So the Hyundai Kona Electric has finally been launched and we’re here at the Buddh International circuit to get a taste of it. We know a racetrack is not the ideal place to review an EV built to take on the confines of a city, but we promise we’ll get you a review in real-world conditions soon. For now, let's take a look at 4 things that we really liked about the Kona Electric and 2 things we didn’t.
If you thought EVs are supposed to look weird, the Kona Electric will leave you disappointed because it’s one cool looking crossover.
It is compact but has a wide stance with a long wheelbase and short overhangs, thus giving it a sporty appeal. The front is where all the action is for the Kona with the DRLs placed in the position of the headlights with the actual LED headlights located below. No family cascading grille for this Kona. Instead, it comes with a flattish grille with graphic elements on it with the charging port also located in one corner. On the sides, the subtle cladding and skid plates at the back give it an SUV appeal. Overall the Kona Electric is a good looking car and will stand out from the crowd.
Plenty of features
For 25.3 lakh rupees, Hyundai has packed the Kona EV with a lot of features.
Beginning with the Bi-function LED headlamps on the outside to the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with a barrage of connectivity features as well as all the energy information, this is one well-stocked car. It also has an electric sunroof, front heated and ventilated seats which are power-adjustable, start-stop button, wireless charging for the phone and more.
Now let’s talk about performance. The Kona EV with its permanent magnet synchronous electric motor makes a very healthy 134bhp and a massive 395Nm of torque. What's more, since this is an electric car, these numbers are available right from the moment you floor the pedal. (show going pedal to the metal)
Sure, it’s no Tesla. Nevertheless, the performance will surprise you. Hyundai claims 9.7 seconds to a 100 kph and we believe them. One also gets four driving modes to choose from namely Eco+, Eco, Comfort and Sport. And yes, Sport mode does make you the happiest.
Now, on to the most important aspect of the Kona Electric - its range. Did it run out of juice after we hot-footed it around the Buddh circuit? Well…no
Handling the battery duties is a high voltage, 39.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery which, according to Hyundai, offers an ARAI claimed a range of 452 km. Now that’s a massive figure given that the Kona will primarily be used for city commuting. Despite zipping across the race circuit for a few laps, the Kona Electric held its charge pretty well and there was still plenty of battery life left. But what remains to be seen is what the real world range will be like once we take the Kona to the streets.
Space at the rear
Now that we are done with the positives, let's take a look at the negatives. While the front seats are fantastic, the Kona Electric isn’t the most spacious at the back. Knee room in this car is fine, but it's just not wide enough for three passengers to sit comfortably. Also with the battery laid out at the bottom, the floor is quite high which means under-thigh support suffers.
Cannot be your only car
While the Kona is an absolute tech-fest and comes loaded with all the features you need, as of now it cannot be your only car.
Even with Hyundai offering a humungous amount of support by providing 2 chargers and charging outlets at dealerships, one still cannot think of wandering out far with the Kona at least until the government steps in with more support by adding more charging outlets.
At Rs 25.3 lakhs (ex-showroom India), the Kona Electric is a brilliant effort by Hyundai to kickstart its electric innings in India. It looks great, drives well and is loaded with all the features expected from a premium car. We hope the government steps in soon and offers support to the manufacturers in a bid to make these cars even more affordable.