Hyundai Kona Electric Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear
Car Review

Hyundai Kona Electric

£ 17,240 - £ 40,895
810
Published: 17 May 2021
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

Hyundai claims a full 300 miles of range for the 64kWh Kona Electric (up from the 289 miles that was quoted when the Kona first launched), and that’s really very good indeed. Range anxiety isn’t a problem, not just because there’s a lot of it to begin with, but because Hyundai has nailed the algorithm that informs the range computer.

It’s not perfect of course, but for the most part you can trust the Kona’s indicated range in a way you can’t with a lot of other EVs because it doesn’t fluctuate wildly if you clog it down a slip road or crank the air conditioning up a notch. Most of the time, the little number on the dashboard ticks down as it should, and is how far you can expect to travel before you need to plug in.

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I managed two 125 miles journeys in the 64kWh Kona, involving a long motorway slog, without charging. I got home that evening with eight per cent left in the battery – enough, said the car, for another 20 miles. My average was over 4 miles/kWh, which is very good. Day-to-day, you can reasonably expect it to cover 250 miles between charges. Some cars can’t go that far on a tank of petrol.

The Kona is a comfy cruiser – quiet at speed, with a reasonably placid ride and road manners if you’re not in any kind of hurry. The steering is well-weighted and precise enough but not involving. It’s not a car you’ll relish driving along your favourite B-road – push and things start to get a bit messy – but it acquits itself well given its hefty 1,685kg kerbweight (the 39kWh car is 150kg lighter thanks to the smaller battery).

0-62mph takes 7.9 seconds in the 64kWh car, which is more than quick enough. Though the Kona does suffer from a bit of torque steer and could do with more sophisticated Mini Electric-style traction control, as it has a tendency to light up its front tyres when you put your foot down. Especially if the road is greasy or you’ve got a bit of steering angle on.

The 39kWh Kona is a bit less powerful, but still hits 62mph in a smidge under 10 seconds and is more than quick enough. Ought to be enough performance for anyone who doesn’t leave town much, anyway. Venture out of the city limits and a real-world range of around 150-ish miles does become a bit, well… limiting. Despite a similarly efficient powertrain, you won’t be taking it out of Eco mode very often, let’s put it at that.

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Of course there’s regenerative braking. Paddles on the steering wheel let you adjust the level, ranging from quite a lot (so you seldom need to touch the brakes) to none at all (minimal rolling resistance means this thing will coast for MILES). It’s a perfect system and even manages to add a bit of extra driver involvement to the experience.

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 Blue Drive S 5dr
  • 0-6212s
  • CO2121.0g/km
  • BHP120
  • MPG51.4
  • Price£ 17,240

the greenest

Hyundai Kona 150kW Premium SE 64kWh 5dr Auto [11kW Charger]
  • 0-627.9s
  • CO20
  • BHP204
  • MPG
  • Price£ 40,895
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