Electric cars are way more popular today than they were a decade ago, but they still only represent a small percentage of overall auto sales. Subcompact crossovers, on the other hand, are big sellers. So if an automaker were to offer a subcompact crossover that was also fully electric, would it be a sales success? With the new Kona Electric, Hyundai is about to find out.
As the name suggests, the Hyundai Kona Electric is the all-electric version of Hyundai’s new Kona CUV. Sized between a Kia Soul and a Honda HR-V, the Kona Electric doesn’t look like a half-hearted attempt at an EV, either. It will come in two versions, one that has about 185 miles of range, and a second that has about a 290-mile range. That’s not enough to beat the long-range Tesla Model 3, but it’s more than the Chevrolet Bolt and regular Model 3 offer. Those estimates are based on the Worldwide Harmonized Light-duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which closely matches the EPA’s test cycle.
Spring for the bigger battery, and the Kona Electric comes with more power. Instead of 133 hp, it makes about 201 hp. And with 291 lb-ft of torque, Hyundai says the Kona Electric will hit 62 mph in 7.6 seconds. That isn’t especially quick, but around town, it shouldn’t feel slow.
Design changes include an updated front end that replaces the gas-powered Kona’s grille with a closed-off version, slightly different daytime running lights, and a two-tone paint scheme. The interior has also been restyled, giving the cabin its own feel. But instead of trying a wild, futuristic look, Hyundai’s designers gave the inside of the Kona Electric a relatively conventional look. Like the gas-powered Kona, the Kona Electric offers an infotainment system that supports both Apple Carplay and Android Auto. It also comes with a number of modern safety features such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and lane keep assist.
At the moment, Hyundai has only confirmed that the Kona Electric will go on sale in Europe this summer at a yet-to-be-determined price. As for U.S. availability, we’ve been told to stay tuned.