New Hyundai Kona Electric Boasts Bolder Design, Taller Vehicle

Hyundai’s compact Kona Electric SUV — now one of the most affordable battery-electric vehicles on the road — bigger, bolder and smarter with the debut of the second-generation model this week. Featuring an eye-catching redesign that blends elements of the previous generation with the crazy geometric style of Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 dedicated EVs, the new Kona Electric promises range and improved efficiency despite its larger footprint.

The second-generation Kona is built on an enlarged and extended version of the automaker’s B-segment platform — the same as previous generation — than Hyundai’s dedicated E-GMP electric vehicle platform. This allows the Korean automaker to continue offering petrol and hybrid variantswhich prevents the Kona from going completely electric for at least another generation.

The new Kona EV is 5.5 inches longer (171.5 inches) than the previous generation, with a wheelbase stretched by 2.3 inches (104.7 inches). Inside, the Kona has an extra 3 inches of second-row legroom (36.4 inches) thanks to the longer wheelbase, and there’s a flat floor for more comfort in the middle seat. The growth spurt has taken the Kona Electric from one of the smallest models in its class to a more competitive scale in Chevrolet Bolt EUV’s 169.5-inch overall length and 105.3-inch wheelbase.

The SUV looks wider than before with chunky widebody fender flares, but at 71.9 inches, its footprint is 0.9 inches wider overall. The added girth is emphasized by the illusion of flared fenders created by body undercuts that trick the eye. Up front, the trompe l’oeil is further accentuated by a full-width Pixelated Seamless Horizontal Lamp, a one-piece lightbar that spans the entire width of the front end. Hyundai’s head of design told me this was the most challenging design element to pull off. A similar visor-like light bar also highlights the rear end. (Of course, the actual headlamps and rear indicators are housed in larger light pods below the bumpers.)

Undercuts above the wheel arches and a light trick create the illusion of widebody fender flares.

Antuan Goodwin Cars/CNET

Between the axles, the full-electric Kona will be offered with two battery options. The larger 65.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack will likely make its way to North America, but Hyundai’s 304-mile WLTP estimated range will likely be adjusted once it’s put through our more stringent EPA testing cycle. (For comparison, the current Kona EV is estimated at 258 miles with its 64 kWh unit.) This configuration powers a 160-kilowatt electric motor (215 horsepower) that drives the front wheels to 188 pound- feet of torque.

Built on a 400-volt electric architecture (instead of E-GMP’s 800-volt system), the new Kona Electric is still limited to 100-kW DC fast charging. Hyundai says there’s still plenty of bandwidth to charge the pack from 10% to 80% in about 41 minutes with thermal preconditioning available to help keep charging speeds in line during cold weather. winter days. The charging door is still located on the front bumper — the best location for easy access to the public charger, in my opinion – and now has heating elements to prevent freezing winter and built-in lights to help connect at night.

The new Kona will also hit the road with traditional gasoline and hybrid powertrain options under the hood, but we’re most interested in the battery-electric version.


In European and Asian markets, the Kona will also be offered with a smaller 48.4-kWh battery, a detuned 114.6-kW electric motor and a 213-mile WLTP estimated range. However, given Hyundai’s track record of only carrying the big battery for the previous generation and the Ioniq models, it’s a safe bet that we won’t see this “Standard Range” model stateside.

To help drivers maximize range, the second-generation Kona Electric now features intelligent auto regeneration programming like the Ioniq 5, which automatically adjusts the amount of regenerative braking used when lifting off the throttle based on driver distance, route information, battery charge state. and so on. The paddle-selectable regeneration system also now gives drivers the option to enable Hyundai’s i-Pedal one-pedal driving mode, which can stop the EV without touching the friction brakes. The Kona also inherits the Ioniq family’s e-ASD active sound design for user-adjustable cabin engine noise and is now compatible with car-to-load of the automaker (V2L) functionality. With the help of an adapter, V2L allows users to plug in and operate small appliances or equipment using the EV battery when, for example, camping, working remotely or during emergency outages in house

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Inside, drivers and passengers are treated to a more spacious cabin and a new dual 12.3-inch screen dashboard experience similar to the latest Hyundai and Ioniq-branded models. The new infotainment software is powered by the automaker’s Connected Car Navigation Software which is now over-the-air updated. There is also a 12-inch head-up display. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay the attachment patterns, and Digital Key smartphone access through an NFC tap on the door handle also comes to Kona for this generation, with support for smartphones and smartwatches.

Around the cabin, you’ll find new customizable multicolor ambient lighting, a new shift-by-wire lever on the steering column and new slim-design front seats with deep recline Relaxation Mode that passengers can use when waiting for payment. to complete. The EV uses more eco-friendly and sustainable materials in its construction. What I didn’t see when walking around the cabin was the Hyundai “H” logo. Like the Ioniq 5, the steering wheel has a simple four-dot iconography.

Dual 12.3-inch displays are standard with OTA updateable software.


Hyundai’s SmartSense driver assistance tech has also seen a generational upgrade. The Kona can now be equipped with Hyundai’s Remote Park Assist, which allows the driver to move the SUV straight forward or backward in tight parking spaces from outside the car. Highway Driving Assist 2 now combines navigation-based Smart Cruise Control that can automatically adjust highway cruising speed based on the distance of a vehicle ahead or more safely negotiate bends in the road.

Hyundai has not announced pricing for the new Kona Electric, but the automaker aims for the compact EV to continue to be one of the cheapest options in its class. Additionally, it should remain less expensive than the slightly larger Ioniq 5. The current-generation Kona Electric starts at just over $33,000 before any applicable incentives, while the Ioniq 5 starts at almost $42,000. So, it’s a safe bet that the new Kona Electric will stick near the bottom end of the window.

Expect more specific details and availability to be announced when the new Kona makes its North American debut at the 2023 New York Auto show in just a few weeks.

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