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Used test: Hyundai Kona Electric vs Vauxhall Mokka-e vs Volkswagen ID 3
With savings of around £10,000 off new, each of these two-year-old electric cars could be considered incredibly tempting buys. Which is best deserving of esteem, though? We find out...
Hyundai Kona Electric 39kWh Premium
List price when new £31,800
Price today £21,000
Available from 2018-present
The Kona Electric's 2021 facelift included a restyled front end and updated interior
Vauxhall Mokka-e 50kWh Elite Nav Premium
List price when new £34,580
Price today £21,000
Available from 2020-present
The biggest discount off new, so does the Mokka-e represent good value or concerning depreciation?
Volkswagen ID 3 58kWh Pro Performance Life
List price £33,790
Price today £24,000
Available from 2020-present
The priciest car here, but the ID 3 has the largest battery and longest range
*Price today is based on a 2021 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
Consider this the Goldilocks special of used electric car group tests, because these three models are right in the middle in terms of size and price, so you very well might find them just right. And that's even taking into account that they technically belong to different classes, the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Mokka-e (now called the Vauxhall Mokka Electric) being electric SUVs while the VW ID 3 is an electric family car.
This all means that, even when you look to the centre of the battery powered spectrum, you'll find that different tastes are accounted for. We'll let you decide which design best suits you, though.
But before you solidify your overall favourite, please allow our trio to strut their stuff. Here we have everything you need to know on all three cars, as well as which of these two-year-old buys is best. Electric cars, start your motors.
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
The ID 3 has the most powerful electric motor and, unsurprisingly, this comes in handy when you plant your right foot. Accelerate hard away from a standstill and the ID 3 and Kona will be neck and neck to 30mph, both feeling quite spirited, but thereafter the ID 3 romps away with an impressive 0-60mph time of 6.7sec – not far off what the Ford Fiesta ST can do. The Kona takes just over a second longer to hit 60mph – still a perfectly respectable time and well ahead of the Mokka’s 8.6sec effort.
On the other hand, while the Mokka is easily the slowest from a standing start, it isn’t too dissimilar to the Kona if you go to overtake a slower car or join a motorway. Once again, though, the ID 3 has the advantage.
On a twisty country road, the ID 3 impresses with its agility, too. Its steering is precise and builds weight reassuringly as your speed and the cornering forces increase. Body lean is kept well in check, and there’s enough grip and composure to make it relatively good fun to drive.
The Kona isn’t bad, either, staying pretty upright when you thread it through tight turns and feeling almost as agile. Mid-corner bumps knock it off course more readily than they do the ID 3, though, and it can be a touch unruly coming out of slow corners; the steering wheel tends to tug in your hands under hard acceleration as the motor’s grunt tries to overwhelm the front tyres’ traction.
Even so, the Kona is preferable to the Mokka, which doesn’t have enough power to get the steering wheel writhing in your hands but still suffers kickback through the wheel over bumps. Otherwise, it steers accurately enough, but try pressing on and it has the most lean in bends and runs out of grip and composure the soonest. There isn’t a lot of enjoyment to be found in driving it quickly through the twisties.
The upside of the Mokka’s squishy suspension is a fairly comfortable ride. It’s a settled motorway cruiser and makes a decent fist of smoothing off craggy road surfaces, although potholes and particularly nasty ridges generate a bit of a thud.
Its ride is nowhere near as irritating as that of the overly firm Kona, though. On surfaces that would generate just a little fidget in the Mokka, the Kona bobbles around far more noticeably. Sharper obstacles send a thump through the base of your seat and you feel more road imperfections. It’s the least comfortable car here, while the ID 3 is the cushiest. It isn’t as soft as the Mokka, yet it still soaks up bumps with aplomb. And after a bump, it’s the quickest to recover its composure, so you tend to sway around less on uneven roads.
The ID 3 doesn’t have everything its own way, though. It’s the noisiest of our trio at motorway speeds, mainly due to wind rushing around the windscreen pillars. The Kona isn’t much quieter, producing plenty of wind and road roar, along with a few clonks from its suspension as it tries to iron out the road’s surface.
It’s the Mokka that’s by far the easiest on your ears. You notice more motor whine than you do in the other two at a cruise, but that’s mainly because wind and road noise are so well contained.
The Mokka can also stop in the shortest distance from 30mph and 70mph, but doing so smoothly isn’t at all easy. The feel you get when you hit the brake pedal isn’t consistent, and the car is the least stable in an emergency stop.
The ID 3’s brakes are fine during gentle stops, but at higher speeds the pedal sometimes goes so far down that you’re often not sure whether the car is going to stop as expected – a trait that can be quite unnerving. Don’t get us wrong: the ID 3 stops quickly enough, in a shorter distance than the Kona, in fact, but in terms of consistency and ease of use, the latter’s brakes are actually preferable.
If you’re thinking about buying an electric car, range will no doubt be a key consideration. The ID 3 has the advantage here. Based on its energy consumption around our controlled test route, its real-world range comes in at 191 miles. Despite having the smallest battery, the Kona travelled the next farthest, because it uses its electricity the most efficiently. It managed 153 miles to the Mokka’s 151.
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