Hyundai's new battery-electric crossover, the Kona Electric, extends the range to beat. It leaves behind the former champion, the Chevrolet Bolt EV by 20 miles. The Nissan Leaf misses the mark by 107 miles. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric lags by 134 miles, and the Honda Clarity Electric stops 169 miles short of the Kona Electric. Fitting this kind of range into a crossover should mean giving up interior and cargo space for the batteries. But somehow Hyundai has found a way to install electric power without compromising the form.
What are the Hyundai Kona Electric's performance numbers?
The Hyundai Kona Electric's range is EPA estimated at 258 miles on a charge from a 64kWh lithium-ion battery unit. It's nowhere near the Tesla Model 3's 310-mile long-range capability, but there should be a considerable price difference. This crossover should be enjoyable to drive: Kona's horsepower is rated at 201, with 291 pound-feet of torque with agile 17-inch wheels and motor-driven power steering designed especially for electric vehicles.
What about the Kona's interior space and cargo area? Are they compromised by the battery?
Rear passengers won't begrudge the battery any space because the rear seating is comfortable and roomy enough. There's even enough room for a fold-down cup and storage are for long drives. The same goes for storage: the rear cargo area should easily carry enough luggage for the number of passengers. Convenient fold-down rear seats provide ample hauling space for weekend errands and special projects, with the same cubic foot capacity as the non-electric version.
What kinds of interesting electronics does the Kona have?
A few of the clever additions to the Kona include Qi wireless phone charging, full smartphone integration for driver safety, both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a heads-up display. A floating touchscreen conveniently serves both vehicle information and entertainment activities, and the transmission on this electric version of the Kona provides pushbutton control instead of the traditional knob shifter.
What important new safety features are included?
The Kona includes a number of features which make enjoying its more extended cruising range safer. The advanced active safety features are up-to-date with a competitive suite of active and passive safety systems in place. It includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist camera-based braking, Lane Keeping Assist, and Driver Attention Warning. It also includes rain-sensing wipers to help drivers focus on the road, not the controls.
I've heard that the Hyundai Kona is easier to charge. Why?
It starts with the simple matter of the charging port location. It's up front, eliminating one of the hassles of petroleum-powered vehicles: snaking the fuel hose around the vehicle at each pit stop. The Kona fast-charges up to 80% in under an hour using a 100kW Level-III quick charge and with a standard 7.2kW Level-II charger fills it up in nine hours, thirty-five minutes.
Tell me more about the active safety features.
The Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist acts as a copilot with braking control, using the forward-looking camera to determine if a collision is imminent. Lane Keeping Assist uses road markings to determine the car's position relative to its lane and automatically makes steering corrections as needed. On vehicles with LED headlights, High Beam Assist helps select headlight mode based on the surroundings. Driver Attention Warning compiles a variety of trip data to determine if the driver is becoming fatigued, distracted or careless. Kona Electric also offers radar-based Blind-Spot Collision Warning to detect approaching vehicles which the driver may not yet be aware of, and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist keeps an eye out for changes behind the vehicle which might result in a collision while backing up.
What about more details on the infotainment system?
There are plenty. The Hyundai Kona Electric provides innovative features such as the projected heads-up display and LTE-powered connectivity to keep driver and passengers linked up with the outside world. A seven-inch LCD system with rear camera display and voice command features can be upgraded with an eight-inch comprehensive touchscreen system which includes a navigation display and real-time traffic updates over HD radio and a sound system which delivers processed audio from eight points in the vehicle plus a subwoofer.