Hyundai has been using larger battery packs in the Kona-E since the 2020 model year and thus better ranges in everyday life. The first successes came with 14.008 E-Konas sold last year. In addition to the short journeys, the completely redesigned compact SUV with easier entry and exit and the slightly raised seating position offers contemporary clarity and enough space for longer trips on vacation. With the facelift for 2021 there were still some optical and technical updates. In the summer test with the large 64 kWh battery pack, we took a close look at its suitability for long journeys.
One of the "killing arguments" against electromobility in the past has always been the lack of range. Even the German vehicle manufacturers have so far been very cautious about electric cars. With the pioneer Tesla and the meanwhile increased capacities for the production of larger battery packs, this argument is increasingly being pushed into the background. With the Kona E, Hyundai set a few interesting specifications in the competition. The electric motor has an output of 150 kW / 204PS and a torque of 395 Newton meters. With this, the 1,8-tonne Kona accelerates from zero to 8 km / h in under 100 seconds in the best Premium equipment variant. The acceleration values when overtaking are even more important for long journeys, and here it can accelerate from 80 to 120 km / h in around 4,8 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 167 km / h. This makes the technical performance ideal for long-distance use.
The popular Kona has now been visually upgraded with a smoothed front as well as LED daytime running lights and full LED headlights with a new look. At the rear, too, the apron and the lower taillight have been slightly redesigned. In the interior, the new 10,5-inch, fully digital instrument display catches the eye. The smartphone connection for the Apple or Android cell phone is optionally possible via radio. A USB charging socket has also been added for the guests in the rear.
First of all, take a seat in the new cockpit. Storage compartments are integrated in the doors under the center console and in the center armrest, there are two cup holders in the center console and in the rear center armrest. The premium equipment leaves nothing to be technically missing: a complete audio and navigation system with AUS and USB connections, an 8-inch color touchscreen monitor above the center console and a whole armada of assistance systems, from adaptive cruise control to Traction control and traffic sign recognition for speed limits. Even if a passer-by unexpectedly crosses the street in front of the bus, for example, the emergency brake assistant switches to emergency braking mode and autonomously brings the Kona Elektro to a standstill.
While the technical features score points with the South Korean manufacturer, the interior looks more functional and sober. Ergonomically well-placed switches let the first special feature catch your eye after starting at the push of a button: Instead of an automatic selector lever, you can select forwards or backwards at the push of a button. The yellow LED displays are poorly marked when there is strong incidence of light. The usual, easily recognizable blue LEDs should be used here. So just choose reverse gear and then simply pull out of the parking space with the sensors. If a vehicle approaches from the side unnoticed, the cross traffic warning system emits a corresponding acoustic signal. And then the driving fun really comes into play. Once you have internalized your attitudes towards the electric car, you can enjoy the impressive locomotion in the Kona. Anticipatory driving style, well-dosed recuperation and infotainment with all the important information about energy recovery allow the driver and occupants to glide relaxed across the road.
Charge in less than an hour
The charging networks are being expanded further here in the north. And along the A7 motorway, the Ionity CCS chargers are a good starting point for quick charging. The lithium polymer battery has a total capacity of 64 kWh with thermal management. On the CCS charger, with a remaining capacity of 10%, we were able to charge up to 80% in 45 minutes. Anyone who has access to a wallbox in the garage can charge it overnight. For recharging at the nearest furniture store or shopping center, an electricity donation can at least be charged with the charging card via RFID chip.
The SUV format will also establish itself as an important segment for electric cars. The previously known advantages with easy entry and exit including an elevated seating position, good clarity and sufficient space speak for the current Kona. Ideally, the range can be up to 449 kilometers. Under realistic conditions, according to our impressions, with a full charge in summer 350 kilometers in the city and on the country road can be achieved. The ideal conditions are given with the installation of a wallbox in your own garage or in the carport. The prices for home chargers have now fallen significantly due to the increasing pressure of competition.
Driving pleasure can also be implemented in an important discipline. The savings in power consumption are influenced by the adjustable recuperation levels. The use of the various energy-saving levels can also throttle down to moderate electricity consumption of up to 15 kWh in large-format SUVs. The ECO mode is sufficient for driving in the city area. It is even more economical in the ECO + mode; the fact that there is no air conditioning and the limitation of the top speed to 90 km / h can also be of great service in summer. And if you don't want to forego driving comfort or driving dynamics, you can switch directly to Comfort or Sport mode on the highways.
New price list 2021
Since July 2021, the Hyundai Kona Elektro with the large battery pack has only been available with the three selectable equipment variants Select, Trend and Prime package.
The Select package includes central locking with the smart key system, automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, emergency brake assist and adaptive cruise control. A heat pump that uses the heat from the outside air and drive components to save energy is only standard from the Trend version. In the Prime package we tested, only electrically adjustable seats are part of the standard equipment.
The individualization of the equipment is not one of Hyundai's strengths, so you have to choose the right equipment package. As additional equipment, there is a sliding glass roof as an extra for the Trend and Prime package for an extra charge of 600 euros and a two-tone roof coating as an option for exactly the same surcharge. Otherwise, various metallic colors can be selected.
In addition to the tested version, there is also one for short-distance drivers: the version equipped with the smaller 39,2 kWh lithium polymer battery with a 100 kW (136 PS) electric motor. The starting price starts at 35.650 euros. For this basic engine there are only the two selectable equipment variants Select and Trend.
Overall, the Hyundai looks very conventional. This is also due to the fact that, in addition to the electric version, there are also conventional versions with a combustion engine. The individual functions are primarily controlled via buttons and rotary controls. The center console and the multifunction steering wheel are equipped with the traditional buttons. The advantage is that the switch from combustion to electric cars is also inviting for traditionalists. Simple functionality is the order of the day at the Kona.
In terms of its conception and structure, the Kona is an SUV equipped with many assistance systems. There is plenty of driving fun on long journeys, and in sport mode it also offers potential for entertaining motorway journeys. Should the power reserves become tight, the nearest charging station can be approached with the ECO + mode. The Kona with the large battery pack is an SUV vehicle for the medium-haul range in its price segment.
Practical test from summer 2021.
Images copyright Hyundai
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