CHATHAM, Mass. – We loved the redesigned 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric Limited, so our continued appreciation of the modern design, quick charging, solid range, comprehensive equipment list, and reasonable price for the 2023 carry-over version is no surprise.
There was one surprise: the price dropped by $950 to $41,500, making it an even better choice for a subcompact front-wheel-drive (FWD) crossover (CUV) battery electric vehicle (BEV).
AMENITIES EQUAL TO A PREMIUM VEHICLE
The list of amenities and occupant conveniences starts with the automatic-climate-control system (including driver-only mode); heated leather-wrapped steering wheel; leather-covered seating surfaces; heated and ventilated front seats (the driver’s with power adjustment and power lumbar support); proximity key with push-button start; auto on/off headlights with auto high beams; digital key; rain-sensing wipers; remote start; smart cruise control with stop/start, and a power moonroof.
A 10.25-inch color LCD touchscreen at the top of the dash is the heart of the robust infotainment system which includes SiriusXM satellite radio; Bluetooth audio; Apple CarPlay; Android Auto, and Harmon Kardon Premium® Audio system pumping out the sound.
The system can be controlled through the dynamic voice activation system, with steering-wheel-mounted buttons or with dash-mounted ones, thus giving the driver full command over the comprehensive system. In addition, these controls handle vehicle settings (like climate control and ADAS) and provide information (like battery charging).
Standard navigation, including finding charging stations along a route (or just in the neighborhood), is standard.
ADAS, BRAKING SHINE IN 23 KONA EV
The 2023 Kona Electric Limited does not skimp on included advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), again reminding one of a premium CUV. The ADAS roster includes:
- Forward collision-avoidance assist
- Lane-keeping assist with lane-following assist
- Driver-attention warning
- Blind-spot collision-avoidance warning
- Rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist
- Safe-exit warning
- Reverse parking distance warning
The Kona Electric features strong regenerative-braking capability, which can be implemented with steering-wheel-mounted paddles and with one-pedal driving.
Once set for one-pedal driving, lifting off the accelerator pedal actuates regenerative braking, which can bring the Kona to a complete stop. A short amount of practice is all it takes to master the one-pedal driving technique, which helps extend battery range and “saving” the mechanical brakes. And it is really a terrific way to drive!
Speaking of mechanical brakes, the Kona EV features four-wheel ventilated discs (12 inches up front, 11.8 in the rear), anti-lock (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist.
SMOOTH AND QUIET – THE KONA EV POWERTRAIN
Motive power for the Kona EV comes from a front-mounted 150kW (201 horsepower, 291 pounds-feet of torque) motor energized by a 64 kWh, 356-Volt lithium-ion polymer battery system. The onboard 7.2kW charger allows for CD Fast Charging with SAE Combo Port.
The Kona Electric, using a Level-III fast charge rate, can charge from 10 to 80 percent in approximately 47 minutes using its SAE-Combo charging port. This convenient fast-charging capability is standard on the four-door hatchback.
With Level-II charging, it can also charge from 10 to 100 percent in approximately nine hours and 15 minutes. This means a home Level-II charger can “fill the tank” each night, ensuring the following day’s driving is (generally, unless a long trip is planned) worry-free. A Level-II charger will mean a 240V capability where the EV is housed.
For more charging convenience, the charging port is located in the front grille area for head-in parking ease when charging. A battery warmer system is standard, which helps prevent excessively long battery-charging intervals in cold temperatures.
In addition, in Winter Mode, the battery warmer can minimize battery-power losses due to low winter temperatures.
Fully charged, the Kona Electric has a 258-mile range and is rated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency at 120 MPGe overall (132 urban, 2008 highway). We never ran the battery down completely, but these figures seem reasonable based on my mixture of driving, including 65-70 miles per hour on the highway.
AN EV FOR A LARGE POPULATION
Last summer, we wrote: “The 2022 Kona Electric provides a very well-designed, well-engineered and enjoyable EV which is within the reach of a wide range of customers (not always the case with EVs, which are often priced higher than comparable nonelectrics).”
Our opinion remains the same – this is a solid, entry-level EV that brings much more than entry-level features, amenities, and capabilities.