THE biggest fears faced by potential electric car owners today are range anxiety and the high price-tags of new models, but the Hyundai Kona EV addresses both those issues.
Costing from £30,150 (including the Government Plug-in Grant) this five door model boasts a real world driving range between charges of 278 miles.
There's a choice of SE, Premium and Premium SE trim levels and all versions are easy on the eye and loaded with technical kit.
We opted for the range-topping Premium SE model costing£38,250.
The car offerspure e-mobility through a 64kWh battery with 204hp and 395Nm of torque and those figures translate into some impressive performance stats reaching from 0-62mph in just 7.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 104mph. And withzero carbon emissions, there are plenty of financial savings too such as zero Vehicle Excise Duty costs for the first 12 months.
The Kona, which is theKorean car maker's small SUV, looks neat from any angle thanks to its curvaceous lines,roof rails, automatic headlights with a dusk sensor, LED daytime running lights, privacy glass, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, wraparound rear light clusters, two-tone roof and 17-inch alloy wheels. As the car is pure electric there is no need for a front grille.
The inside is very modern in its design and layout with a clutter-free feel and lots of kit to explore. There is full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a neat eight-inch touchscreen, an eight-speaker KRELL premium sound system, Bluetooth and live navigation services.
A head-up display keeps the vital driving data in your vision at all times and the heated seats and heated steering wheel are perfect for fending off the winter blues.
There is no gear lever as the Kona EV is single speed. Instead you select frombuttons labelled D, R, N or P and off you go. The car has instant power and acceleration so will leave far flashier vehicles standing at the lights.
It quickly reaches national speed limits and there is ample power at your disposal to overtake slower moving traffic or attack steep hill climbs. The driver can flick through the different drive modes called Eco, Comfort and Sport which are fairly self-explanatory with Sport really livening up the reactions.
The Kona EV feels well balanced through sweeping bends and the road-holding also impresses despite its compact SUV dimensions. The regenerative braking system, which can be adjusted via steering wheel-mounted paddles, works well and in its most effective setting, can bring the car to a complete standstill without the need for braking at all.
Comfort levels are good especially up front, but like most compact SUVs rear legroom is a tad limited especially if the front seats are pushed right back. The boot can swallow 332 litres worth of kit - this limit increases to 1,114 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped down. And there is an underfloor compartment to store away the charge cables.
Charging the Kona'sElectric lithium-ion polymer battery up to 80 per cent takes approximately 75 minutes using a fast charger or nine hours and 35 minutes on a standard 7.2kW home-charger.
Safety specifications are high on the Kona EV with the likes ofautonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection, forward collision warning, lane follow and lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, high beam assist, electronic stability control, hill-start assist and a full suite of airbags.
And the Kona EV has a virtual engine sound to warn pedestrians, cyclists oranyone with a vision impairmentthat the car is there.