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Car Reviews
2023 Review: Hyundai Kona

  
While electric vehicles (EVs) seem like a novelty now, the time will come when everyone has at least one EV in their garage. That model may look a lot like the head-turning 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric.
 
If you’d prefer not to wait, this subcompact all-electric crossover is available today. One of the things I like best about the Kona Electric is its expressive styling that sets it apart without looking odd. It stands out while fitting in.
 
Like the gasoline-powered Kona, the EV version offers lively performance with strong acceleration. A low center of gravity and well-tuned suspension make it easy to drive even on a curvy stretch of asphalt. In short, it’s a small crossover that’s actually fun to drive.
 
On the practical front, the Kona Electric’s powertrain puts out a remarkable 201 horsepower. The EPA estimates the Kona Electric’s range at 258 miles on a full charge.
  
The powertrain incorporates regenerative braking, which is adjustable to allow for one-pedal driving. Besides providing the battery pack with the most recharging (thereby maximizing range), it's convenient—and kind of fun—to be able to come to a complete stop simply by lifting your foot off the accelerator, though it does take some getting used to.
 
Inside, the Kona Electric looks and feels familiar. There’s good room and comfort up front, but the rear seat can feel a little tight for adult passengers. Styling is fresh yet functional, and materials are decent quality for a subcompact.
  
The EV model gives up none of its cargo space to the large battery pack. There’s a suitable 19.2 cubic feet of storage with the rear seats up and 45.8 cubic feet with those 60/40-split rear seatbacks folded forward. A wide-opening rear hatch makes it easier to squeeze in large items.
 
The gasoline-powered Kona gets perfect scores in government crash tests, not a claim all small models can make. While not yet rated, the Kona Electric should also get good marks for occupant protection with its long list of standard advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring.
 
On the technology front, all versions come with a center touchscreen interface; SEL base models get an eight-inch version and six-speaker audio system, while all others get a more satisfying 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation and eight speakers. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity is standard.
 
All those features add up to make the Hyundai Kona Electric a battery-powered car that could happily introduce EVs to a wider public.

 

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STRENGTHS

  • 258-mile range on a full charge
  • Long warranty and complimentary maintenance

WEAKNESSES

  • Back seat is not ideal for adults.
  • Limited cargo space

BOTTOM LINE

  • Zippy, economical and practical. What’s not to like?
     
SAFETY
  • NHTSA Overall: Net yet rated, but the gasoline-powered Kona gets 5 Stars (out of 5), and the electric version will likely get a similar rating.
FUEL ECONOMY (MPGe)
  • 120
PRICE*
 
  • Base Price: $34,000
  • Price As Tested: $42,500

 
*Prices correct at press time; does not include destination charges, taxes or fees. Does not include any available tax rebates.