A Bigger and Better Kona EV? Yes!!!

By: Jag Dhatt

Given the popularity of the Hyundai brand in the past many years, we seriously have to wonder if the manufacturer may have just found the right formula for not only their gas and hybrid powered vehicles, but their EVs as well. The company is doing everything right and it shows in their yearly sales growth.

The Ioniq 5 has already been a great seller for the past two years and a few weeks ago, I had the chance to test the newly redesigned 2024 Kona Electric. How is it? Long story short – it follows what Hyundai is getting accolades for and that is building good vehicles for the average citizen.

The Kona Electric was launched in 2019, and so for 2024, it was time for a refresh. Don’t get me wrong; the outgoing model was very good. For a new family, empty nesters, and even students, it was a great option. It was easy to park, drove well, and was a great vehicle for the city. Where it lacked was in its size…. not anymore. So, let’s get into this first.

The 2024 Hyundai Kona is longer, taller and wider than its predecessor. Most noticeable is in the second row and cargo area. The 2023 model had a cramped second row seat; when we did a side-by-side comparison, my 6’2” friend sat comfortably in the 2024 model and felt tight in the 2023 model. This was after he set the driver seat to his regular seating position. So yes, the additional space in the second row is noticeable.

The cargo area is bigger, and I mean way bigger. Now, the Kona Electric gets 700 liters with the second-row seats up and a very respectable 1800 liters with them folded. The 2023 model had 544 and 1296 liters respectively. Again, big and noticeable difference.

As in the inside, the 2024 Kona Electric is bigger on the outside. Aside from the size, redesigned Kona is edgier. The front and back of the vehicle are rounded whereas the side profile shows a lot of “edgy” cladding and body lines. While this look may not really fit the gas-powered version, it does work for the EV variant because as we know, most EVs are slightly edgy. I do like the Seamless Horizon lightbar, which acts as the daytime running light at the front and the pixel lighting on the rear bumper. If you think you’ve seen something similar on other Hyundai models, you are correct as the redesigned Kona EV gets lots of inspiration from the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6.

What Else is Good?

The 2024 Kona Electric does shine in many areas, other than just the increased size. For one, the cabin in beautifully designed. It looks modern and feels airy. The open concept design works for this vehicle very well. There is an available sunroof that adds more light into the cabin and it’s great for those dreary months.

The front seats are very comfortable and with their narrower design, provide better support for passengers. The rear seats are just as comfortable, and with the extra space, rear passengers are much more comfortable.

What is really nice, and borrowed from its siblings, is the center dual screens. They provide great clarity, and the updated infotainment system works really well. Hyundai has done a great job in keeping the system easy to use. And what I really like is that unlike what some other manufacturers are doing, Hyundai has kept lots of buttons for basic functions and controls. Keeping with the connected theme, the 2024 Kona Electric features WIRELESS Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Thank you, Hyundai.

What buyers of this vehicle will really like is its range and charging system. The 2024 Kona Electric features a maximum range of 420 km. Keep in mind that this Kona is ONLY available in a single-motor design that provides power to the front wheels (there is no AWD option unless you opt for the gas-powered variant). The 64.8kW battery can be charged from 10-80% in just 43 minutes using a 100 kW DC fast charger. On a level two charger, the vehicle can be charged from 5-100% in about 6 hours.

What Needs to Improve?

While there’s a lot to like in the 2024 Kona Electric, there are some shortcomings. The most notable has to be surprising amount of noise coming into the cabin. I thought that like the Tucson hybrid, the Kona Electric would also be quiet. Not so as there is more than expected tire and wind noise. Hyundai definitely should have added more insulation to address this issue.

Moving to the inside of the vehicle, while there are heated (and optional vented seats) up front, heated rear seats aren’t even available. What’s more is that the front passenger seat is only manually adjusted (no power seat). And if you have multiple drivers for your 2024 Kona Electric, you’re going to miss seat memory; again, it’s not even available. Continuing with the power options, there’s also no power trunk, so you have to use manual arm power.

How Does it Drive?

As I said before, the updated 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric is built for the average citizen and thus, the drive is very good. It’s not a rocket, or even close to, let’s say older siblings like the Ioniq 5 or Ioniq 6; but remember, its purpose is different. For the average commuter, this car will provide enough power and torque for all daily driving. While power stays the same as the outgoing model at 201 hp, torque is down from 200 lb-ft to 188 lb-ft. I was hoping for more torque considering the vehicle is now larger.

Around town, the Kona Electric is a breeze to drive. It’s nimble, easy to park, and given the immediate torque, useful when making quick lane changes or passes. One useful feature I did like was the adaptive deceleration, which is based on the adaptive cruise control radar. This helps keep a safe distance from vehicles in front. I also found the paddle shifters very useful when setting the perfect regeneration amount based on my drive. During slow drives or in traffic, I had it set to the highest regeneration mode, thus being one-pedal driving. On highways and higher speeds, I had regeneration set to default.

The Verdict:

The 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric did one thing that many people wanted and that was grow up. The larger, wider and longer updated Kona will be much more appealing to those who thought the outgoing model was slightly snug.

I like the new Kona Electric a LOT. It did everything I could ask for and for the most part, I had little to complain about this EV. The 2024 Kona Electric isn’t cheap, but which EV really is. As it stands, the 2024 Kona Electric starts at $46, 339, which is a whopping $8500 more than the top trim gas-powered Kona N-Line 1.6L Turbo Ultimate. Yes, it does qualify for both federal and provincial rebates; had this vehicle been priced slightly more aggressive, it would be a winner for many.



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