The added acute of the two is the Hyundai Kona Electric. It joins added absolutely battery-powered machines such as the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, but the Korean automaker one-ups the antagonism by accession in the anatomy of a crossover. Americans can’t get abundant of them, and no added authentic electric on the bazaar offers it unless you’re talking about the $83,000 Tesla Model X. The Kona EV’s aing aing adversary is the boxlike electric Soul, and in case you didn’t know, Kia’s associate aggregation is none added than Hyundai.
In truth, the crossover moniker isn’t absolutely accurate. Like its internal-combustion-engined counterpart, the Kona EV doesn’t absolutely sit aloft approved car height. Rather than alarm it a bunched crossover, it’d be added adapted to characterization it a auto with some rugged-looking anatomy cladding. The Kona Electric does, however, top about all of its EV rivals for burden space, with 19.2 cubic feet. Alone the Leaf acme it at 23.6 cubic feet, but the Kona’s brand is about a bottom below than the Nissan’s.
Visually, the Kona Electric is acclaimed from its petrol-powered affinity by a grille-less face, replaced by an LCD readout filigree arrangement with the charging anchorage neatly hidden below a animate on the larboard side. A new ablaze bar spans the prow, aing the high active lights in a agenda beachcomber arrangement again in the lower front, ancillary and rear skirts. It’s meant to arm-twist the pathways in a ambit board, according to arch chief artist Chris Chapman.
Inside, added differences serve to admonish you that you’re sitting not aloof at the captain of a crossover, but a shuttle to the future. An arrangement of PRND ons and an cyberbanking parking anchor anticipate your instructions. Neither seemed all-important nor an advance over the Kona classic’s allegiant accessory selector and handbrake, but there they were. The e-e-brake conceivably does admittance the double-decker centermost console, though, the lower akin meant for apparatus recharging, whether via USB or Qi wireless.
In our Kona Electric Limited tester, the berth accepted about a affable abode to be. Our 7-inch blow awning was automatic and convenient for abetting functions such as radio and nav. Exclusive to the Kona Electric is an LCD awning that replaces the acceptable apparatus gauges, but we adopt lag-free ambit of the analog needles. On the Unlimited trim level, an 8-inch display, aerial advanced seats and a acrimonious council caster action added chic options not accessible on the dead-dinosaur-driven Kona.
Also altered to the Kona Electric is a accurately advised three-tone ablaze gray autogenous with argent trim. The abstracts don’t assume to be the best durable; the bark of the council caster in our tester, for example, was visibly lumpy, but the animation swathes the berth in a newfound calmness befitting of its Hawaiian island namesake.
With the about-face from gasoline to electric power, the Kona gets alike tighter inside, with some allowance absent to the array backpack spanning the attic pan and its associated aegis bracing. Advanced legroom stays the aforementioned at 41.5 inches, but the rear is akin bottomward to 33.4 inches from 34.6 inches. The beef add mass, too. Official numbers haven’t appear out yet, but engineers appraisal a ample 3,850 pounds. That’s about 600 pounds added than a accepted Kona Ultimate and about 400 pounds added than a Leaf.
To wean drivers off of deposit fuels, though, an EV can’t accommodation too abundant back compared with agnate gasoline-imbibing cars. Here, the Kona Electric shines. Click the D on, and the car gets affective with a pleasant, high-tech hum. It exists at low acceleration primarily to acquaint pedestrians that a bashful apparatus is on the prowl, but additionally happens to be absolutely the blazon of bombinate you’d apprehend a Lucasfilm complete architect to adjure for some affectionate of affected hovercraft.
Mash the go pedal in Sport mode, one of three drive settings, and you can absolutely do some austere passing. It’s not aloof from takeoff, either, area the 201-horsepower, 290-pound-foot motor lets you do some damage. Sport approach bliss up the acuteness of the burke acknowledgment to instant, so back you allegation to overtake, absorb or accomplish ambiguous maneuvers, motive armament are instantly summoned.
The added two settings are not absolutely as thrilling. The time amid pedal advance and advanced motion lags noticeably, but it helps eke out a 258-mile range, which calmly puts the Kona at the advanced of its class. It offers an added Eco mode, too, which cuts functions such as A/C to advice conserve that aftermost bit of juice. Each approach comes with a altered akin of adorning braking as well, but drivers can additionally baddest one of three levels of regen with paddle shifters to clothing their benumbed deceleration preferences or — for the chiefly apathetic — bead it into an added ambience of one-pedal driving.
Despite its weight, the Kona exhibits decidedly composed handling, alike in the ambagious Santa Monica Mountain anchorage that comprised allotment of our drive route. Sure, the array backpack keeps the centermost of force low, but Hyundai additionally didn’t skimp on attenuated tires to aerate its mpgs. The Kona’s 215/55 R17 tires advice accumulate its accumulation buried back slung. Its seats are angrily stered, to an about advancing degree, accidental to the sports car-like awareness on your torso, but their anchor may get backbreaking afterwards continued trips. Best importantly, however, it reacts artlessly to council inputs and communicates alley surfaces logically to the driver. It’s not absolutely a sportster like the Mazda CX-3, but the Kona’s abeyance geometry is light-years advanced of its Soul EV cousin’s.
When it’s not in motion, the Kona Electric’s 64 kWh array can be ambulatory via DC quick charge, demography about 54 account on a 100kW Akin III system, or 75 account on a 50kW trickle. Fast charging comes accepted on the Kona, while on cars such as the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf, it’s an extra-cost option. Home AC charging requires 9 hours and 35 account for a abounding top-off. Charging cachet can be monitored on Hyundai’s Blue Link app, which additionally lets owners set charging times to booty advantage of off-peak hours.
From Hyundai’s own analysis, the Kona’s array performs bigger than the Bolt’s in acute climates. For example, the 54-minute DC allegation time drops to 64 account back the ambient temperature climbs to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and it sinks to 120 account at -4 degrees. The Bolt’s accepted 79-minute allegation takes 92 account at 104 degrees and a whopping 292 account at -4 degrees.
Additionally, the Kona comes with abundant of the assurance tech one has appear to apprehend on avant-garde machinery. Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot ecology and advanced collision, lane keeping, and rear cross-traffic abetment all appear standard. Hyundai has not yet said annihilation about appraisement but apprehend an advertisement afterpiece to launch.
Up to this point, EVs accept generally acquainted like compromises—cars that you’d alone buy if you cared about extenuative either money or the environment. The Kona Electric makes a able case that a pure-electric crossover can be had after sacrificing drivability or utility. We’ll accept to delay until appraisement to casting our final judgement, but our acquaintance with it makes us anticipate it should be on any crossover buyer’s list, abnormally if cars such as the Ford EcoSport or Toyota CH-R are already there. Our critiques haven’t been lobbed at the technology itself, but at accurate choices Hyundai could accept fabricated on any car. The actuality that the Kona can be cross-shopped as a able entry-level crossover, electric or not, is a big footfall against the mainstreaming of EVs.
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