Hyundai Kona Electric Versus Nissan LEAF


A veritable (Faraday) cage match.

First mover advantage. It’s something Nissan should be enjoying in the economical electric vehicle space, considering it launched the LEAF at the tail end of 2010. Just last year Nissan introduced the 2nd generation of that pioneering hatchback. Now that other companies are launching similarly-priced battery-powered vehicles, the Japanese automaker should have a technical advantage, right? Well, let’s see how it stacks up against this exceptional newcomer, the Hyundai Kona Electric.

This all-electric version of the Hyundai Kona is already stalking the streets of the UK, so British publication Auto Express had the opportunity to do a little comparison. Their findings should have some relevance here in the U.S., even though they are putting up the version of the new crossover with the smaller 39 kWh battery. Besides having similar pack sizes — the LEAF sports a 40 kWh battery — their prices in the UK are separated by only 520 British pounds ($665). To be precise, the MSRP of the base Kona Electric is 27,370 pounds ($34,987) while the LEAF MSRP is slightly higher at 27,890 pounds ($35,652).

Starting with performance, it seems the LEAF has an edge. Auto Express puts the Nissan’s output at 148 British horsepower (the automaker pegs it at 147 hp), while the Hyundai bows at 134 bhp. This power gap expresses itself in 0-to-60 acceleration, with the LEAF easily winning this contest at a spritely 7.8 seconds and its competitor lagging at 8.6 seconds.

When it comes to electric vehicle performance, it isn’t always about the speed, but rather the efficiency, since that impacts the all-important range. Here, the Hyundai enjoys a considerable advantage. It gets 4.5 miles per kWh while the LEAF is less efficient at only 3.6 miles per kWh. Their respective ranges amplify this divide. Expressed using the WLTP European standard, the LEAF is rated at 168 miles, while the Kona Electric impresses at 194 miles.

Of course, cars generally are all about driving and livability. The reviewers weren’t all that impressed with either of the two — it did enjoy the e-pedal system of the LEAF — when it came to on-road dynamics saying,

In truth, neither model is that enjoyable to drive, but the Kona has just enough agility and steering response so that it darts keenly into corners as long as you’re conservative with your speed.

Interestingly, though the Kona Electric is a crossover, it still didn’t have the storage space in the back like the LEAF. And while that may move the needle toward the electric pioneer, its infotainment system was said to be inferior to that in the Korean car.

Taking all the factors into account, Auto Express gives the edge to the Hyundai Kona Electric. It found the crossover to have a slightly better quality interior with more passenger roominess. The extra range sealed the deal.

These are all elements that can be tweaked, so it will be interesting how the big battery versions of these match up after the 60 kWh version of the LEAF is released next year.

Source: Auto Express

Categories: Hyundai, Nissan

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26 Comments on "Hyundai Kona Electric Versus Nissan LEAF"

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Bhp is not British horsepower.

lol… I thought it was a joke about the slight difference between the European unit “PS” vs “hp.”

They been brexiting since Hastings:)

Those Clever Korean Horses Are Efficient !…….. lol.. 🙂

I have had the 40kwh Leaf since March and now the Kona EV 60kwh since beginning of November. I have documented my first impressions and also compared them a bit but not so much on spec level, more what I liked and now miss or what is better with the Kona (besides range of course)

German blog, but google translate is fine enough:

Sorry for my silliness, but how do I transfer your German blog into Google translate?

When you press the link , at the bottom of the page you should have the option of German or English

you just visit and enter the URL of my blog and then click translate. Or use google chrome as browser which has the translation feature built-in

It’s the first review that I’ve read that says “neither model is that enjoyable to drive”. I say bollocks to that.

One major never-mentioned favourite carmakers’ myth that the Kona and Niro eSUVs demolish is that EVs need to be a whole new, specially designed breed of vehicle – the public obviously couldn’t care less that the Kona EV is an adaptation-conversion of an existing ICE car – just as they didn’t care at all when Toyota launched its original, very popular RAV4 EV conversion 21 years ago. Over the past few years major carmakers like VW, Ford, BMW etc have used this “we have grand future EV plans” to avoid delivering in the present tense – unlike Toyota in 1997 and Hyundai – to much acclaim – in 2018, now.
Unsurprisingly no-one is pleading with Hyundai to copy VW et al and to …”Please deliver nothing to showrooms now ! Please instead promise 10-20-30(whatever) all-new electric cars for the year-after-the-yawn after-manana!” or “Boo! – we don’t want ICE to EV conversions, adaptations !”.
Paul G

You would have a point, if Hyundai sold more units than VW today. That’s not the case, at least not in Europe where the electric golf has decent sales.

It isn’t just carmaker’s myth. The public does care because of the end result.
Toyota’s “very popular” Rav4 EV sold how many copies? What competition did it have?
From this side of the pond, no conversion has sold in significant numbers. PHEVs have done ok – but usually with horrible trunk space – ie the Fords.
Now – there are platforms designed for multiple fuel sources – the Honda Clarity comes to mind and that works well. But otherwise stuffing batteries into a compartment designed for an engine leads to weight distribution problems.
The Kona was presumably designed like the Clarity. That is designed to be a car with multiple fuel sources. It debuted just 16 months ago.
So calling the Kona EV an “adaption-conversion of an existing ICE car” is most likely inaccurate. Hyundai says it was designed as an EV from the ground up.

I want an affordable long range ev. I don’t care about autopilot or self parking. Leave that for Tesla buyers. Let me have a $25k ev that can go 220 miles.

Yea Edward , but then you can’t Show 0ff to your Friends and say., “Look At Me Or Watch This ” ……. lol …. 🙂

Bragging is really good for nothing at the end of the day, I am with Edward in this and I couldn’t agree more, I want to be in year 2020, god knows what models will be released from all kinds of different car makers

To be precise, the MRSP of the base Kona Electric is 27,370 pounds ($34,987) while the LEAF MRSP is slightly higher at 27,370 pounds ($35,652).

Except that isn’t very precise now is it.

Maybe the author calculated the exchange rate on different days!

Don’t you have the ££££££ symbol on US keyboards? We have the $$$$$$$$$$$ in the UK, but not the Euro €€€€€, which must be googled.

Your article mentions a price difference, but you’ve quoted the same starting price for both vehicles.

This article completely left out the one feature that makes all the difference, Autopilot. I’ve been driving the new Leaf since May and I cannot stress how much of a game changer Autopilot has been. It’s literally taken my stress levels while driving down about 90%. I now hate driving any other vehicles, except Teslas.

I would strongly advise everybody looking to buy to consider the Kona just because of the superior battery technology and liquid thermal management. If you are leasing then it won’t matter as much.

Look at the dimensions especially height. If Kona with a height of 61″ is a crossover, then Leaf with a height of 61.6″ is also a crossover. After all both are 5 door vehicles. The qualification for crossover has just changed. Leaf is sold worldwide while Kona is a compliance car in many countries, I would go with Leaf. Hope they launch the 60 KWh version and TMS.

Hyundai Kona: 164″ L x 71″ W x 61″ H
Nissan Leaf: 176″ L x 71″ W x 61.6″ H

The AWD gas version of the Kona can conceivably be called a crossover or CUV. But the Kona EV has less ground clearance and only offers FWD. It’s not really a CUV.

The Kona and Niro are clearly just standard hatchbacks. Kia calls the Soul a “crossover”, too. It’s pure marketing nonsense.

Cant wait for GM to announce the production dates for their new EV AV vehicles.

THE BELOW NEEDS TO BE ADJUSTED. the MRSP of the base Kona Electric is #27,370#pounds ($34,987) while the LEAF MRSP is slightly higher at #27,370# pounds ($35,652). BITH ARE SAKE PRICE IN pounds

Fixed. Thank you.