Deep Dive Into Autoweek’s 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric First Drive


Autoweek says the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric has outstanding range and is “beautifully normal.”

We’re seeing a trend here. Practically every first drive of the Hyundai Kona Electric speaks to its normalcy. Autoweek goes so far as to say that it will work to put “another crack in the future of gasoline powered vehicles.” What makes it stand out? Why does is come across as so normal? Let’s dive in deeper and answer these questions.

As we’ve already shared, the Kona Electric features a 65-kWh battery pack that offers 258 miles of EPA-estimated range. This is significant since it tops the Hyundai IONIQ Electric by ~125 miles, the Nissan LEAF by ~100 miles, and even the Chevrolet Bolt EV by about 20 miles. Only Tesla vehicles offer more range than the Kona Electric (and they’re not cheap). To top it off, the Kona gets a rating of 132 mpge from the EPA. Moreover, the battery pack employs an up-to-date temperature management system, however, our own Tom Moloughney learned that, sadly, the battery heating my not make its way into North American models. We can only hope that this news doesn’t prove true.

Autoweek says that while the range still can’t match that of most ICE cars, it’s really a big deal for EVs and is one of the primary reasons the publication (and several others) have resorted to the use of the word “normal” when describing this new entrant. In addition, the Kona Electric’s powertrain cranks out 201 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque, making it a peppy crossover that never feels underpowered. Not to mention the reality that the torque is instant in electric-powered vehicles, which means that most drivers will “feel” every bit of that oomph in typical daily driving.

While like most all EVs, the Kona Electric features regenerative braking, Autoweek says the pedal feels normal. This, added to the fact that you can choose from four different levels of regen based on your personal preference and driving situation. Handling is also “normal,” if not better than the common crossover. This comes as no surprise since most electric vehicles utilize a strategic “skateboard” battery pack placement, which distributes weight evenly throughout the underside of the vehicle. This makes for a low center of gravity that helps keep the car composed around corners. It’s important to note that Autoweek wasn’t impressed with the EV’s tires, but that’s a problem that can be easily resolved.

In terms of the cabin, the Kona Electric provides ample comfort and is really not any different from a typical highly rated subcompact crossover. It offers a respectable amount of second-row passenger space and decent cargo volume. The new small crossover EV also comes packed with a wide array of standard equipment, including a handful of desirable advanced driver assistance technologies, like blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and forward collision avoidance.

In the end, Autoweek suggests that the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric does a fantastic job of showing that electric cars can easily provide what is needed for mass adoption. We can only hope that at some point in the not too far future, EVs like this will be manufactured in larger quantities and become readily available in the U.S. Still, despite people’s criticisms of Hyundai and other companies for holding back these electric vehicle pursuits, this is obviously a great entrant and surely a step in the right direction.

Efforts by Hyundai (and Kia) are obviously much more of a reality than that of other companies that either continue to make announcements with nothing tangible to show (Volkswagen), start a company touting EVs and then fold due to a lack of funding and resources (Faraday Future and Lucid), or bring electric vehicles to market that are simply not up to par and don’t offer much in the way of all-electric range (Mercedes and BMW). We won’t even dive into the newest pure EV offerings like the Jaguar I-Pace or Audi e-tron.

While we as EV fans and supporters want to see these Korean automakers take the plunge much more readily, we shouldn’t discount the fact that they are jumping to the forefront and producing compelling electric vehicles. All in good time … we hope.

Details as reported by Autoweek:

ON SALE: Early 2019

POWERTRAIN: Electric motor, direct-drive with reduction gear, FWD

OUTPUT: 201 horsepower, 290 lb-ft of torque

CURB WEIGHT: 3,850 lbs (est)

FUEL ECONOMY: 132/108/120 mpge
(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
PROS: Excellent range and otherwise beautifully normal

CONS: Holding down a shift paddle to achieve maximum brake regen is annoying and unnecessary

What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Source: Autoweek

Categories: Hyundai


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28 Comments on "Deep Dive Into Autoweek’s 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric First Drive"

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Still no price.

No price. No VINS. No build dates. No delivery dates. Nothing in Canada despite a September 11th letter direct from Hyundai Canada to pre-orderers that we would get “monthly updates” My dealer has also been told nothing. It’s a mess from my end. I really want this car but I’m getting to the end of my tether.

Relax, you have Model3, we in Europe the Kona. Even in high taxed Europe prices start around 45kUSD and keeps up easily 265 Miles in daily use.

EPA certified 132mpge, that is bonkers. That is head and shoulders even above Tesla.

Relax. Combined is 120, pretty much the same as Bolt. Keep in mind that SparkEV is rated worse EPA MPGe as Bolt, yet real world driving result in about 15% better efficiency for SparkEV.

Another interesting thing is Bolt Hwy is 110 vs KonaEV is 108, city is 128 vs 132. Both cars having similar aerodynamics (brick), I suspect Kona is tuned more for city driving.

Today, I have had the chance to see it. I think it’s first EV without compromises, available in EU.

Sit in the backseat first, and then see if you still want it.

How often do you have more than two 6’+ adults in the car at the same time?

New Zealand sold 39 Kona-e last month for a total YTD of 76 units. (4 months of sales Jul – Oct)

Thats a lot for New Zealand, considering they are constrained by supply, and a 20 week wait at least.

Some dealers have stock still on hand, the GST 15% tax is included in any pricing.
For more sales see the link below.

Good to know, Miggy. Thank you. Any discount?

Good article, but a far cry from a “Deep dive”. Insideevs, please don’t abuse this term which has stood for highly detailed, technical information, until now. Thanks.

Hyundai dealers in Northern California are clueless as to when the Kona EV will be available, and suggest that whenever that occurs the car will go on sale for significantly over MSRP and that Southern California will get the priority. Hyundai has designed what appears to be a great product – now please build and deliver them to the entire US in addition to whetting our appetites!

We wait 2 years on Model3, there is still ZERO on the streets…., while in meantime in US the portfolio gets even extended. Hyundai did a good move to fill that need and deliver to EU first

To the best of my knowledge, the Ioniq EV has only been sold in the L.A. area here in CA, USA and in tiny numbers. Maybe, one can hope, Kia will do better with the Niro

Yup back in June I didn’t expect to have any power over the pit boss on the 60kwh LG class’s pricing so I just decided to give back my 2015 Leaf leaser for a 2018 Leaf for ~$6,000 under MSRP + 72mo 0%.

I might need the extra 20kwh a couple times a year but $10,000 less in car payments can pay for a lot of rentals.

Why am I proposing to pay £75K for an e-tron, with highly suspect range a la I-Pace, when this is the total answer to all my commuting needs? Is it pride? Is it my VAG obsession? Is it madness? Think I’ll get my deposit back and wait for a Kona…

NZ$80K with tax of 15% – so sub U$45K?

Compact, not subcompact (this is the 2nd article to get it wrong today).
Size wise, it’s the same class as the Leaf, e-Golf & Bolt. That’s _not_ subcompact.

I really wish you guys could get the straight poop about the battery temperature management system. All we have right now are rumours and I don’t really understand why. Is the battery heated, yes or no?

I can help you with that
We in Europe already drive the KONA EV.
It has liquid cooled Thermal Management.
Heating and cooling.
A „Winter Mode“ for heating up the battery in winter.
I do also have pics of it from Hyundai technical specifications 🙂

I got a price, a delivery date (April) and 4,000€ rebate from the French government! You are in the wrong country!

Just thinking. Is it possible that, with the exception of Tesla, battery shortages are behind EV deliveries? If that is the case it makes a lot of sense to geographically target market what you have.