2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Preview

2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
July 18, 2018

The 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric is the kind of electric vehicle shoppers want: a tall-riding crossover that doesn’t attract too much attention.

The 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric is a step in the right direction.

The battery electric crossover due toward the end of 2018 offers up to 250 miles of range in a tall-riding vehicle: the right range in the right type of car for many shoppers.  

So what’s wrong? Initially, the Kona Electric only will be available in a limited number of states including California and along the East Coast.

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Geographical desirability aside, the Kona Electric borrows most of its looks from the Kona crossover, which went on sale this year. The Kona Electric subs in aerodynamically shaped bumpers and wheels compared to the gasoline-powered Kona, among major powertrain changes.

The effect of the aerodynamic blanking in the front and rear makes the Kona Electric look slightly more wagon-esque and lower to the ground. The deeply sculpted body sides help hide the somewhat-wide 70.9 inches between the wheels, more than many rivals.

Hyundai’s floating roof is tamed on the Kona Electric, as far as we’ve seen the only choices are body-colored roofs, not the wild contrasting look found on the Kona.

Inside, the Kona Electric is all business inside with a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen (or optional 8.0-inch touchscreen) dominating attention on the dashboard. The Kona Electric skips marketing frippery—no sustainably sourced cupholders or vegan radio control knobs to be found.

The Kona Electric instead relies on zero-emission propulsion to attract green-minded buyers. Underhood, it uses a 201-horsepower (150 kilowatt) motor to drive the front wheels only, powered by a 64-kwh lithium-ion battery that provides up to 250 miles of driving range.

According to Hyundai, the Kona Electric can recharge on a Level 3, 100-kw fast charger in less than one hour, or nearly 10 hours on a more common Level 2 charger.

Like the all-wheel drive Kona, the Kona Electric has a four-wheel independent suspension to ride comfortably for up to four adults.

The Kona Electric places its batteries underneath the floor, which makes for a  low center of gravity for a better drive and doesn’t intrude into useable cargo space. Like the Kona, the Kona Electric will seat up to four adults comfortably—five in a pinch—and hold 19.2 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats up, 45.8 cubes with the rear row folded down.

When it goes on sale, the Kona Electric will be available in SE, Limited, and Ultimate trims. All trim levels are equipped with automatic emergency braking, 17-inch wheels, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, blind-spot monitors, heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.

Top-of-the-line Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate versions get leather upholstery, LED headlights, premium audio, wireless cellphone charging, a sunroof, 8.0-inch touchscreen, navigation, power-adjustable driver’s seat, and parking sensors.

Hyundai hasn’t yet announced how much the Kona Electric will cost when it goes on sale later this year.

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