Kona Electric: cutting edge but bleeding expensive

Riley Riley

The electric version of Hyundai’s plastic-clad Kona has lobbed, priced from $59,990 plus on-roads.

That’s $10,000 more than Nissan’s new LEAF electric hatch and a whopping $20,000 more than the top of the line, petrol powered Kona.

That makes it something of a leap of faith for the brand’s growing brand of admirers, some of whom are on their third or even fourth generation Hyundais.

What do you get for $60K?

Well, the new Kona Electric features a more powerful 150kW electric motor with a greater 449km range on a single charge (WLTP).

But, more importantly it’s an SUV at a time when that’s all Australians seem to want when it comes to buying a car.

In contrast, LEAF is the last hatch left in Nissan’s local lineup. Apart from utilities and the GT-R and 370Z sports cars — they’re all SUVs.

Plugged into a 100kW DC fast-charger, Kona Electric can reach 80 percent battery charge in 54 minutes.

In addition, the 7.2kW on-board charger allows battery recharging when plugged into a normal household socket, using the supplied In-Cable Control Box (ICCB).

Kona Electric produces a near-instantaneous 395Nm of torque from its electric motor, providing effortless and surprisingly sporty performance, with a 0-100km/h time of 7.6 seconds.

Kona Electric is offered in Elite and Highlander model grades, each with the same high-output, long-range electric drivetrain.

Both get Hyundai’s SmartSense safety package as standard with Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go and Driver-Attention Warning (DAW).

There are also Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) and Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) systems, the latter including Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW.

An 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone interfaces, as well as Bluetooth for phone calls and streaming audio.

The multimedia unit features 8-speaker Infinity premium audio, with a subwoofer and external amplifier, plus DAB+ digital radio.

The Highlander model adds a glass sunroof, Wireless (Qi standard) inductive smartphone charging, power-operated heated/ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

There are also a head-up display (HUD), High Beam Assist (HBA), front park-assist systems as well as LED headlights and tail lights.

“We’re excited to bring long-range, eco-friendly electrified driving within reach of everyone with the stylish Kona Electric small SUV,“ Hyundai Australia CEO, J W Lee, said.

“It is Hyundai’s intention to establish leadership for eco cars in Australia. We have demonstrated that with IONIQ and now Kona Electric, with the NEXO hydrogen-powered SUV to follow once suitable infrastructure is developed.

“Kona Electric’s unique, fun styling, packaged with advanced standard safety and connectivity features make for a highly appealing and affordable zero-emissions package,” Mr. Lee said.

CHECKOUT: Hyundai adds desire to portfolio

CHECKOUT: Taking Hyundai’s new Kona for a spin

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