New Hyundai Kona revealed
New Hyundai Kona SUV gets a more spacious interior and a better range in fully electric form. Here's everything you need to know, including the price, specs and release date...
On sale April 2023 | Price from £25,000 (est)
Imitation, it’s sometimes said, is the most sincere form of flattery. And Hyundai’s electric car line-up must be feeling flattered indeed, because two of the most recent entrants have been used as the inspiration for the new Hyundai Kona.
Yes, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6, whose eye-catching details wouldn't look out of place in a futuristic sci-fi flick, have inspired the Kona’s new look, including its distinctive visor-style front LED light bar and matching pixelated partner at the back, plus chunky wheel arch cladding to lend it a tougher look.
The new Kona isn't just different from its predecessor on the surface, though; it now shares its underpinnings with its sister car, the Kia Niro. This means that it’s larger than before, although it still remains closer in size to small SUV rivals such as the Ford Puma and Volkswagen T-Roc, rather than the family-sized Niro.
As before, the new Kona is being offered with petrol, hybrid and fully electric power. The regular petrol version’s 118bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre engine and the hybrid’s 139bhp 1.6-litre unit (with 43bhp electric motor) have been carried over from the outgoing model, but with minor increases in power. At present, there are no plans for plug-in hybrid or hot Kona N variants.
The Kona Electric, meanwhile, offers a choice of batteries, with either a 48.4kWh usable capacity or 65.4kWh. The former can officially travel for up to 213 miles from a full charge, while the latter can cover 305 miles. That’s competitive with the MG 4, which promises 218 miles and 281 miles (officially) in SE and Long Range forms respectively, and far more than the current Kona Electric can manage.
Powering the Kona Electric is a single electric motor that produces 154bhp and 188lb ft of torque with the smaller battery, and 215bhp and 188lb ft of torque with the larger one.
When it comes to topping up the Kona Electric, charging speeds aren’t all that fast by modern electric car standards. Unlike the Ioniq 5 (which has an 800V electrical system and can charge at speeds of up to 238kW with the 77kWh battery), the Kona Electric sticks with more conventional 400V charging. While there are no figures on speeds yet, we suspect it will have a maximum capacity of around 72kW – the same as the Niro EV. That means a 10-80% charge will take around 43 minutes, whereas the Ioniq 5 takes around 18 minutes (if you can find a suitably powerful charging point).
We’ve already sat inside the new Kona, and it feels much more upmarket than the previous model, and gets dual digital screens for both the infotainment screen and driver’s display – both 12.3in in size. Below the infotainment screen sits a bank of physical buttons for the climate controls, which should help to minimise distraction while driving (unlike the touch-sensitive set-up in the Ioniq 5). Material quality is generally good throughout, although there are some hard, scratchy plastics dotted around, and especially lower down.
Space in the back is good, too, with lots of leg and head room (even for taller passengers). In the Kona Electric, you get the bonus of a completely flat floor, which helps with rear foot space.
In the boot, there’s 466 litres of space, which is more than you’ll find in the T-Roc. In that car, we managed to fit in seven carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf, so we suspect the Kona will be able to carry a similar number. If you need to carry longer items, the rear seats split in a 60/40 configuration.
Pricing for the new Kona starts at around £25,000 for the petrol model and £30,000 for the hybrid model. That compares with a £24,920 starting price for the Puma and £26,210 for the T-Roc.
Meanwhile, the Kona Electric will cost from around £38,000. That’s a lot more than the £26,995 starting price of the MG 4 SE, but slightly cheaper than the Volkswagen ID 3 (£39,425).
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
Read more: Best electric SUVs 2023 >>
Best small SUVs 2023
Thinking of buying a new small SUV? Then make sure you read our rundown of the top 10 cars in this booming sector – plus, find out which ones we'd avoid
2022 Seat Arona long-term test: report 4
When it first went on sale, the Seat Arona was the best small SUV around, but it's been surpassed by other cars. Has a recent facelift put it back on top? We're living with one to find out