The popular Hyundai Kona enters its second-generation but this time the platform was designed specifically for a zero emissions powertrain first and internal combustion second, as the brand moves towards a target of carrying 11 global EV models by 2030. The brand debuted the vehicle in Canada for the first time last week at Vancouver’s inaugural Fully Charged LIVE three-day show.
“Since its market inception in 2018, the Kona nameplate represents over 20 per cent of all Hyundai vehicle sales in British Columbia. And the Kona Electric represents 38 per cent of our sales over the same time period. And in 2023, the Kona Electric represents over 50 per cent of the Kona sales in British Columbia. All that to say the Kona is a very important lineup for us as a business,” said Sean Jo, Hyundai Auto Canada senior product planner, during the presentation.
Redesigned from the ground up, the crossover emerges slightly larger and sleeker and possesses a low drag coefficient of 0.27 to increase aerodynamic efficiency. With no conventional engine to cool the grille has been deleted and frunk storage added, and the super-slim daytime running lights, as well as elsewhere around the exterior, gain Parametric Pixel elements like those seen on gas-free siblings the Ioniq 5 and 6.
The LED headlamps remain in the middle of the bumper but repackaged in a more modern housing, and at the rear a full-width LED bar extends across the tailgate.
Inside the cabin is high-tech featuring dual 12.3-inch panoramic displays taking care of instrument cluster and infotainment duties. Dubbed the “living space,” there’s an emphasis on comfort and convenience for example the wider interior, a roomier centre console due to the relocation of the shifter to the steering column, slimmer front seats resulting in extra second row leg room and customizable ambient lighting. Approximately 723 litres of cargo space is available behind the back bench, or fold it down to open up 1,803 litres.
The Kona Electric is equipped with a 150-kilowatt electric motor mounted to the front axle producing 201 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. A 64.8 kilowatt-hour battery provides over 400 kilometres of range on a full charge, and thanks to the 400-volt infrastructure high-output Level 3 charging is supported — getting from 10 to 80 per cent capacity takes 43 minutes if connected to a compatible station.
Similar to many competitors, there’s an i-PEDAL one-pedal driving mode. Lifting off the accelerator causes regenerative braking to kick in slowing down the vehicle to a near stop. The system is smart and will adjust the level of regeneration according to real-time traffic conditions. When road-tripping, a vehicle-to-load function allows users to plug in appliances and equipment such as a coffee maker or camping gear.
Debuting on the new Kona is Digital Key 2, which uses near-field communication (NFC)-enabled phones and watches to lock, unlock and start the SUV rather than using a traditional key. Up to three devices are supported simultaneously and the owner can easily grant or deny permissions via the BlueLink app. The software also shows current travel range, energy levels and other relevant EV information.
A more advanced version of SmartSense ADAS is offered that includes Remote parking assistance so drivers are able to move the vehicle forwards or backwards at the touch of a button, while Blind-spot View Monitor plays a live video feed of the blind areas on the display during lane changes.
The 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric arrives early next year.