Hyundai Kona Elec­tric

Hyundai Kona Elec­tric £35,975

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - TOM FORD

WE SAY: THESE NEWFANGLED ELEC­TRIC JOBBIES LOOK JUST LIKE THE REAL THING...

In­vari­ably, you tend to con­sider the use­ful­ness of tech through the prism of your own need, and up to this point, any pure BEV (Bat­tery Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle) that had less than 250 miles of range – a fairly typ­i­cal round trip for me – didn’t make any sense. Any­thing with more, like a Tesla or a Jag I-Pace racked up £60k+ on the fore­court, so felt up­mar­ket spe­cial­ist. The Nis­san Leaf ’s 235 miles of pos­si­ble range was so nearly there… but… But I have driven the com­mut­ing fu­ture, and it’s a Hyundai Kona Elec­tric.

Yes, we’re likely to see much more com­pet­i­tive EVs in the not-too-dis­tant, but this is the first EV I could ac­tu­ally see fit­ting my life­style. Un­der £30k, if you in­clude the £4.5k gov­ern­ment grant, over 300 miles of range on a charge (sub £25k if you go for the 39.2kWh/136bhp ver­sion, but that only man­ages 186 miles), a use­ful, small SUV bodystyle and plenty of kit, per­for­mance and con­ve­nience.

That 300 miles of range is pretty ac­cu­rate, too, based as it is on the new World­wide Har­monised

Light Ve­hi­cle Test Procedure (WLTP) – cal­cu­lated on real driv­ing data – rather than the old lab test the­o­ret­i­cal driv­ing of the New Euro­pean Driv­ing Cy­cle (NEDC) – which takes into ac­count the ef­fi­cien­cies of al­ter­na­tive driv­e­trains. The same sort of driv­e­trains that were less com­mon than a day­glo leg­warmer back when the NEDC was first con­ceived in the Eight­ies.

So you get a lit­tle, quirky, FWD SUV thing that ac­cel­er­ates as fast as a Toy­ota GT86 and only emits a faint whine as it does so. It han­dles per­fectly ad­e­quately (though you can sense its 1.7 tonnes), stops well, charges to 80 per cent in 54 min­utes on a fast charger (about 9.5 hours on a stan­dard home ar­range­ment), and has enough space for a family. It looks neat, is built well, and gen­er­ally gives the im­pres­sion that the com­pro­mises are out­weighed by the ad­van­tages. My the­ory? Have this for bor­ing com­mut­ing, keep a clas­sic or in­ter­est­ing ICE ve­hi­cle for treats. Cars like the Kona EV aren’t go­ing to kill in­ter­est­ing cars – they’re go­ing to save them.

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