To say the Hyundai Kona compact crossover has proven popular since its 2018 launch is an understatement. For 2019, the Korean company wants to capitalize on that popularity with the new Kona Electric, a battery-powered vehicle that boasts the most driving range of any affordable EV.
The Kona Electric's 415-km range bests its closest competitor, the Chevrolet Bolt, by a small margin. It does that with a slightly larger battery of 64 kWh to the Bolt's 60 kWh.
Of course, you pay for the Kona Electric's ability to cover significant distance on battery power: its nearly $46,000 starting price is more than double that of the gas-powered Kona.
The Kona Electric's battery feeds a front-mounted motor that powers the front wheels with 201 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. There is no AWD variant as in the gas Kona; the electric version also shares the conventional model's six-speed automatic transmission, eschewing the direct-drive transmissions used in most EVs.
As mentioned, the Bolt is a direct competitor. If the Kona Electric's price is too rich for you, the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf are more affordable but won't go as far on a charge. Just for the record, Tesla's compact Model 3 starts out with a 425-km range and RWD for $58,600 before any regional government rebates.
Kona Electric comes in Preferred and Ultimate trims.
Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and taillights, heated side mirrors, blind spot warning with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, variable intermittent front wipers, intermittent rear wiper, heated front seats, cloth upholstery, six-way manual driver's seat, six-speaker stereo with 7.0-inch touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter, automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, forward collision warning with avoidance assist, driver attention warning, heated steering wheel, digital instrument cluster display, passive keyless entry, electric parking brake and rear parking sensors.
Ultimate trim adds LED headlights with active cornering lights, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar, ventilated front seats, head-up display, 8.0-inch infotainment display with navigation, eight-speaker stereo, wireless smartphone charging, sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, garage door opener, LED interior lighting, front parking sensors and automatic high beams.
Hyundai's energy consumption estimates for the Kona Electric are 1.8/2.2 Le/100 km (city/highway).