Hyundai Kona Electric Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Friday 8th December


What is it like to drive?

The Kona has always been very competent to drive, and this one is no different. It’s not the last word in fun and even in the more powerful 215bhp version with the long-range battery (the only one we’ve driven so far), acceleration is best described as progressive rather than outright quick. In fact, there’s actually less torque than in the previous generation so that the power is better controlled. Oh, and in case you were worried we’d leave them out, the 0-62mph times are 8.8 seconds for the less powerful entry level car and 7.8s for the other.

The steering and brake pedal have a decent heft to them though and, despite weighing around 1,700kg with the bigger battery, the Kona doesn’t roll too much through twisty bits. We’re also big fans of Hyundai’s continued use of paddles behind the steering wheel to adjust the level of regen. It makes driving an everyday EV that little bit more engaging, and here you’ve got multiple levels from pure coasting right through to one-pedal driving. You can also engage max regen at any moment by holding the left paddle, or switch into an automatic mode by holding the right paddle.

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Sounds pretty good for a crossover. What else do you like?

The Kona Electric’s tight turning circle of 10.6m means it matches the outgoing Mini Electric in that regard. Pretty impressive. It also gets the option of a futuristic sound generator that’s actually pretty good at giving you a sense of speed without dominating the experience and making this family EV sound like a V8 muscle car.

Is it efficient?

Good news here too: it is. On a hot day with the air conditioning and the cooled seats set to max, we still managed around 4mi/kWh without trying. That included some country roads in sport mode, some town driving in eco mode and some motorway miles in normal mode. So, basic maths would suggest that a real world range of over 260 miles should be possible in that case, and that’s in the Long Range version but with the larger 19-inch alloy wheels that drop the claimed range right down to 282 miles.

What about comfort?

We’ve only driven the new Kona Electric on smooth Czech roads so far (it’s built in Hyundai’s factory in Nošovice), so we’ll know more on this front when it arrives in the UK, but it seems to handle itself well enough. The suspension might be a little on the firmer side but that’s likely to try and hide some of the kerbweight.

Plus, wind and road noise are properly well suppressed so it’s a quiet place to sit and watch the world go by. The former is no doubt helped by the 0.275 drag coefficient.

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Is there anything you don’t like?

Sit tight, because we’re about to get our moaning caps on for a brief moment. The new Kona Electric has some of the most irritating bongs and beeps we’ve experienced from a production car in recent years. It’ll bong at you every time you dare to venture 1mph above the speed limit, and it’ll beep incessantly at you if you dare take your eyes off the road for a second – even if all you want to do is turn off the so-called driver attention assist function.

The systems for both speed and the driver’s attention both require at least four presses of the touchscreen to silence too, and they’ll reactivate themselves when you turn the car back on. We’ll be hearing them in our nightmares next.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Hyundai Kona 2.0 TGDi N 5dr DCT
  • 0-625.5s
  • CO2
  • BHP280
  • MPG
  • Price£N/A

the cheapest

Hyundai Kona 1.0T GDi Play Edition 5dr
  • 0-6212s
  • CO2126.0g/km
  • BHP120
  • MPG50.4
  • Price£18,290

the greenest

Hyundai Kona 1.6 GDi Hybrid SE 5dr DCT
  • 0-6210.8s
  • CO290.0g/km
  • BHP141
  • MPG72.4
  • Price£22,280

Variants We Have Tested

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