All you need to know about Hyundai Kona Electric SUV



In an era when the automotive industry is facing its biggest slump since the last 18 years, the undisputed second-largest carmaker of the country – yes, Hyundai – has been on a roll with a wide array of new products. Right after accomplishing crunching sales numbers from the sub-4m compact-SUV, the Venue, the Korean automaker has spruced up the market affair by launching the country’s first fully-electric SUV, the Kona. Recently, we had a chance to get behind the wheel of the electric SUV – have a look at our Hyundai Kona Electric SUV First drive reviewfor more at the company’s own headquarters in Korea. Here’s everything you can expect from India’s first fully-electric SUV.

1.       Exterior
From what appears to be a perfect amalgamation of an SUV and a hatchback, Hyundai – as always – has done an impeccable job with the Kona EV. The India-spec Kona EV shares its styling cues with the ICE-powered Kona. It’s actually a very unique design, with the right amount of character and curviness to generate keen interest of Indian buyers. The only bits that show off the electric character of the Kona EV have to be the fully-enclosed grille and the 17-inch alloy wheels with large spokes. Other than that, the Kona takes its inspiration from the latest-gen Hyundai SUVs. The LED DRLs are placed right on top, while the headlamp cluster is mounted right at the bumper. In profile, the swollen wheel arches and black plastic cladding exude the rugged SUV appeal.

2.       Interior
On the inside, the Kona shares a number of bits with another Hyundais. The steering wheel, switchgear and the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system – which sadly misses out on Hyundai’s Blue Link technology – are shared with the Venue. The Kona gets a wide array of equipment such as automatic LED headlamps, cruise control, ventilated front seats, a driver-only fan control, wireless charging, an electric sunroof, and steering-mounted paddle shifters to modulate regenerative braking.

3.       Powertrain
The India-spec Hyundai Kona will feature a permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor that’s coupled to a 39.2kWh lithium-ion polymer battery. On paper, the motor is capable of churning out 134bhp and 395Nm of torque. First for a Hyundai, the digital instrument cluster gives a sharper edge to the cabin. The silver theme in the middle of the dashboard looks rather nice and gives the monotone cabin a sense of airiness. The transmission uses a simple set of buttons, which helps in accommodating some crucial space for knick-knacks. The front seats are extremely comfortable and supportive, although head space is limited thanks to the electric sunroof. The rear seat, though, offers kneeroom and legroom at a premium, and there is no such space even to tuck your feet under the front seats.


4.       The Challenge
The Kona EV has received an ARAI-certified range of 452kms on a single charge. However, the 452km range seems a little too generous for the Hyundai considering the same battery pack is rated at 288kms in the international market. So, given the exorbitant conditions of our country, it’s better to expect a range somewhere near 250km. Interestingly, the Kona EV comes with two chargers as standard. The first is a portable charger, that takes almost 19 hours to charge the battery. Second, you get a 7.2kW AC wall box that charges the battery in just over 6 hours. Even with the included chargers, the limited charging infrastructure means you have to rely on personal arrangements to charge the Kona.


5.       Verdict
It’s no secret the Kona EV is a solid – and a very-well appreciated – effort from the Korean automaker. And since the effort is all great, electric mobility still needs a certain push from the government. But even then, the Kona EV certainly feels like a conventional car, thanks to the great cabin and neat design. It’s a good start from the Korean automaker, but the success of electric vehicles still relies on the charging infrastructure. After all, there’s only so much an automaker can possibly work upon. And as for Hyundai, the Kona definitely projects the brand with a modern cutting-edge product, irrespective of the given fuel choice. Now, since the Kona EV retails around Rs. 25 lakhs in the Korean market, we still have to wait to reserve judgement for the Indian unit. To read our extensive Hyundai Kona Electric SUV review, be sure to tune in to autoX.

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