Technology: First ride in the Hyundai Kona EV: More economical than ever

The Hyundai Kona EV isn't all about range pounding and endless performance.

Technology: First ride in the Hyundai Kona EV: More economical than ever

The Hyundai Kona EV isn't all about range pounding and endless performance. Unlike many other brands in the new electric models, the Korean is surprisingly reticent in its new generation. He wants to lure instead with high suitability for everyday use and economical consumption. So it is not surprising that the engine output of 114 kW / 156 hp is comparatively manageable. The 4.35 meter long pseudo-crossover is powered as an electric version via the front axle alone and gets an electric range of 360 kilometers from the comparatively small battery pack of 48.4 kWh. Not much, but probably enough for many customers who look at the price, which should start at 42,000 euros. To be cost-conscious, there is nothing to do with the lightning-fast 800-volt charging technology that Hyundai offers in its Ioniq 5 / 6 models, among other things. The Kona EV uses 400 volt technology – unfortunately. The Korean charges from 10 to 80 percent in just over 40 minutes.

If the small battery pack is not enough for you, you can order the larger battery with its 65.4 kWh, as with the current generation of the Hyundai Kona EV, which not only guarantees a range of 500 kilometers, but is also linked to the more powerful version with 160 kW / 218 hp. If you don't want an electric model, you can still get the Hyundai Kona with two petrol engines of 120 and 198 hp or order a hybrid version with 114 kW / 156 hp. The 198 hp turbo petrol engine is the only one that is also offered as an all-wheel drive version. Assuming that a later N-Sport version will also be four-wheel drive, which was previously missing.

Even with the small electric motor and 114 kW / 156 hp, the Korean front-wheel drive is quite fast. For most customers, there should therefore hardly be any reason to opt for the more powerful version with the large battery pack. Last but not least, the Kona EV is impressively quiet thanks to its drag coefficient of 0.27 and is very comfortable for the compact class. The space available due to the increase in length compared to the previous model (plus 15 cm) is decent and thanks to the 2.66 meter long wheelbase it is easy to sit at the front and rear, although the leg rests could be longer. The driver and occupants look at two twelve-inch screens for instruments and navigation / entertainment, which are supplemented by haptic climate buttons below. The trunk is impressive for a vehicle in this class, because behind the electric tailgate there is at least 466 liters available, which can be expanded to around 1,300 liters by folding the rear seats. Carpets and headlining are made from recycled plastic bottles, while the air-conditioned seats can be optionally upholstered in ecologically processed leather.

The interior, with its numerous shelves, large displays and numerous direct control buttons, is much more suitable for volume than the exterior, because the design of the new Hyundai Kona EV is unlikely to appeal to every potential customer. Not only the front and rear with their distinctive lighting units and continuous LED strips are too polarizing, but also the flanks with numerous edges and joints on the wheel arches and doors. As before, the charging connector is located on the front of the Kona. The Hyundai Kona EV has not only increased significantly in terms of its dimensions, but also in terms of driver assistance systems. It beeps and flashes so that you hardly know how to deactivate the individual functions if you are driving two km/h too fast or cross a boundary line. However, it is now possible to get out of particularly tight parking spaces by remote control – it could hardly be more convenient.