Now Hyundai makes

Kona electric

Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, front
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, rear
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, interior
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, instrument panel
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, nose
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, controls
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, engine
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, boot
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, charging point
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, rear fairing
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, display screen
Hyundai Kona Electric, 2018, badge

HYUNDAI is adding an electric powertrain to its Kona compact SUV making it the third engine choice on the model.

Coming just weeks after the Kona diesel joined the line up, the new electric model is an eye-opener in more ways than one.

Not only is it competitively priced - the range runs from £24,995 to £31,795 after the Government's £4,500 plug-in car grant - it is also the quickest of the bunch accelerating from 0 to 60 in just 7.6 seconds.

That's down to the 395Nm of torque available from the electric motor, more than twice the output of the 1.0-litre petrol powered model.

It also has a claimed range of up to 300 miles if you opt for the higher powered - and most expensive - of two battery packs Hyundai is making available on the Kona electric.

The other set up Hyundai is using has a range of 195 miles and developing 136ps gives the car a 0 to 60 time of 9.7 seconds with a maximum just shy of 100mph.

Having just put the more powerful Kona electric in top specification Premium SE trim through its paces it is an impressive performer and lively to drive.

With power available instantly it can be quick out of the blocks and with a top end of 104mph it can handle motorway work easily.

Enthusiastic driving seemed to suit the car well and using the strongest of four regenerative braking modes - the car can be driven on the accelerator only and stopped completely as such - the available range had decreased by only three miles over the distance we travelled.

Three drive modes are also available giving settings for sport and economy as well as general use and each of these is noticeably effective.

With no engine noise other than a faint whine from the motor road rumble and wind noise can be an issue on some electric cars but the sound insulation inside the Kona is good - even at motorway speeds.

That has been achieved by some aerodynamic tweaks to the body such as a solid nose and changes to the bumpers front and back as well as some baffles on the rear pillars.

Overall it is a fraction longer and higher than the regular Kona and with new style lamp clusters all round it looks good - different enough to stand out.

The recharging point is under a flap on the front of car and the long range model takes 54 minutes to replenish to 80 per cent capacity from a fast charger.

A full charge from a home supply takes nine hours 35 minutes and while the lower powered system is quicker at six hours 10 minutes the trade off is reduced range. On a quick charger the difference between the two is negligible with the 136ps model taking 57 minutes to attain 80 per cent.

To accommodate the battery packs which are slung below the car boot space on the electric Kona is about a suitcase down on the regular model at 322 litres extending to a maximum of 1,114.

The cabin is the same size although the instrumentation and controls are different with the electric model having a bridge-like centre console which accommodates most of the drive-by-wire controls such as the push button gear selector and electronic parking brake.

Premium SE models come with an eight-inch touchscreen - a seven-inch screen is standard on lower grade SE versions - while the instrument panel comprises and LCD screen which can be configured in a number of ways to show powerflow, range and sat nav instructions.

There's also a head-up display while the Kona electric has a full set of safety and driver assistance aids including smart cruise control, forward collision and pedestrian detection and Hyundai's lane following semi-autonomous drive system.

On the connectivity front it is fully smartphone compatible and has a wireless charging pad sited underneath the centre console where there are also plug-in and power points.

Hyundai has a growing stable of alternative fuel cars and the Kona electric will be joining the Ioniq and the soon-to-arrive Nexo fuel cell vehicle as the Korean company steers its way to the future.

Certainly, both versions of the Kona electric are right on the money but the long range model has the edge in terms of practicality.

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