online. Like all vehicles in the current climate of crippling supply shortages, shipping delays and COVID-related shutdowns, wait times are prolonged for the Kona Electric.
Size and design
Based on the petrol-powered Hyundai Kona, the South Korean-made small crossover gains a closed-off smooth front face, revised bumpers, new wheel designs and tweaked Iron-Man inspired light clusters as part of the facelift.
Unique to the Kona Electric is a prominent centre console divider in the interior finished in a metallic-like satin silver material, as well as the physical buttons. Black leather seats are standard, but an off-white black/grey interior is available for $295 – both with blue stitching.
The rear seats offer two ISOFIX child seat anchor points and can fold down in a 60/40 split. It doesn’t offer frunk storage space.
Range and powertrain
The updated Kona Electric is available in two battery sizes and two front-wheel drive only powertrains.
The smaller 39.2kWh (usable) Standard Range delivers a claimed driving range of 305km (WLTP). It’s paired with a front-mounted electric motor able to complete the 0-100km/h acceleration sprint in 9.9 seconds.
Meanwhile, the larger 64kWh (usable) Extended Range is good for a claimed 484km (WLTP) and is matched with a higher output front electric motor for a 0-100km/h time in 7.9 seconds.
Thanks to the use of new eco Michelin Primacy4 low rolling resistance tyres, the facelift gains a claimed 7.8 per cent boost in driving range.
Australian-spec Kona Electrics are not available with a heat pump.
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Using the standard 400-volt class charging architecture, the Kona Electric can be recharged at up to 100kW DC or 7.2kW AC speeds on a compatible charger.
Hyundai estimates the electric SUV can go from 10 to 100 per cent on a 7.2kW AC wallbox in around six hours (Standard Range) or 9 hours and 15 minutes (Extended Range).
On the most common 50kW DC public chargers, it can juice from 10 to 80 per cent in a claimed 48 minutes (Standard Range) or 64 minutes (Extended Range). Those times are cut on a 100kW or faster station to 47 minutes for both Standard Range and Extended Range batteries.
These figures are consistent with our own real-world fast charging results from our Kona Electric Highlander Extended Range review.
It uses the common Type 2/CCS2 connector, which is positioned at the front-left side of the Kona Electric’s face. Hyundai includes a three-pin trickle charging cable stored in a dedicated bag that sits underneath the boot floor.
Active battery preconditioning is not offered and it isn’t capable of vehicle-to-load or vehicle-to-grid capabilities.
The small crossover has three levels of regenerative braking intensities and an adaptive automatic function that toggles on and off recuperation depending if there’s a vehicle in front detected. However, unlike newer vehicles from the carmaker, one pedal driving is not available; driver’s can hold the left paddle shifter to make the Kona Electric come to a gradual complete stop and then press the brake pedal to activate auto hold.
Safety and technology
The Hyundai Kona Electric carries a five-star ANCAP safety score under the less stringent 2017 criteria like its petrol-powered counterpart.
As part of the facelift, all Kona Electric models gain new advanced ‘SmartSense’ active safety assistance systems as standard. This includes blind spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist, lane centring assist, rear occupant alert and safe exit warning joining auto emergency braking with car/pedestrian/cyclist detection, lane keeping assist and stop/go adaptive cruise control.
All models come with rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, which can now be displayed on the touchscreen at all times. Stepping up to the top-spec Highlander nets front parking sensors and LED lights with auto high beam assist.
Additionally, it also features an updated 10.25-inch windscreen infotainment system with wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto complemented by a new fully digital 10.25-inch driver’s display replacing analogue dials. Exclusive to the Highlander is a flip-up heads-up display (HUD).
The cabin offers USB-A and 12-volt charging ports and a Qi wireless phone charging pad, too.
Price and models
Kona Electric Elite – Standard Range ($54,500 before on-road costs) or Extended Range ($60,500 before on-road costs)
The Elite comes with as standard:
- 17-inch alloy wheels (215/55 Michelin Primacy4 tyres)
- Safety assistance suite (details above)
- Reverse camera and parking sensors
- 10.25-inch infotainment system with built-in navigation and wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto
- 10.25-inch driver’s display
- Eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system
- Qi wireless charging pad
- Keyless entry and push button start
- Remote start (for preconditioning the cabin)
- Alloy effect interior trims and alloy pedals
- Leather seats and steering wheel
- Paddle shifters (controls regenerative braking)
- Single-zone climate control with auto defog
- Electronic park brake
- Front passenger seat height adjuster
- One touch up/down front windows
- Solar control glass with rear privacy tint
- Windscreen acoustic film
- Rain sensing wipers
- Heated power folding exterior mirrors
- Body coloured exterior cladding
- LED daytime running lights
- Halogen projector-type headlights and taillights
- Roof rails
- Luggage net
Kona Electric Highlander – Standard Range ($58,000 before on-road costs) or Extended Range ($64,000 before on-road costs)
The flagship Highlander adds:
- Front parking sensors
- LED headlights with auto high beam, front indicators and combination taillights
- Flip-up head-up display (HUD)
- Glass sunroof
- Heated and air ventilated front seats
- Heated rear outboard seats
- Heated steering wheel
- 10-way power driver’s seat with two-way lumbar support
- Eight-way power front passenger’s seat
- Auto dimming electro-chromatic rear view mirror
- LED footwell and interior lighting
- Cloth headliner
- Satin chrome rear bumper garnish
- Standard paint – no cost: Atlas White, Dive in Jeju
- Premium paint – $595: Surfy Blue, Pulse Red, Galactic Grey, Dark Knight, Phantom Black
- Phantom Black two-tone roof paint (Highlander only) – no cost extra: Removes the glass sunroof
- Black/grey leather interior – $295
Warranty and servicing
All Hyundai’s are backed by a five-year, unlimited kilometre vehicle warranty and eight-year/160,000km high voltage battery warranty. The brand offers roadside assistance and updates to the built-in map system for up to 10 years renewed at every schedule service visit
Service intervals are set at every 12 months/15,000km. It employs an unlimited capped price servicing scheme with the first five services costing $277 on average per visit for the Standard Range or $289 per visit for the Extended Range.
The Kona Electric must be serviced at select trained and certified Hyundai BlueDrive dealers.
How does it compare to other EVs?
Figures by Danny Thai
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