When it was originally launched in 2017, the distinctively styled Hyundai Kona was available with petrol, diesel and hybrid power.
The pure electric version followed in 2018 when it was crowned Affordable Electric Car of the Year at the Auto Express Awards.
Facelifted in 2021, it now looks better than ever. The best way to differentiate the new Kona from the pre-facelift car is to check out the new-look closed grille, LED daytime running lights, sharper headlights, revised rear lamps and painted wheel arch extensions.
Priced from £32,450, this cool crossover is available with either a 39KWh battery pack (giving a range of up to 189 miles) or the more expensive 64KWh version (up to 300 miles).
Our test car was fitted with the larger battery/electric motor combo, giving an output of 201bhp, which results in a 0-62mph of 7.9 seconds. Naturally, CO2 emissions are zero.
For comparison, the 39KWh version produces 133bhp and is two seconds slower in the sprint.
A full charge at home using a 7kW wall box takes around nine hours 15 minutes in the 64kWh model, while an 80% charge can take as little as 47 minutes at a rapid 100kW DC charging station, or about an hour at a (more common) 50kW charge point.
Externally, the Hyundai Kona Electric is a crowd-pleaser, but it’s smart inside too, with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display, driver’s digital display and dinky little drive selector in the centre console by the double cupholder.
Equipment levels are high with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic lights, adaptive cruise control, climate control and keyless entry standard with entry-level SE Connect trim.
The top-of-the-range Ultimate’s nice-haves include a head-up display, but at £39,900 it’s starting to get expensive, so we’d suggest the mid-range Premium with the 64kWh battery option is the way to go.
The cabin is spacious with plenty of head and legroom front and back, however, the boot only has a modest 332-litre load capacity, or 1,114 litres available with the rear seats folded (though they won’t go fully flat).
Our only other criticism of the interior is that there is a lot of plastic on show, and it could be a tad classier like its big brother, the all-new Tucson.
Swift, almost silent, and comfortable, the Kona Electric is a pleasure to drive. It’s quick off the line too.
Switch from Eco or Normal to Sport mode and it feels livelier, just don’t expect a performance SUV. Drive is through the front wheels and there’s only so much power a relatively tall, heavy-ish crossover can handle, especially in the wet or on loose surfaces.
That said, we reckon Hyundai has got the balance right. In fact, body control in more challenging corners will impress even the most spirited of drivers, which is surprising because it weighs around 300kg more than its ICE powered siblings.
Making the best use of regenerative braking (which adds charge to the battery by recovering energy otherwise wasted) helps too, and the Kona allows you to use the paddles behind the steering wheel on downhill stretches or coming up to junctions to increase the effect.
Ultimately, a real-world range of around 250 miles is realistic, though that will depend on factors such as the temperature, journey terrain and the way you drive.