Road Test: Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate

By Jeremy Taylor

5 months ago

This new EV is perfect for electric newbies


Is 2024 the year to switch to electric? Jeremy Taylor drives the Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate, a perfect starter car for EV newbies.

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Review: Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate

At A Glance

  • PRICE: £43,095
  • ENGINE: 64 kWh single motor
  • POWER: 215bhp 0-62mph 7.9 seconds
  • TOP SPEED: 104mph
  • MAX RANGE: 319 miles
  • STREAMING: Dynamite – BTS

Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate

TOWN

What springs to mind when you think of Korea? K-Pop, kimchi, the Netflix hit Squid Game? Hyundai should be near the top of that list because the company is currently revolutionising car design.

Just take a peep at the new Kona Electric – the mid-size SUV might have been created especially for a Hollywood sci-fi movie. Not Kona the Barbarian, something considerably more stylish. Transformed from a bland runabout into a four-wheeled cyborg, the second-generation model is now suddenly cool and chic.

Unlike the ubiquitous styling of certain car brands – the ones that all look remarkably similar on a forecourt – Hyundai seem determined to design a range of uniquely different models. Maybe that’s why the latest Ioniq 5 and 6 have won World Car of the Year titles back-to-back.

The Kona Electric was also built to turn heads and may reward Hyundai with a hat-trick of wins come April. Check out the wafer-thin lights running across the front and rear, a cabin packed with technology and the impressive battery range. It also benefits from a comforting five-year warranty.

Buyers should expect great value for money and reliability with any Hyundai. Best of all, the new Kona, which starts at £34,940, is a car with proper character. Much more than just A to B, this is an EV designed to put a smile on your face.

RATING: 5/5 HANDBAGS

COUNTRY

The five-door Kona may be sci-fi but it isn’t a flying machine. Performance is more leisurely. Designed as an EV from the ground up, the Hyundai is a silent cruiser, rather than an agile performance car. On a long journey, the ride is relaxed and comfortable.

While the boot is a little small for a family car, the interior is roomy, offering plenty of cubbyhole and storage space. Wireless phone charging, electric seats and a heated steering wheel are available on some models, there’s even a handy, three-pin domestic plug socket in the rear.

The dashboard itself is dominated by a wide, central information screen that controls a multitude of functions. The driver also has the benefit of a head-up display, flashing information onto the windscreen. While the minimalist design is pleasing, build quality isn’t quite the same as an Audi.

Like most new cars, the Kona also has a raft of safety features that may drive some motorists nuts. Most of them, including the speed limit alert, can be switched off but I for one, am not a fan.

Offered with either a 39 or 64 kWh battery pack, the more powerful 215bhp version I drove will realistically cover 260 miles between charges. The charging port is also well-placed in front of the bonnet.

The new Kona isn’t faultless but won’t bamboozle motorists who are considering an EV for the first time. Easy to drive, extremely practical and very spacious inside, this Hyundai really should be on your shortlist.

RATING: 4/5 WELLIES

Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate

hyundai.com