Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai Kona Electric £35,975
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.