With a range of 415 kilometres, Hyundai’s Kona Electric is a Game Changer

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By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The new 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Vehicle (EV) is drawing a lot of attention. For a start it kills any inkling of range anxiety once and for all — with its all-electric range of 415 kilometres it’s theoretically possible that you may need to recharge the battery just once a week. Under ideal driving conditions with lots of regenerative braking, close to 500 kilometres would be tantalizingly close. The Kona EV is a pure electric vehicle- not a hybrid. There is charging port and that’s it. No gas to worry about forever! The Kona Electric is powered by a 150kW electric motor with a single speed Shift by Wire transmission and a 64-kWh lithium-ion battery — that can be charged overnight from a home outlet. There is 201 horsepower and, an impressive 291 lb.-ft. of torque that allows the Kona to accelerate very quickly.

The Kona look really cool, with its neat smart design, and equipment levels are excellent across the board, there is: rear sonic parking sensors, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane departure warning as standard equipment. The Luxury and Ultimate version as tested add lane keep assist, autonomous braking with pedestrian detection and -driver alert system —part of Hyundai’s Smart Sense package. The top Ultimate model also offers as standard: AWD, Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Lane Change Assist (LCA). Proximity Keyless Entry with Push-Button Ignition, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection and Lane Keeping Assist and a heated steering wheel are also offered. The full-load, no-options needed, ultimate model offers ($51,999) also adds leather seats which are cooled up front, an 8-inch display screen, an Infiniti audio system and more. auto high-beam lighting as found in very high end premium cars.

Interior wise, the Kona’s cabin offers a smart nicely crafted look. No gloomy black cabin here, Instead the interior is light colored with nice metal trim. With enough room for four adults or five at push, there are comfortable seats and good visibility. Everything looks well finished, durable, and well put together. The Ultimate model gets the larger 8 inch hi-res touch-sensitive infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay- and Android Auto- integration. All the usual power and convenience features abound: electric windows, mirrors, cruise control and heated front seats. All models come with rear-view camera, and the top trims offer navigation, wireless phone charging, heads-up display and BlueLink connectivity is standard. There is also a remote engine start/stop, locking/ unlocking and smartphone app tracking with diagnostic capability. No more lost Kona in the multi-level parking lot! Cargo and passenger volume is very impressive with the same gasoline engined capacity- 544 litres behind rear seats; 1,298 litres folded.

On the road, The Kona EVs performance is impressive, peak torque is available instantly, with a 0 – to 100 km/h sprint time of 7.9 seconds. That’s superb performance for an electric car at this price point. Drivers can also tailor the driving experience by using different pre – sets Eco, Eco+, and Normal and Sport driving modes. Eco+ is aimed for maximum driving range and switches off such things as climate control system. Eco which we used most of the time is less severe and allows for a balance of on road speed and battery efficiency, while still allowing such creature comforts as the air conditioning/heater and the heated/cooled seats to be used. Normal and Sport modes meanwhile offer more speed and adds extra feel to the steering. You can also program the four levels of the Kona’s regenerative braking through two steering wheel-mounted paddles. With the battery placed underfloor and giving the Kona a low center of gravity the EV a handles very well, it feels stable, and capable through the corners. Nothing much to complain about. Its serene, comfortable, noiseless driving experience.

To sum up, Hyundai delivers a very exciting CUV that offer the excellent advantage of an all- electric car without the range anxiety, with it 415 plus range. It fun to drive, is fast, unique, and all the technology buyers expect. The Kona is affordable as far as electric cars go and is also eligible for provincial and federal green vehicle incentives. Demand is expected to go through the roof for this EV, so get in there quick!

2019 Hyundai Kona EV Priced from $44, 999 – $51,999). www.HyundaiCanada.ca.