Hyundai Kona Electric Review 2023 | Top Gear
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Saturday 2nd December
The new Kona Electric is just as competent as before, but with more of all the good stuff. Well done Hyundai

Good stuff

Looks even more distinctive now, bigger boot and more spacious inside than before

Bad stuff

Not everyone will be keen on the Daft Punk helmet front end


What is it?

It’s the new Hyundai Kona Electric. And if you thought the old one looked striking, just check out this Robocop-style redesign with its “seamless horizon lamps” (aka lightbars) stretching right across the front and rear. Yep, this really is what actual production family crossovers look like these days. Bravo, Hyundai.

Note that you can get internal combustion and hybrid versions of the Kona as well, although this new-generation car has been developed as an EV first and a combustion car second; the previous gen was the other way around. We’re hoping to sneak a go in the petrol-powered and hybrid versions soon.

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So, what do I need to know about the electric bits?

Well, the new Kona Electric comes with two battery and powertrain options. Entry level is now a 48.4kWh battery paired with a 154bhp motor that drives the front wheels. That can only be combined with the base-spec Advance trim and provides a max range of 234 miles. Not bad.

All other trim levels – N Line, N Line S and Ultimate – get a larger 65.4kWh battery and a more powerful front-mounted motor that produces 215bhp and 188lb ft of torque. When combined with some smaller 17-inch wheels that sets the headline range figure of up to 319 miles. Oh, and that powertrain also gets 400V architecture with DC fast charging capability of up to 102.3kW, which beats the previous generation’s 75kW max.

What’s it like inside?

First thing to note here is that the new Kona Electric is bigger than the old Kona Electric. No surprises there. It’s 145mm longer, 25mm wider and 20mm taller than before. Plus, there’s an extra 60mm in the wheelbase so you get a fair bit more room inside. Only five seats of course, but the front seats are now also much thinner to maximise the rear legroom.

It’s probably also worth pointing out that the boot is much bigger than in the previous generation (head to the Interior tab for more info) and you can have your choice of cloth, leather, Alcantara and something called ECO Suede for the trim.

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Are there screens?

This is an EV launching in 2023. That’s like asking if a bear does its business in the woods. What we’re trying to say is yes, there are two 12.3-inch screens for the dial display and infotainment that come as standard no matter what trim level you go for. Interestingly though the interior is also filled with real, physical buttons. Oh the joy!

How much will it cost me?

Since its launch in 2017, Hyundai has sold over 100,000 examples of the Kona Electric in Europe. And even with the arrival of the brilliant Ioniq 5, the Kona will still be an important EV for Hyundai on our shores, not least because the boxy 5 starts at £43,445, whereas you can pick up the Standard Range Kona Electric from £34,995.

You can find more detail over on the Buying tab of this review, but the range eventually tops out with the Ultimate trim and Long Range battery/powertrain. That’ll set you back £43,095 before options.

Anything else I need to know?

Here’s a quick list of a few bits that are standard fit no matter what trim level you go for: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, V2L charging for powering your kettle when there’s a powercut, and a heat pump for improved efficiency. Nice.

What's the verdict?

The Kona Electric may have way more rivals than it did in 2017, but this refresh keeps it right up towards the top of our tree

We like the way this new Kona looks, especially in all-electric form without the black plastic cladding around the wheelarches. The pixel style lights give it a little link to Hyundai’s Ioniq range, but it’s still a brave and independent design for a family crossover. It also drives as well as it needs to and is much more practical than the previous generation.

The button-filled interior should be applauded in this day and age, and prices that start in the mid-£30k region aren’t bad in today’s market either. The Kona Electric may have way more rivals than it did when it first arrived back in 2017, but this refresh keeps it right up towards the top of our tree.

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