Turns out that the subcompact Hyundai Kona SUV is a fine basis for an electric vehicle, as the 2022 Kona Electric retains everything we like about its gas-powered counterpart. Instead of a four-cylinder engine, the Kona Electric is powered by a 201-hp electric motor, and its large battery pack is good for up to 258 miles per charge. That’s key because an EV’s range number is the most important factor in the revved-up electric vehicle marketplace. Chevrolet’s new Bolt EUV carries a claimed 250-mile range while the Tesla Model Y is good for up to 326 miles per charge. On top of its competitive estimated driving range, the Kona Electric delivers perky acceleration, spry handling, and an unbeatable standard warranty and complimentary maintenance package.
What’s New for 2022?
The Kona Electric receives a styling update for 2022 that includes new front and rear bumpers, new wheel designs, and a tweaked interior that now comes standard with a 10.3-inch digital gauge display. The top Ultimate trim has been eliminated in favor of simplifying the lineup to the base SEL and the luxury Limited models.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
A 201-hp electric motor drives the front wheels (all-wheel drive isn’t offered) and is powered by a 64.0-kWh battery pack. At our test track, the Kona Electric galloped from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, 0.2 second quicker than the regular Kona. As with the regular Kona, the electric version offers sprightly driving dynamics, which makes it fun to scamper along a twisty two-lane. It doesn’t offer sports-car-level thrills, but for a subcompact SUV it’s compelling to drive. It also cruises smoothly at highway speeds and feels substantial and planted thanks to the heavy battery mounted in the floor and its resulting low center of gravity.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
Aggressive regenerative braking allows for true one-pedal driving and helps extend the driving range to a claimed 258 miles—one mile less than the Bolt EV. Pulling the paddles behind the steering wheel allows the driver to adjust the level of regen; we prefer the most aggressive setting. The Kona Electric can be charged on a 110-volt household outlet, but we wouldn’t recommend that on a day-to-day basis; a 240-volt outlet is best for home charging, and the Kona Electric also can be charged at a DC fast-charging station.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Kona Electric has earned a combined rating of 120 MPGe from the EPA. In our real-world highway fuel-economy testing, though, we recorded just 86 MPGe and 160 miles of driving range. However, this test was conducted on a 2019 model in December in our home state of Michigan, where temperatures can frequently register below freezing in the winter. We also tested a Bolt EV in similarly frigid weather and it delivered 140 miles of driving range—far below its EPA-rated number of 238 miles. For more information about the Kona Electric’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Kona Electric’s cabin is much the same as the one found inside its gas-powered counterpart: It’s made from quality materials, is comfortable, and rich with features. The rear seat and cargo area are tight, even by subcompact-crossover standards, but since the Kona was designed from the outset to accommodate a battery pack, there’s no less room inside the Electric than the standard model. The cargo area is identical to the regular Kona, too; we fit five carry-on suitcases inside with the rear seats in place and a total of 15 with the seats folded.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All models come with a touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, as well as a 10.3-inch reconfigurable digital gauge display; base SEL models come with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, while upgrading to the Limited adds a 10.3-inch display with navigation. A six-speaker audio system is standard, while the Limited model comes with an eight-speaker Infinity audio system that sounds much richer.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Blind-spot monitoring and automated emergency braking are standard across the range, but adaptive cruise control is only offered on the top-spec Limited model. For information about the Kona Electric’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning
- Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection