Hyundai Kona reader test team

Electric version of Hyundai’s small SUV gets a longer range and an upgraded interior in its latest iteration. But does it meet with our readers’ approval?...

Hyundai Kona reader test team

Hyundai’s second-smallest SUV has been reborn. The Hyundai Kona now channels the futuristic styling of the brand’s bigger, all-electric Ioniq 5, emphasising the fact that the Kona line-up includes a fully electric version, as well as petrol and hybrid models.

Here, we’re looking at the Hyundai Kona Electric, which offers batteries of 48.4kWh and 65.4kWh usable capacity. The smaller unit yields an official range of 223 miles and the larger one 319 miles. The latter figure is farther than rivals such as the BYD Atto 3 (260 miles), Kia Niro EV (285 miles) and Smart #1 (273 miles) can go between charges.

With a peak charging rate of 102kW, the Kona can replenish its battery from 10-80% in 40 minutes – slightly quicker than the Atto 3 and Niro but slower than the #1.

Prices for the Kona Electric start at £34,995 (in 48kWh guise), undercutting its main rivals, while the more comparable 65kWh versions start at £38,595 – roughly the same money as the Atto 3 and #1 and slightly more than the entry-level 64.8kWh Niro EV.

Larger than before, the new Kona is roomier in the rear seats and has a bigger boot. Interior quality has been improved, too. But what do our readers think?

Martin Lundy-Lester 

Hyundai Kona reader test team

Age 50
Job Estate agent
Drives Fiat 124 Spider, Volkswagen Passat Estate

“I’m keen to ‘electrify’ my business mileage, so I’m thinking of replacing my Fiat 124 Spider with an electric car. Like the Fiat, my next car will be sign-written, so it needs to look professional, smart and modern. It needs to be reliable, too, which I believe Hyundais to be.

“I’m not totally convinced about the styling’s quirky angles and lines. The Kona isn’t too outlandish inside, though, and it feels really well built, from quality materials. Access is easy, too, and that’s important because I’m frequently in and out of my car for work.

“I love the physical buttons under the infotainment screen; they seem like they’ll be easy to use while driving. The gear selector behind the steering wheel is rather low down, though; I worry that I’d accidentally knock it with my knee.

“I’m very impressed with the 319-mile official range. That would be enough for my normal working week after charging the battery at the weekend, or for me to drive from West Sussex to visit family in Cheshire, without having to stop to recharge on the way.”

Star rating 4/5

Jon Kaye 

Hyundai Kona reader test team

Age 67
Job Freelance broadcast journalist
Drives Ford Ecosport, Renault Zoe

“I’ll be replacing my Renault Zoe next year and I’m interested to see if the Kona Electric is a viable option. In fact, my wife and I might downsize to a single car, getting rid of our Ecosport, so I’m also keen to find out whether the hybrid version of the Kona could be a suitable replacement for both cars.

“I’m impressed with the 65kWh Kona’s 319-mile official range; it’s much better than my Zoe’s. On a recent trip from Hertfordshire to Lancashire, we decided to take the petrol Ecosport in case we had problems charging the Zoe en route; that wouldn’t have been an issue if we had the Kona.

“I like the fact that the Kona looks distinctive without being too radical. I also like that it has nice, chunky door handles instead of the pop-out levers that are on some new cars – particularly electric ones – and don’t seem like they’d be very durable.

“My son has a Hyundai i20 and he’s never had any problems with it. That reliability, and the fact that the brand gives you a five-year warranty, is reassuring.

“My only concern is the price, because the Kona Electric costs quite a bit more than the petrol and hybrid versions of the car.”

Star rating 4/5

Steve Joice

Hyundai Kona reader test team

Age 61
Job Retired
Drives MG HS

“I was keen to see the Kona because I’m starting to plan my next new car purchase. It’ll be either a hybrid or an electric car of similar size to my MG HS.

“I like the Kona’s interior design, and I think the materials used inside are of great quality; all the controls feel good and solid. I like the upright driving position, too. The specification of the car we looked at was excellent; features such as its wireless phone charging are really handy.

“I’m a golfer, and I won’t buy a car unless its boot is big enough to take my clubs. However, I still want a fairly compact car, and the Kona’s boot would work for me.

“I’m also impressed by how much passenger space there is. I’m 6ft 1in tall and there’s enough room for somebody of similar height to sit behind me when I’m in the driver’s seat.

“The futuristic design of the exterior looks great; the pixelated lights and colour scheme remind me of a spaceship. I think the rear indicators are too low down, though; they might not be easy for other drivers to see."

Star rating 4/5

Richard Piper

Hyundai Kona reader test team

Age 69
Job Retired
Drives BMW i3, Renault Megane E-Tech

“Having owned EVs since 2014, I have an interest in how the technology has developed and moved into the mainstream, so I was keen to see the latest Kona.

“The Kona ’s interior quality seems absolutely fantastic. It's A real step up from the previous model, and it compares well with some premium models I’ve driven. It ’s almost as good as an Audi’s, and I’d say it was well ahead of Volkswagen’s.

“Interior space is better than before, too. I’m 6ft 2in and I have enough head and leg room in the back seat, and it is wide enough to accommodate three people sitting side by side.

“I like the texture of the seat material and the fact that it ’s patterned; that should prevent it from getting as grubby as light coloured plain leather can.

“The infotainment system and controls are superb. A lot of electric cars make you rely on the touchscreen, but the Kona puts frequently used functions on a row of buttons, which you can use without having to take your eyes off the road for very long.

My only concern is how the headlights and rear lights are right at the corners of the car. This could make them vulnerable to knocks from other vehicles.”

Star rating 4/5

John Dillon

Hyundai Kona reader test team

Age 69
Job Retired
Drives Hyundai Kona

“My Hyundai Kona is nearly five years old and I am considering replacing it, so I am very interested in seeing the new generation. There are actually six Hyundais in my family, including an i20N, a Getz and a Tucson.

“The new Kona ’s infotainment graphics are a big step up from the Tucson’s; the menus are easier and quicker to navigate, and you don’t have to use the touchscreen for everything.

“There are some thoughtful touches: four people can charge their phones, each using one of the USB-C sockets, and there's a control to move the front passenger seat to make access to the rear easier, such as when you’re fitting a child seat. Placing the electronic handbrake on the dash close to the driver’s window makes it easy to reach, too.

“I had an early Renault Zoe and its range of 80-90 miles wasn’t enough – and that dropped to 60 miles in the winter. So, I’m pleased to hear this one will officially manage up to 319 miles.

“The new Kona has a lot more space in the back than the previous model, and its boot is usefully large r. The only thing I’m not sold on is the front end styling. Car makers don’t seem to have got to grips with how to deal with the grille area on EVs.”

Star rating 4/5

Stuart Chamberlain

Hyundai Kona reader test team

Age 47
Job Head of B2B and partnerships
Drives Jaguar I-Pace

“I'm a fan of electric cars and have been impressed with recent offerings from Genesis, Hyundai and Kia. I’m now looking to change my Jaguar I-Pace for something more practical, with more interior space and with a faster charging speed.

“The Kona has a smaller battery and a faster charging time than the I-Pace, and that suits me; my car takes up to two hours to fully charge at its fastest rate, and that’s too long when I’m part-way through a journey. I’d expect the 65kWh Kona to have a real-world range of 250 miles, and that’d be enough for me.

“When it comes to styling, Hyundai has tried to make the Kona look different, and I think it looks great.

“The feeling of quality inside is really good, and the controls and other gadgets appear to have been very well thought out. There’s loads of interior space, too. In fact, I was rather surprised; it doesn’t look all that big from the outside, but there’s plenty of room for four adults.

“It ’s also sensible that there’s a separate compartment in the front boot for the charging lead. This means I wouldn’t need to rummage under the boot floor for it, or have to put a wet cable in with my luggage.”

Star rating 4/5

Mark Candler

Hyundai Kona reader test team

Age 62
Job Financial adviser
Drives BMW X5, Volkswagen Golf GTI

“I test drove the previous Kona and was impressed, but not enough to buy it, so I’m curious to see if the latest version has upped its game. My BMW X5 is a plug-in hybrid; I’ve not yet switched to a pure electric car, because I’ve had concerns about range, but I think the 65kWh version of the Kona would have enough range for me.

“I ’m not blown away by the exterior styling, especially the front end, which is rather bluff and not very pretty. The cover for the charging port feels rather flimsy, too; I’d be worried that it might not last.

“Stepping inside, all the controls and switches feel really well built. I like how the side-by-side screens for the driver ’s display and infotainment look, and the steering wheel’s leather rim feels like it ’s of good quality, but the short, stubby gear selector might take some getting used to.

“Overall, I really like the car, and the fact that prices start at well under £40,000 means it ’s good value for a full EV. It feels like a much more expensive model.”

Star rating 4/5

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Hyundai Kona Electric review >>

More reader test teams >>

Buy a new car with What Car?

Like the sound of the Hyundai Kona Electric?

If so, check out the latest Hyundai Kona deals available through our free New Car Deals service.

Our network of What Car? approved dealers use our Target Price discounts (the most our mystery shoppers think you should pay) as the basis for their savings.

Also consider