by Aiden Eksteen
To cater to the rapidly expanding EV market in the USA, Hyundai introduced the Kona Electric subcompact crossover for the 2019 model year. The futuristic crossover offers a feisty 201-horsepower from its electric motor setup and rides on a balanced EV platform. It remains relatively affordable in the segment and rewards buyers with a value-packed bundle that drives well, too. With its recent redesign, various enhancements, and reduced pricing for the USA, the 2022 Hyundai Kona EV compares better than ever to competitors. The 258-mile driving range knocks the 100-mile EPA estimate of the Mazda MX-30 out of the park but is on par with what the Chevrolet Bolt EV manages, minus one mile. It's quick off the line and although its back seats are cramped, it's an impressive EV and ideal family runabout.
Hyundai has enhanced the Kona Electric SUV's appearance for the new model year by donning it with refreshed front and rear bumpers and new wheel designs. The interior was also given some TLC and a 10.25-inch digital gauge display is now standard. The Electric lineup has been simplified for 2022 with only two trim levels, namely the SEL and the Limited; last year's Ultimate trim has been discontinued. Hyundai has also applied some feature updates to further add to the value of the Kona.
See trim levels and configurations:
Single Speed Automatic
Single Speed Automatic
In lieu of your typical front-end grille, the Kona Electric SUV sports a patterned fascia that's underscored by an air intake and two air damns. This makes for a truly futuristic look that may take some time to grow on you, but we like it. Halogen projector headlights are standard on the SEL but are swapped out for LED headlights with high-beam assist for the Limited. Base models get LED daytime running lights and a rear spoiler. The Limited comes fitted with a power tilt-and-slide sunroof which can be optioned on to the SEL. Both models ride atop 17-inch alloy wheels and have a shark-fin antenna.
Classified as a subcompact 5-door crossover SUV, this is evident in the car's dimensions. The Hyundai Kona Electric spans a length of 165.6 inches in total, stands at a height of 61.2 inches, and bears a width of 70.9 inches. The subcompact crossover rides 6.2 inches off the ground and has 102.4 inches between the front and rear axles.
The SEL weighs in at a curb weight of 3,715 pounds which increases to 3,836 lbs on the Limited.
As a fully electric vehicle, the Kona all-electric car comes powered solely by a 150-kW electric motor and 64-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery that's been coupled with a single-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor produces up to 201 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque which is fed directly to the crossover's front wheels. With all that torque being available from the first tap of the accelerator pedal, 0-60 mph passes by in just 6.4 seconds based on independent testing. Acceleration responses remain brisk and unperturbed even at higher speeds and commencing highway overtakes are effortless. As a small electric vehicle, the 2022 Kona Electric isn't rated for towing capacity.
With its smartly tuned chassis, fair curb weight, and low center of gravity, the Kona Electric actually drives rather pleasantly and, to an extent, even enjoyably. It feels peppy and nimble around town and its floor-mounted battery makes for a low center of gravity that makes it feel confidently planted and tangibly stable. The Kona Electric's elevated ride height is impressive, but this is only truly advantageous on urban roads - without AWD, you won't be able to take the electrified SUV on any serious off-road excursions. It's a really pleasant cruiser on the road, however, and most undulations and imperfections are effectively absorbed.
The Kona Electric runs on electricity alone, so you don't have to worry about mileage or rising fuel prices and gas station queues. With a full charge, the Kona Electric is capable of traveling for up to 258 miles before its battery runs completely out of charge, which is really impressive for an EV of its price and classification. The EPA rates the Kona Electric's fuel economy-equivalent performance as 132/108/120 MPGe across the city/highway/combined driving cycles.
According to Hyundai, charging the battery from 10% to full will take around nine and a half hours with the standard 7.2 kW onboard charger. On Level 3 quick charging, you can get the battery from 10-80% in about 47 minutes.
There's enough seating for up to five occupants in the Kona Electric, though the rear seats may be a bit too cramped for some adults. Ingress and egress is easy for most, although you'll have to stoop a little if you're on the taller side and trying to access the rear seats. Room overall is plentiful in the front and both front seats are comfortable and supportive, with cloth upholstery on the base model and leather on the Limited. The top-spec model allows for power adjustments in eight directions for the driver, too, so finding a good driving position should be easy.
With an expansive 19.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rearmost seats, the Kona Electric leads the segment when it comes to practicality. The Chevrolet Bolt offers just 16.9 cubic feet of trunk room and the Tesla Model 3, a mere 12.3 cubes. Fold the Kona's 60/40-split flat-folding back seats down and trunk space is expanded to 45.8 cubic feet. You should be able to fit a full month's worth of grocery shopping in on a single run.
In-cabin storage solutions include a moderately-sized glove box, larger door pockets, two front cupholders, a small-items center console tray, and rear map pockets.
Naturally, the SEL feels more basic than the top-spec Limited, but that doesn't mean it isn't kitted out with advanced comforts and conveniences. There's proximity key entry with push-button start, single-zone automatic climate control, six-way manually-adjustable front seats, and a rearview camera with parking guidance. The Limited adds a host of extras, many of which are optional for the SEL. This includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated and ventilated front seats, LED cabin lighting, and a power sunroof. It also comes with smart cruise control and wireless device charging.
In terms of driver-assist technologies, both come with forward collision assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, lane following assist, and driver attention warning. Rear occupant alert is also standard on both models. The Limited gets reverse parking sensors additionally.
Providing infotainment in the entry-spec SEL is an eight-inch touchscreen and six-speaker audio system. It supports AM/FM radio, SiriusXM, and HD Radio connectivity as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Bluetooth streaming is also inclusive in the SEL along with an aux input and two USB ports. Infotainment is upgraded significantly for the Limited with a 10.25-inch touchscreen coming into play along with a premium Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system. It also gets onboard navigation and traffic flow and incident report data. Both the eight-inch and the 10.25-inch touchscreens are pleasant to use and Hyundai's software is user-friendly. The Limited is also fitted with a rear USB port and a wireless charging pad, but one downside of the top trim is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not wireless.
Neither the 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric nor its gas-fed sibling has been recalled for any serious problems at the time of writing. 2021 models were subject to two recalls, one for improperly heat-treated piston oil rings, and the other for a malfunction on the integrated electronic brake system.
Hyundai covers the Kona Electric with a 10-year/100,000-mile electric powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty, five years of roadside assistance, and a seven-year/unlimited-mile anti-perforation cover.
No Kona EV safety review has been conducted by the NHTSA or the IIHS, but the regular gas-powered Kona has been evaluated. The NHTSA bestowed the Kona with a five-star overall rating, with perfect scores for both frontal and side crash tests too. Over at the IIHS, the Kona received the best possible ratings of Good for all six its evaluated areas.
Within the segment, the 2022 Hyundai Kona EV is perhaps one of the best. It shows off its EV status through a unique and futuristic aesthetic that is carried through to the interior. It delivers lively acceleration whether you're driving around in town or on the highway, and with a superb chassis and low center of gravity, it can actually be quite fun to drive about, too. Sure, the little SUV can't really tackle the road less traveled, but as an urban runabout, it's close to perfect - with a substantial 258-mile range. The Hyundai Kona Electric's interior is as contemporary and impressive as its exterior, and it comes standard with an impressive list of safety features right off the bat. Add to that an exemplary warranty, and it becomes harder to focus on the negatives. It's easy to recommend the Hyundai Kona EV.
At $34,000, the starting price of the 2022 Hyundai Kona EV is fairly attractive considering its position as an EV. The Limited comes in at an MSRP of $42,500 and for that upshot in price offers significantly more in comforts, conveniences, and tech. Prices are exclusive of Hyundai's $1,245 freight charge as well as of any tax, registration, and licensing fees. Hyundai offers a Convenience Package for the SEL that comes at an additional cost of $3,500. Further adding to the high-value appeal of the Kona Electric is the fact that the EV qualifies for a federal tax credit of $7,500.
Hyundai has reduced the selection of Kona EV SUV models for 2022, but it also significantly reduced the pricing of the line to make it more competitive. The entry-spec SEL now offers some value both in performance specs and in the features it comes standard with, so it's the model we recommend. For $34,000, you get the 201-hp electric motor that offers a fairly impressive 258 miles of range on a single charge. Performance is kept the same throughout the line so opting for the higher tier Limited will only get you more luxury features many of which can be had in the SEL through the available Convenience Package.
|Hyundai Kona Electric||201 hp||134/106 mpg||$33,550|
|Chevrolet Bolt EV||200 hp||131/109 mpg||$26,500|
|Tesla Model 3||271 hp||138/126 mpg||$39,990|
The Chevrolet Bolt boasts one of the most attractive prices for a vehicle of its capability and classification. Under its hood is a 200-hp, 266-lb-ft electric motor that has it feel as peppy as the Kona EV. It also affords the Bolt with a slightly better range of 259 miles and mileage returns of 131/109/120 MPGe. It's not quite as entertaining to drive as the Kona Electric but it is still impressively comfortable. Its cabin isn't as modern and featureful as the Kona, but quite a bit more spacious, especially in the rear. The Kona EV still wins in trunk and cargo room, however. There are plenty more advanced driver assist features in the Kona EV, too, so with its superior handling, more practical trunk, and better selection of driver aids, the Kona Electric is the winner here overall.
In terms of performance, the Tesla Model 3 is one of the best EVs money can buy. However, a spate of recent price hikes means that it now starts at $46,990, $10k more than the Kona. There are several powertrain and model options to choose from with single and twin motor setups and up to 430 hp offered in the latter. The EPA rates all the Model 3 variants - barring the Performance specification - as more frugal than the Konda Electric, and Tesla claims that the RWD model is capable of achieving 267 miles on a single charge. The Long-Range model can go up to 334 miles according to Tesla.
The Model 3 beats the Kona Electric in most performance areas as it's faster and the better handler, too. That being said, the Kona Electric is to no extent a bad car to drive. It's still entertaining and comfortable but the Model 3 is just better. The Model 3 gives off a more upmarket impression, too, in its look and feel outside and in. It has more cabin room than the Kona EV but less cargo space, so when it comes down to it, the Model 3 is the option to go for if you seek the best in EV performance while the Kona EV makes sense if you have a tighter budget.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric: