Hyundai Kona Electric Review: what it’s really like owning an EV

My thoughts after three months living with my first electric car.

Electric cars have been around for quite some time now, and while there’s been some that look cool and some that accelerate incredibly quickly, there hasn’t been any that’s made me seriously consider owning one as my everyday car.

They’ve always been either too expensive, too ugly, not enough range, or all of the above. And, on paper at least, my perfect EV still doesn’t exist. Having said all that, I’ve now owned an EV and have been using it as my main car for almost 3 months. So, which one made me change my mind?

Well, as you probably guessed by the title, it was a Hyundai Kona. It’s the type of small front-wheel-drive SUV that you see everywhere these days and going from the spec sheet, it sounds very boring indeed. 

140bhp, front-wheel drive, a claimed 190 miles of range and a ride height that’s slightly higher than it needs to be for a car that’s just as at home off-road as it is in space. It doesn’t sound very exciting, does it?

At this point, you’re probably wondering why I bought it and what it’s been like to live with for the past 3 months. The short answer is the Hyundai dealer offered a test drive and a good deal, and that it’s been a great experience so far.

I won’t bore you with all the practicality stuff other than to say it will seat 5 adults at a push, the boot isn’t much bigger than what you’d get in a Ford Fiesta, and it’s packed with all the latest safety tech.

The parts that have impressed me most are the driving experience and the range.

Let’s start with the driving experience. Unit taking delivery of the Kona a few months ago I’d only ever owned manual cars, so there were a few days of reaching for the gear stick and wondering where the clutch pedal had gone. But after 3,000 miles I can now say that electric cars are the best way to navigate congested city streets or speed camera-lined motorways.

Now I’m not saying you couldn’t have more fun with an internal combustion engine and a manual ‘box when the traffic is light, but the Kona can be fun in its own silent way.

Even if you engage sport mode you aren’t going to set any speed records with just 140bhp at your disposal, although the 291lb-ft of instant torque makes overtaking a breeze and allows you to spin up the eco front tyres whenever the mood takes you. Combine this with decent handling and you have a car that can be silent, smooth, and comfortable most of the time while also being able to have a little fun when you find a nice road.

Speaking of finding a nice road, your search area won’t be as limited as you might think. Hyundai claims 190 miles of range yet I’ve been consistently getting 200-210 miles from a full charge without ever using the eco drive mode.

I expect this range will drop during the winter and I’m still yet to fully test pubic charging on a proper long journey, but if you can charge at home I don’t think the range will be an issue for 90% of the journeys most people do.

So after 3,000 miles and 3 months of daily use, the little Hyundai has surpassed my expectations and I’d recommend it to anyone considering an EV. Or even if you aren’t considering one, give it a chance, you can still keep the petrol-powered toys for the weekend.

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