While electric vehicles are becoming all the rage, there are some that have more useability than others. That is where the crossover comes in. Not quite an SUV (sport utility vehicle), not quite a hatchback sedan. For those old enough to remember, more of a station wagon just rescaled for today’s needs.
While those iconic station wagons that hauled American families around for decades were huge land yachts and gas guzzlers, today’s crossovers are a trimmer version with all the useability of the wagon but with the drivability of a performance car. An EV Crossover gives you the best of all worlds with an all-electric powertrain. Quick and easy with the torque and power of the electric motor, and useability with the space for passengers and cargo.
Hyundai is no stranger to the crossover or the battery electric vehicle. And the 2022 Kona is just one of the options for an electric-powered vehicle. Like their first generation Ioniq, a four-door hatchback, both ICE and EV drivetrains both came out in 2017 as 2018 models. While the Ioniq has been replaced with the Ioniq 5, the Kona still gives a choice of EV or ICE powerplants.
What do you get for Kona’s $43,745 sticker price (includes a $1,245 destination and delivery- the trucking and handling from the port of entry)? An all-electric powered 150-kWh electric motor producing 201 horsepower with front-wheel drive. 250-plus mile range with a Lithium-ion polymer 356-volt battery with a capacity of 64 kWh. Charge time ranges from 9 hours on level II to 47 mins on a level III 100kW quick charger. And yes, you can trickle charge on a level 1 (120-volt household outlet.)
The Kona is similar in performance to the first-generation Ioniq EV. Quick, nimble, and well-balanced. Though with the heavier 64kWh battery (first generation Ioniq Electric has a 28kWh battery that they updated for 2020.)
The Kona’s interior will not be unfamiliar to anyone who has driven any of Hyundai’s line of passenger vehicles, with all the controls in places you would expect. A 10.25-inch driver’s dash in front of the driver, a center stack with an 8-inch color touch screen, HVAC controls, and USB power outlets as well. The pushbutton drive by wire gear selectors will be different from the standard gear shift lever. Do not expect this to be as modern as the more expensive and newer Ioniq 5 or 6, Hyundai’s newest all-electric vehicles.
Passenger space is for up to five, with two in the front bucket seats and a tight fit for three in the 60/40 split rear bench seat. A fold-down center armrest with integral cup holders would negate anyone sitting in the center rear seat.
The cargo area is limited to 19.2 square feet as this hatchback is designed primarily for passengers, though there is a small amount. With the rear seats down, it expands to 45.8 square feet, though we found it just shy to place a six-foot ladder in the vehicle, which involves moving the right front seat forward and placing the back all the way forward. The Kona does not have a frunk, which has become popular in some other electric vehicles, which for us is just fine. A frunk means a trunk under the front hood and thus moves more of the mechanicals into an area that could be used as passenger space.
Safety and Technology
As it is an EV, it has regenerative braking complete with anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes. Regenerative braking is something that EVs have that you will not find in a conventional fuel-powered vehicle. When you take your foot off the accelerator, the electric motor slows down the car and regenerates electricity back into the batter. This process is controllable by the amount of regeneration the driver wishes.
Many safety features like Blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist, and vehicle stability management are standard in all trim levels of the Kona. You will also find high beam assist, highway driving assist, and cyclist detection, all available on the Limited model.
Would I buy this vehicle? Yes and no, I did buy its sibling, the Ioniq Electric, which is very similar. While it does not have the extended range that the Kona has, it has more interior space for my needs. This is a great under $45K vehicle if you are looking for an around-town grocery getter or a commuter car. I would not suggest this if you were looking for something for long-distance driving, though you can certainly do that. The Ioniq 5 or 6 would be the all-electric options for a more full-featured luxury all-electric Hyundai.
Words, Video, and Images by William West Hopper
Mr. Hopper has long celebrated the automotive lifestyle by being an active participant in under-the-hood, DIY, Concours, and high-performance driving events. He is President Emeritus of the Washington Automotive Press Association and an International Motor Press Association member.