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First Drive

First Drive: Hyundai Kona

The story: Hyundai’s electric Kona has received a mid-life refresh, the most obvious effect of which is the sharper nose.
Key rival:Kia e-Niro
Efficiency:Range 189 miles
On sale:Now

The Hyundai Kona Electric, one of the pioneers of the recent switch to EV power, has actually been around for a while, so it has reached mid-life refresh time.
Engineering changes are kept to a minimum, with the powertrain choice of 64kWh or 39kWh battery size remaining unchanged, giving the same options of 300-mile or 189-mile range respectively. The smaller battery is available on the lower SE Connect and Premium trim levels, and the larger on the Premium and Ultimate trims.
First Drive - October 2021 - Hyundai Kona - Image 1The Premium is the only one with significant spec changes, thanks to the addition of LED headlamps, heated front seats and steering wheel, blind spot collision avoidance and rear cross-traffic avoidance to the standard kit list. But equipment is good across the range, and post-grant changes to the pricing mean the entry electric Kona driven here costs less than £28,000 once the Government grant is taken into account. Pricing was cut across the range to get the 64kWh version of the Premium trim level under the new £35,000 plug-in car grant threshold, making it the grant-eligible car with the largest official range figure.
What is more significantly changed is the styling, with the new closed grille, which differentiates it from the petrol and hybrid versions, and headlamps creating a much sharper front end and making a clear step away from the pre-facelift car. There’s also new painted wheelarch cladding and revised rear lamps, as well as new alloy wheel designs, for anyone paying close attention.
First Drive - October 2021 - Hyundai Kona - Image 7The Kona offers decent interior space, a cabin that’s clean and functional while also having a decent level of material quality, and a sensible touchscreen infotainment system that’s easy to navigate.
Performance is good, especially with the EV surge of acceleration from a standstill, and official figure of 189 miles seems to be not too far from what’s achievable with some eco-focused driving, and the electric systems seems to be among the more efficient on the market.

paul barker



The verdict

Nice update brings styling changes and extra kit, while the driving experience and efficiency are good. As, obviously, are the BiK, company NI and overall fuel cost benefit.