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Car Review: Hyundai Kona Electric

I’ve been charged when behind the wheel of a car before and, while a long time in the past, I’m quite certain it was not nearly as good an experience as that had recently test driving the Hyundai Kona Electric vehicle.

Positively charged about the Kona Electric

I’ve been charged when behind the wheel of a car before and, while a long time in the past, I’m quite certain it was not nearly as good an experience as that had recently test driving the Hyundai Kona Electric vehicle.

I’ve driven some pretty special looking cars in recent times and the Kona certainly is a different look to run with on four wheels… and perhaps not the styling taste of the majority… but damn did it turn heads.

It was not only the eye-catching Blue Lagoon colour of the Kona that drew people to it. The absence of a front grille most definitely had a part to play in the interest stakes.

And it may also have been the fact it was the only legitimate car I’ve seen parked in the free electric charge point in Victor Harbor since that facility was introduced a few years ago.

Whatever reason for the high level of interest in the Hyundai Kona Electric, I can report that it is absolutely justified. It is as enjoyable to drive as it is intriguing.

And it is this kind of charge I can handle. A positive rather than a negative experience, one might say!

Hyundai already had an electric vehicle in its range, the “loniq”, and the Kona has been a popular small SUV since its inception in 2017, sitting in the top 5 best sellers from a whopping 26 offerings in the range.

But the Kona Electric vehicle takes the electric commitment from Hyundai to a greater level. Whereas the Ioniq EV has a 28kWh battery with a range of 230km, the Kona EV features a 64kWh battery and a 449km range, which puts it up there with the best from Tesla and Jaguar. It’s also much more powerful than the Ioniq EV, putting out 150kW and 395Nm, compared to 88kW and 295Nm.

There’s two versions, the cheaper Elite at $59,990 and the Highlander starting at $64,490. The Elite gets a seven-inch digital dash cluster, eight-inch sat nav screen, premium audio system, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, radar cruise control, reversing camera, and keyless entry and start.

To that, the Highlander – the model I got to zip-zap around in for a week –  adds powered seats, wireless phone charging, head-up display, heated/cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel.

All Kona EVs come with an eight-year/160,000km warranty on the battery and a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty on everything else.

At around $60,000 to permanently get behind the wheel of the Kona there would absolutely be some thought from me of it being a tad overpriced had I actually had to buy the Kona EV. And even with its 449km range, and very informative range calculator/advice display to drive by, the Kona (petrol or electric) probably doesn’t quite fit the farm lifestyle guide. But a bit of quick number crunching shows that it most definitely would fit my budget and weekly running costs…. Saving me at least $100 a week.

My on-farm off-grid living infrastructure, with solar and batteries my only household power source and main “fuel up” point for the Kona, meant there was no charge for my week of driving the Kona Electric… unless of course you count the cost of the pub meal in town while I used that typically very lonely charge point in the CBD!

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