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Hyundai Kona Electric SUV First-Drive Review: Goes The Distance

We drove the Hyundai Kona on the Buddh Circuit touching a top speed of 160 Kmph. Here’s how it feels to drive.

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Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Camera Assistance: Arunabh Chowdhury

The Hyundai Kona Electric SUV is finally here. It’s priced at Rs 25.30 lakh ex-showroom and claims a range of 452 Km per charge (ARAI tested). Now in real world conditions you will probably get a little over 300 Km. That kind of makes it fairly practical. But how is it to drive? We tested it out on the Buddh International Circuit for this review.

Driving the Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona is powered by a 100kW motor that puts out 136PS of power and 395 Nm or torque. There’s a 12-volt battery here that only runs the auxillary systems. The 39.2 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack that powers the vehicle is under the floor of the Kona.

The Hyundai Kona features three stages of regenerative braking, which can be adjusted with the paddles behind the steering. This actually makes you use the foot brakes a lot less.

Pick up is instant and because of the low-rolling resistance tyres you get some tyre screech, reined in by traction control. It can go from 0-100 kmph in 9.7 seconds and hits a top speed of 160 kmph (which we managed on the back straight of the Buddh Circuit).

With the weight of the Kona (1.6 tonnes approx) being centred low down, body roll is fairly controlled. The steering feels decently weighted, but not sporty as such. It’s more of an everyday commuter.

Drive modes are selected by buttons on the centre console. 
Photo: The Quint

Charging Times

There are three types of chargers that Hyundai has with the Kona. One is a regular 15 amp plug where you can charge the car anywhere. You will get about 50 Km in three hours. For a full charge with your household sockets it takes 19 hours.

Then you have the fast charging system that Hyundai will set up at your house. This can charge your car from 0 to 100 percent in 6 hours 10 minutes. Besides that, if you go to an IOCL petrol pump, you have the DC 50 KW fast charging system. That can juice up your car to 80 percent battery in about 57 minutes. Don’t use that too often as it will reduce the life of the battery which is otherwise about 2,000 charging cycles.

In case of emergency, you can even charge one Kona from another, claims Hyundai.

Hyundai is offering a big warranty on the battery, which is 8 years or 160,000 km. The car itself gets a three-year warranty, bumper to bumper.

The Hyundai Kona comes with a 361-litre boot. 
Photo: The Quint

It is fairly practical with a 361 litre boot. Rear seat space is a bit tight, but then the Kona isn’t a big SUV. It’s smaller than the Hyundai Creta in fact. It is loaded with features such as a sunroof, cruise control, powered seats and an infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The AC has a power saving feature where you can turn on driver only mode if needed.

In that sense, it feels every bit like a normal SUV.

DC Fast Chargers will be available at select IOCL outlets. These can juice up the battery to 80 percent in 57 minutes. 
Photo: The Quint

This doesn’t have a conventional transmission. Instead it has these buttons which is R for Reverse, P for Park, neutral and drive. It gets an electronic parking brake.

It’s got cooled seats. It also gets Drive Modes – Eco, Sport and Comfort. When I change it, it shows me the range in each mode. The infotainment system also shows you an EV menu that has the driving range, battery levels and your driving score.

The 100 kW motor puts out 136 PS of power and 395 Nm of torque in the Hyundai Kona. 
Photo: The Quint

The Hyundai Kona is finally an SUV that won’t induce as much range anxiety as other electric vehicles currently in India do. With over 300 km on a charge, it makes it fairly practical even for some inter-city drives. Of course, the charging infrastructure is still very nascent in India. But this is a start.

With the MG eZS and Maruti Wagon-R electric coming in as well, electric cars are slowly but surely going to become increasingly common in traffic.

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Topics:  Hyundai Kona 

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