Our car’s top-spec Ultimate trim costs an additional £2000 over Premium specification, adding (among other niceties) an electric sunroof, head-up display, leather seats with electric adjustment up front, and heated seats in the back. The former helps brighten up the cabin, which the road test team said could feel a little dark and uninviting when we reviewed the outgoing version back in 2018.
On the road, the Kona Electric is still surprisingly rapid for a mainstream crossover, with an ability to match some hot hatchbacks for rolling acceleration right up to motorway speeds. The front wheels remain overly keen to spin up under a heavy right foot, though I recall the pre-facelift car being even more dramatic in this aspect. Perhaps I just wasn’t trying hard enough.
Hyundai’s paddle-based regenerative braking remains the best implementation I’ve tried, letting me quickly swap between the three strength levels (or turn off regen completely) without having to take my hands off the steering wheel. The Kona continues to deliver some of the most consistent and accurate range estimates of any EV, too.
Not constantly second-guessing the figure on the dashboard means the Kona Electric is far more relaxing to drive than rivals like the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, which can vary wildly in their estimates. It makes this one of the more credible options for those looking to replace a combustion-powered car.
Dynamism is still something of a weak point, with a fairly muted steering feel and an overreliance on electronic traction and stability controls to disguise the relative lack of grip under the front wheels. This is less of an issue for the Kia e-Niro, which shares a platform with the Hyundai, because of its positioning as a family SUV. It’s comfortably the more sedate of the pair. You can press on through the corners in the Kona, but there’s little reward for doing so.
Ride quality is also mixed, coping reasonably well at city speeds but becoming fidgety once you get out of town. Wind noise, particularly on motorways, also seemed more noticeable here than in rival EVs.