2023 Hyundai Kona Electric

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2023 Hyundai Kona Electric Review: Now With Even Better Value

After receiving its most-recent facelift for the 2022 model year, the Hyundai Kona Electric enters 2023 with only minimal changes before the redesigned 2024 model is launched. This electric subcompact crossover SUV still uses one powertrain across the range, and it's a good one: The permanent-magnet synchronous motor sends 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque into a single-speed transmission driving the front wheels, and is fed from a 64-kWh battery to give lively performance and a very usable driving range. Built on the same platform as the gas-powered variants, the Kona Electric has a curvaceous exterior design that manages to look cute and elegant at the same time. It's also a blast to drive, thanks to the battery pack's location under the floor giving a low center of gravity. It's not an ideal family vehicle, though, because rear passenger space and cargo volume are both on the small side.

Principal competitors to the Hyundai Kona Electric include the Nissan Leaf SV Plus and Chevy Bolt EUV, both of which are similar in size and have similar base price tags to the Kona, before rebates and incentives, and also have similar battery capacities and motor outputs. There is a lower-spec and cheaper Nissan Leaf S on offer in the USA, but it cannot match the others on range or performance.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 9 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
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2023 Hyundai Kona Electric Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Kona Electric?

The 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric receives only the mildest of updates - its last big facelift happened for 2022 and a redesigned new Hyundai Kona Electric SUV is due soon. The range is mildly realigned, the interior received some equipment tweaks, and minor cosmetic changes are applied to the exterior, but there are no changes to its mechanical- or battery specifications. The focus for 2023 is value for money, with some features which were optional before becoming standard.

The outgoing SEL trim level is now renamed SE and the older SEL Convenience Package is now called the SEL, but the top-trim Limited retains its old name. Many previous high-trim-only features, such as eight-way power driver's seat adjustment, heated front seats, auto up-and-down front windows, and a rear USB port are now standard across the range. The new entry-level SE model receives a black roof to set it apart, and the 10.25-inch diagonal color navigation system, previously exclusive to the Limited trim, is now standard on the mid-level SEL trim as well and its maps can be updated over the air.

Pros and Cons

  • Very good driving range
  • Comfortable cabin with low noise levels
  • Engaging handling
  • Quick acceleration
  • Well-equipped across the range
  • Sporty handling comes with a slight ride comfort penalty on rougher roads
  • Rear cabin space is limited
  • Only available in 26 states
  • No AWD option

What's the Price of the 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric?

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric prices vary between a starting MSRP of $33,550 in SE trim, without dealer options, and before EV credits, rebates, and incentives. This rises to $37,300 for the mid-level SEL trim, and a new Kona Electric's price peaks at $41,550 for the range-topping Limited variant.

Destination charges for all 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric trims amount to $1,295, so that cost must be added to the Kona Electric's MSRP. Also, remember to check whether EV tax credits or rebates apply in your state because those can be deducted from the total price of the Kona Electric when the time comes to sign on the dotted line. Don't expect to haggle successfully with the dealership, though, because these cars are in short supply, and you may even have to pay above the MSRP to lay your hands on one.

Best Deals on 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Electric SE
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Electric SEL
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Electric Limited
Single Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric Trims and Specs

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric Handling and Driving Impressions

Even though the Hyundai Kona Electric isn't exactly a lightweight car for its size, with a curb weight of 3,715 lbs in base trim, that 201-hp electric motor shunts it around with real authority. Expect a 0-60 mph dash in the mid-6-second range, and the 291 lb-ft of torque on tap should ensure adequate overtaking performance at freeway speeds as well. Just as importantly for an EV, the regenerative braking is very effective, and allows near-one-pedal driving if the brake regen is cranked up on the steering-mounted paddles.

Apart from its spirited performance, the Hyundai Kona also has the ability to make its driver smile with its handling dynamics. Because the heavy battery pack is mounted below the floor and thanks to sporty suspension tuning, cornering is flat and grip levels are high. And, while the steering isn't awash with road feel, it responds to driver inputs with alacrity and accuracy. The only dynamic downsides are the somewhat stiff-legged ride quality over uneven roads, and the presence of old-school hot-hatch torque steer in hard acceleration, but even these elements may find favor with driving enthusiasts as character rather than flaws.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric A Good SUV?

Far more than just "good for an electric car", the 2023 Kona Electric is a good car, period. Well-equipped, quiet, and comfortable in the daily commute, quick in a straight line, fun around corners, and with a very good driving range, there's little reason to fault the Kona Electric in most use cases. It does everything its competitors can do, and trounces them on many of those things along the way. It even offers good value for money, considering its specifications - something that isn't always a given with EVs. And, the Kona Electric's safety reviews are impressive, too.

While the Kona Electric is too small to be saddled with long-distance family-hauling duties and not at all suitable for towing, that's not what it's meant to do. This is a car for all those times when you want to zip through heavy traffic instead of bludgeoning your way through it, and when running costs on your daily drive has a big impact on your budget. The fact that it has some real character is a huge bonus, and proves that the coming electric future doesn't have to be boring and anodyne.

What 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric Model Should I Buy?

The base SE is the best value for money among the Hyundai Kona Electric models because it offers most of the useful features as standard. However, if you absolutely can't do without a wireless charging pad, sunroof, and integrated navigation, the SEL will hit the spot quite nicely too. If it came with the all-LED lighting package as well, or even as an option, the SEL would have been the sweetest spot in the range. The Limited trim struggles to make a case for itself at its price point, but can play the role of premium small EV with some conviction if that's what you need.

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