Hyundai’s revised Kona EV offers more room and a longer range

The original Kona EV was appealing if you wanted a compact electric crossover, but it lost some of its appeal when the taller (and frankly more stylish) Ioniq 5 arrived on the scene. However, Hyundai just gave you a reason to consider the ‘entry’ model once again. After months of early previews, the automaker has unveiled a sleeker second-generation Kona built with an electric powerplant in mind. That, in turn, promises some significant improvements in performance and interior design.

The higher capacity 65.4kWh battery option now provides an estimated 304 miles of range using the WLTP testing cycle. We wouldn’t be surprised if the EPA’s estimated number is more conservative, but it still suggests a longer range than the current model’s 258 miles. You now get battery preconditioning to improve charging times in cold weather, and vehicle-to-load support allows you to use devices both inside and outside the vehicle. There is also new support for “i-Pedal” one-pedal driving. Just don’t expect the fastest charging. The Kona doesn’t have the 800V architecture of the Ioniq 5 or Kia EV6, so it will take 41 minutes to charge from 10 percent to 80 percent.

Regardless of the motor system inside your car, you can expect a larger “living space” with more storage (17 cubic feet in the trunk), a front trunk and more technology in- cabin. An optional head-up display is sadly unavailable in North America, but you’ll find dual 12.3-inch screens, over-the-air software updates and NFC-based digital car key support. Driver aids are also said to be more powerful than other mini-SUVs in this class, such as attention monitor (to make sure you don’t fall asleep), blind spot monitor and assistants for avoiding collisions ahead and safer driving in highway.

Hyundai didn’t detail US pricing, though it said the Kona will still be available in combustion-only and hybrid versions in addition to the EV. It should reach US customers in the third quarter of the year. If history is any indication, the Kona should cost less than the Ioniq 5. That might be appealing if you want to go electric but can’t justify the premium for the brand’s most advanced offerings.

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