by Jay Traugott
Hyundai has carved out for itself a well-deserved reputation of value and style. But it's the consistent pursuit of new technologies that have helped turn the South Korean automaker into a global powerhouse. One of the best examples of this is the Kona Electric.
The combustion-engined version of the subcompact crossover was introduced in 2018 and the pure battery-electric variant went on sale the following year. It was an instant success with dealers struggling to keep enough models in stock. And now the refreshed 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric has debuted with updated styling inside and out.
The 2022 Kona Electric remains the value-packed, emissions-free stylish crossover Americans have come to love. With its affordable pricing and sufficient range, it's as competitive as ever.
Single Speed Automatic
It's amazing how some seemingly minor styling tweaks can make a significant difference. The 2022 Kona Electric features a sleeker front fascia with a more aerodynamic look augmented by a horizontal character line directly beneath the daytime running lights and brand badging. There's also a new headlight design with a new illumination signature. The lower front fascia now has horizontal strakes stretching from side to side.
Designers' aerodynamic focus continues with lower fender sculpted vents. Even the new alloy wheel designs improve airflow. There's a new rear bumper that continues the sleek theme as well as restyled taillights. Unlike its gasoline-engined counterpart, which is now 1.6 inches longer due its own front and rear updates, the Kona Electric retains the same length as last year.
The most noticeable interior design change from last year is the restyled center stack. There's now a 10.25-inch screen and an equally-sized driver's digital gauge cluster. Hyundai also placed emphasis on driver and front passenger convenience with the redesigned center console now more suitable for wireless smartphone charging and boasting a better use of overall space.
This new infotainment screen features a split-screen function, more voice-recognition features, and several Bluetooth connections. Drivers can activate and maintain the climate control, radio station, steering wheel, and rear and side window heating with the Dynamic Voice Recognition system. The Display Audio screen has also increased from 7 to 8-inches, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard. Hyundai also added acoustic glass this year to help further reduce road noise. The rest of the cabin, such as passenger and cargo volume, remains unchanged from the previous model year.
The 2022 Kona Electric's powertrain remains unchanged, meaning it continues to produce 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque thanks to the 64-kWh lithium-ion battery powering the electric motor and efficiency remains at 132/108/120 MPGe city/highway/combined. Hyundai estimates a total range of 258 miles on a single charge. Using a Level-III fast-charger enables up to an 80 percent charge in about 47 minutes. A Level-II charger provides a 100 percent charge in just over nine hours. Owners simply power up using the charging port located in the front grille.
On SEL Convenience trims and above, there's a standard battery warmer system designed to avoid long battery-charging intervals in cold weather. Winter Mode further helps to minimize battery power loss because of cool temperatures.
Hyundai's SmartSense suite of active safety features is optional but highly recommended because it includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Occupant Alert, Smart Cruise Control, Highway Drive-Assist, and Safe Exit Warning.
Pricing for the 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric has not yet been announced but it's not expected to change much from the outgoing model's $37,390 MSRP. Buyers are also eligible for federal and state tax incentives worth a few thousand dollars. Production will continue to take place in Ulsan, South Korea and it will be in dealerships across the country this spring.
The refreshed Kona Electric arrived just in time after a new competitor joined the pack in the shape of the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV. Based on the regular Bolt EV hatchback, the EUV is a slightly stretched and raised version with a crossover design. Another subcompact all-electric crossover is the Korean carmaker's sister car, the Kia Niro EV. The Tesla Model Y and Volkswagen ID.4 are both classified as compact crossovers, so they're both larger and more expensive.
For many EV shoppers, the 2022 Kona Electric remains one of the most affordable ways to get behind the wheel of a pure battery-electric vehicle. As more and more automakers commit themselves to a zero-emissions future, the Kona Electric allows owners to be ahead of the game.