Kona has been extraordinary since it was first released. In the past, the first-generation Kona worked on so many different levels by using the exceptional usability unique to SUVs along with an unforgettably unconventional design. Among them, the Kona Electric, which housed a battery and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine, shocked the domestic automobile market by boasting the longest driving distance in its class. The Kona Electric, which has been chosen by many early adopters since they were not familiar with electric vehicles, has been praised for its excellent practicality as well as excellent efficiency and reasonable maintenance costs.
The All New Kona Electric, which shows a new future-oriented style, inherits the versatility that was the strength of Kona in the past, and at the same time generously incorporates Hyundai Motor Company’s advanced electric vehicle technology. This is a metamorphosis worthy of a ‘rule breaker’.
Even facing the new Kona, the design is still friendly. Its generations have changed, but it still retains its iconic style. The looks of the past have been replaced by new ones, but if you look closely, the unique design features remain intact - like the armor design derived from the wheel arch garnish that gives the impression of wearing armor. This feature is shared by both the old and new models.
Despite sticking to the unconventional style, the new Kona’s design is neither too much nor awkward. The design of the new Kona, developed starting with the electric version of the Kona Electric, is more complete. This is the biggest difference from the existing Kona Electric, which has changed slightly from its internal combustion engine version.
Kona of all lineups boasts great style, but Kona Electric expresses the unique personality and sensibility of electric vehicles through design. Most notable is the pixelated design; The seamless horizon lamps across Kona’s face, the front and rear bumpers, and the thinly stretched tail lamps are packed with small pixels. The garnish of the same color as the car body is also Kona Electric’s unique styling. The simple yet future-oriented styling given by the sleek body stands out.
A comfortable yet neatly arranged cockpit greets the passengers in the driver's seat. The driver-oriented design and control panel allow users to intuitively handle various functions. But even so, the occupants never feel stuck. Thanks to the horizontal layout, the sense of space is excellent both visually and physically. Convenience and safety specifications also transcend its class: a panoramic display that integrates both a 12.3-inch cluster and navigation, and a head-up display (HUD) that projects various information directly onto the windshield rather than a dedicated clear panel. All of them are advanced specifications that are unprecedented in compact SUVs.
The most notable part of the Kona is its practicality. The interior of the Kona is composed of various storage spaces in consideration of user convenience. The storage space that test drivers will feel most comfortable with is the open console. This smart design secures space in the center console with a column-type electronic shift lever, and can be used as a cup holder or open storage space if necessary. In addition, a storage space in the center of the crash pad on the passenger side and a door pocket (cup holder) that can accommodate a 1ℓ-tumbler are housed throughout the cabin space.
In fact, considering the size of a compact SUV like the Kona, the space is focused on the driver’s seat, where the user mainly stays. However, the new Kona has plenty of passenger space. The key is the larger body. The Kona’s wheelbase is 60mm longer than that of its predecessor, increasing rear seat legroom by 77mm. The center tunnel part was removed and the flattened floor made it possible to enjoy long-distance journeys comfortably.
The previous Kona Electric realized the popularization of electric vehicles, and the new Kona Electric expanded the value of electrification. The Kona Electric is optimized by using a platform that was created for EV models from the ground up. Not only that, this model also has improved performance and efficiency; Its PE system was able to reduce volume and weight by integrating electric motors, inverters, and reducers. The new Kona Electric has a maximum output of 150kW and a maximum torque of 255Nm, demonstrating sufficient power performance, and equipped with a 64.8kWh battery, its range in a single charge reaches 417 km, (long range model, based on 17-inch wheels).
On a non-stop trip from Hanam, Gyeonggi-do to Sokcho, Gangwon-do, the Kona showed impeccable driving performance. Right after starting, the powerful torque of the electric motor drove lightly in the city center, and the persistent output continued even on the highway. When overtaking was necessary, its power performance always spurred the road. In addition, the smart regenerative braking system, which automatically adjusts the braking force based on the distance to the vehicle in front or navigation information, and the sophisticated Highway Driving Assist 2 (HDA 2) could not make driving more comfortable.
Compared to the first-generation Kona, the improved ride quality stood out in long-distance test drives. While maintaining the light driving feeling unique to a compact SUV, the irregularities of the road surface are handled skillfully and smoothly. With a fine balance between dynamism and comfort, the Kona’s driving feel has always been reliable, regardless of speed. In addition, the sport mode provides a thrill to the driver by showing a more agile acceleration response.
In the city section, the agile handling characteristics stood out. Although it weighed more than the internal combustion engine model, the heavy battery attached to the lower part of the body made the car very stable. In particular, in the continuous curve section, the combination of tight body and flexible suspension was harmonious. The car responds quickly as the driver intended and reliably secures traction even when turning corners quickly.
Quietness is also an indispensable advantage of Kona Electric. The electric motors that EVs have are quiet, so road and wind noise are relatively prominent; However, Kona emphasized the quietness of electric vehicles by reflecting various specifications to reduce noise, such as floor carpet underpads, sound-absorbing tires, and double-joint sound-insulating windshields.
The new Kona Electric also showed satisfactory results in efficiency, which is the most important value for consumers considering EVs. The Kona Electric long range model has a combined fuel economy of 5.5km/kWh and 5.0km/kWh on the highway. (17-inch wheels, government certified). However, after a real test drive, the Kona recorded 6.5km/kWh, well above standard fuel economy. Considering that there was a lot of high-speed driving, this was a very high fuel efficiency, demonstrating the Kona Electric’s superior efficiency.
A four-hour, roughly 250km-long trip revealed details of the new Kona. It was a considerable distance and time, but it was not enough to reveal all the charms of the Kona Electric. There are many advantages of Kona Electric that only the owners can enjoy - wireless software updates that always keep the vehicle up to date, V2L that supplies power to the outside of the vehicle, and battery conditioning that works in conjunction with the navigation system. Many are looking forward to the future of Kona Electric, which has shown outstanding performance in both the Korean and global markets.
by Jang-won Kim
Photography by Dae-il Choi
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
Pursuant to the Creative Commons License (CCL) 2.0, all users can copy, distribute, and transmit Information available on the Hyundai Motor Group Newsroom, or use it for exhibitions and performances. Please note, however, that all information is protected by copyright. Information users must use the information available on the Hyundai Motor Group Newsroom for strictly private/personal purposes only.HMG Operation Policy