Hyundai Kona Electric Gets The Top Gear Treatment


Useful and usable.

The Hyundai Kona Electric is probably the most highly anticipated all-electric crossover scheduled to land on our shores this year with a price tag within reach of the new-car-buying masses. Ahead of its arrival in the UK, a number of publications have traveled to Norway to give it a bit of a go, and we have to say we are pleasantly surprised by some of the just-published reviews. Especially the one from Top Gear.

You see, time was, the publication wasn’t especially electric vehicle friendly. Its associated television show, then anchored by Jeremy Clarkson, had produced some damning chapters involving the original Tesla Roadster and Nissan LEAF. But, speaking of leafs, the brand seems to have turned over a new one with the departure of Clarkson and company, and so now its Kona Electric review certainly lacks some of the pro-petrol-power bias. But enough history, let’s look at what they have to say.

Right out of the gate it seems they rather like it, calling it usable and useful. That might not sound like the ultimate compliment, but since it seems to match up with Hyundai’s intentions, it’s certainly an acceptable accolade. Of course what makes it so “usable and useful” is the 250-mile range afforded by the 64 kWh battery of their tester (it’s actually rated for 292 miles under the WLTP cycle used in Europe). After scooting about Oslo for over 200 miles, the instrument cluster informed them they still had an additional 125 miles of range left. This bodes well indeed.

Moving on to charging, something that has been seen as a real hassle in the past, the publication puts aside concerns. It points out that few will never run the full distance it’s capable of, though if it did, charging stations have proliferated to the extent that there is little worry of finding one which will give you 80 percent charge in under an hour.

Taking on another old talking point it gets to its performance, noting the 7.2-second 0-to-62 (100 kph) time is equal to that of the Toyota GT86. Not crazy fast compared to some electric vehicles, but hardly a slouch by any means. It does point out that its steering lacks the precision of a properly sorted sports car, but also admits this is not really a deal breaker when it comes to family vehicles.

The wrap up reverts back a bit to the old way of thinking, but still makes a salient point. To the mind of the reviewer, this usable electric crossover might actually save “interesting” petrol-powered vehicles by taking over workaday duties, while leaving weekends and holidays open for their original loves.

Source: Top Gear

Categories: Hyundai

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37 Comments on "Hyundai Kona Electric Gets The Top Gear Treatment"

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“To the mind of the reviewer, this usable electric crossover might actually save “interesting” petrol-powered vehicles by taking over workaday duties, while leaving weekends and holidays open for their original loves.”

Maybe they should work out how many fuel stations with fossil fuels will exist in 20 years if electricity becomes the workaday fuel. Fuel stations are already closing in many parts of Europe and no significant change has happened.

Typical Top Gear – “Nice daily car” but it’s not a …. (insert dream car here).

They didn’t run out Juice this time . ………………….lmao …the frauds !

Yeah, but we’re talking now, in 2018, and at least in the US it’s not possible to seemlessly travel intra city even in a 250 mile range EV. In 18 months it may be, and that’s good news… Electrify America!

Well, you can travel all the way from San Diego all the way to Seattle with an 84 mile range EV, if it uses the CCS plug… A Chevy Bolt 238 mile range EV would also easily make the trip.
The only problem is, most of the chargers north of Sacramento are the 24kW ones, and that means, you will spend a long time waiting for your car to charge.

Yup, I know fast charging stations in the US well, as I follow their development closely. Currently 5 Electrify America locations open and 30 in progress. Around 300 to be operational by the end of next year! Only ultra fast, multiple stall, setups enable seamless convenient travel in a next gen EV.

We did pretty much this trip in our Bolt EV this summer. Bakersfield to Blaine (right on the Canadian border). No problems. Redding has the last 50KW DCFC going north until you hit Salem. That’s about 400 miles. So we had to charge maybe twice each way on the 24KW DCFCs. Not a huge issue, but a bit of a slowdown. It should change for the better when Electrify America stations go in.

This is Top Gear — they are talking UK, not US.

you can already drive from LA to LV in a 90 kWh Tesla Could, years ago even.

Range and Charging sound great on the Kona too… Great Job Kia… Hopefully Bjorn should have his long range race video against his Tesla X posted soon…

His almost 2-hour Kona review was very helpful. For those wanting a 5-door compact crossover with decent range. it is a nice product from an established manufacturer (with full US tax credit eligibility).

It will be interesting to see how this product compares to the larger range Nissan Leaf.

Decent range? It had better range than his Model X.

His handle says it all…

I thought all trolls sleep in the same bed… i guess not.

By decent range, I believe he was suggesting the range is good, which it is, of course. One could as easily say the range in the Model X is decent as well.

Kona has much better efficiency then the Leaf


Not that much inside cities. On the road the king continues to be Ioniq (battery size aside). It is much lighter and aerodynamic

As expected. Ioniq is still efficiency king though.

But over 500 km at a constant 90 km/h was slightly better than I expected. I wonder, despite the real-world irrelevance, how far it can go in a record-setting attempt..? 50 km/h or possibly even less is probably optimal, so it would be a very boring record to set, but I think 750 km is well within reach, and maybe, in extremis, even a round 1000!

this will be a good car. Hyundai and Kia are solving the right problems at the right time… and will be players. the IONIQ is an epic good eV.

Yeah, they have some really decent EVs at a very good price point… Too bad they are compliance cars, impossible to buy in many places.

Go buy one then…. if you can.

Ioniq, 198 US sales through June is more of an imaginary EV.

“…a price tag within reach of the new-car-buying masses”

Yes, but not *volume* for the masses. Hyundai/Kia aren’t taking the US EV market seriously. I may never even see one of these in the wild.

You will if you’re in aCARB state

Move to a progressive nation. The US isn’t taking EV seriously…

I meet many Ioniq EVs on the road every day. (Occasionally even a PHEV one, but it’s comparatively rare and of course not desirable.)

yup, I got the 2018 Leaf S since I didn’t want to wait for a car in such low supply that paying under MSRP wasn’t probably going to happen (I got out the door $1500 under MSRP, plus 0% 72 mo loan which is good for another $4000 or so in my IRAs) . . . plus TBH not sure how much another 20kWh is worth to me given 40kWh is perfectly adequate now.

Jeremy Clarkson always got criticized on ev sites such as this one. I actually found his review of My Roadster quite accurate, including any faults or issues he had with the car. In fact he was much more accurate than commentary here. I liked to hear the pluses and minuses, since it made me more confident I made the right decision to purchase the car, knowing more about the performance of the car after watching the Top Gear Episode. Why Musk thought he could win a lawsuit (he lost both times he tried) is beyond me, since I found Jeremy’s criticisms more or less valid. It is true Top Gear’s legal strategy was to simply call the show ‘Entertainment’, and argue the case on that basis – since that avoids getting into technical minutia which could end up costing a fortune trying to prove their point, so arguing the case on an ‘entertainment’ basis was the cheapest way to do it, and most effective. Hey, it worked twice for them so I can’t knock it. Clarkson’s temper got the better of him, and with zero tolerance these days, he’s gone. My only slight criticism was of the ‘slow recharging rate’.… Read more »

I know someone who worked in Tesla communications from that time who, just yesterday, went on a bit of a rant about that. People in the company were really upset with how they portrayed the car with that whole running out of juice and needing to be pushed when, in fact, it hadn’t.
Here’s a link to a piece in the NYT about it from back then.

It’s like the bit with the 3 wheel Robin Reliant toppling over at every corner and having to be pushed back on its wheels by passers by. No one takes it literally.

Yeah Mr. Yoney, but my point is the car would have run out when they said it would.

Even IEV’s stated “We All Know a Tesla Roadster will go over 58 miles”. Hahaha! WE do?? I owned a Roadster at the time, and the full answer is, Who is driving it? If you drove it like some people do on a test drive, the EPA 244 miles will drop to under 60. The writer here quite obviously did not know that, but if he had asked me I would have set him straight.

The fact that TopGear ‘simulated’ the outage in no way compromised the true statements they were telling. I was quite satisfied it was a balanced review, other than I thought the charging complaint was a bit of a nit-pick.

Instead of a Kona and an “interesting” weekend car, just get a Model 3.

The Kona is a good entry into the EV market, but I had been hoping it would be AWD. Or at least offer the option. But as a FWD EV, my preference would be for the Bolt. Which is a little quicker, and has more cargo room.

The ICE Kona is advertised to have 113 cu ft. of interior volume, which is slightly higher than that of the Bolt (111 cu ft.). I am not quite certain how this is possible, because the Bolt is a couple of inches taller and its nose it very short, making more room for the cab.

I know for sure that inside the Bolt is very roomy and it swallows a very large amount of stuff … that said, I did remove the foam inserts from the trunk and set up 2-level storage compartment.

Nothing wrong with the Bolt (I am an owner) but if there is a similar option in CUV format then I am willing to consider. No HUD, and ACC on the Bolt, but still a lot to like. Long live competition!

Top Gear, like this publication and any other, to some extent caters to its audience. TG’s audience is wide, but the hard core is without a doubt those viewers who call themselves petrolheads. Readers of the magazine are basically all in that category, unlike viewers of the TV show. Like most fandom cultures it’s a conservative lot. Noise and vibration, the stench of fuel, being able to service the car oneself – these are all pluses in their book. And that’s fine. Electric cars are different in these respects (although much of the self-serviceability is long lost anyway), and there’s nothing wrong with liking the old fossil burners. They’ll come round, probably. It’s either that, or petrolheadedness is itself going extinct (it needs renaming of course!). It may well be the latter, especially if fleets of autonomous cars become a reality anytime soon. There is a subculture of people who are passionate about commercial airliners and know about the differences between an Emirates 747-NNN and a Qatar one. But they’re certainly not many enough to create a popular tv show around (thankfully)… KONA seems very much as expected. Tesla-Bjørn published his first test drive quickly, and I’ve been a little… Read more »

have a 2017 kia soul 104 range,, im 6ft 4 inch 290 lbs, will i fit into da kona ev. da soul is ultra comfortable my daily driver also. i luv its roomy insides. a nu higher range soul ev is being produced. im not driving in a coffin