Hyundai Kona Hatchback

The Hyundai Kona Electric is significant. Significant, because more and more people are turning their backs on combustion engines, but also because small SUVs are a piping-hot topic. With the Hyundai Kona Electric, you’re getting pure electric power in an SUV package, and it’s not as expensive as you might think.

OK, so it costs more than others Hyundai Konas with petrol and diesel engines further down the range, but next to alternative EVs such as the Nissan leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf and BMW i3, the Kona Electric is temptingly priced.

There are two power outputs to consider when buying a Hyundai Kona Electric – a 39kWh model with 135hp and official range of 180 miles, or a ‘Long-range’ 64kWh version with 204hp and up to 279 miles of range. Then there are three trim levels, SE, Premium and Premium SE, but all Hyundai Kona Electric models benefit from the Government’s £3500 EV grant.

And Hyundai has made the Kona Electric feel like it’s a range-topping model inside. You get a different, raised central console to the one you’ll find in regular Konas, and it looks and feels more premium. The dashboard also gets unique trim inserts, while above sits a 7.0-inch infotainment screen flanked by menu shortcut buttons, which increases to 8.0 inches on more expensive models. All cars, though, get a 7.0inch digital instrument cluster rather than analogue dials, further distinguishing the Kona Electric within the Kona range.

Even so, although the Kona Electric gives the Nissan Leaf a run for its money for wow-factor inside, an e-Golf and i3 both looks and feel more upmarket if that’s what matters to you most.

The Kona Electric’s standard infotainment system is easy to use and comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring – so you can seamlessly use the sat-nav and music apps on your smartphone on the Kona’s screen, as well as viewing a large range of EV-centric power and range info.

It’s worth stepping up to the 8.0-inch display if you can, though. Its graphics are clear and you can swipe through menus like you do on your smartphone. It also comes with a generous seven-year subscription to Hyundai’s live services so the integrated sat-nav can route you around congestion and give live weather updates. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also included.

Space inside the Hyundai Kona Electric is a mixed bag. On the one hand front passengers benefit from lots of seat adjustment and the driver a wide range of steering wheel adjustment to ensure a comfortable driving position, while space around the seats in the front is impressive.

However, a couple more adults in the back seats won’t be so comfortable as, even if head room is decent, leg room is at more of a premium. In short, both a Leaf and e-Golf will transport rear passengers in more comfort.

And the Kona’s transition to electric power hurts boot space too, so the regular Kona’s already-disappointing 361 litres of space (next to other small SUV efforts) drops to an even tighter 332 litres when you go for an Electric model. At least 60:40 split-folding rear seats still feature as standard to open up the space should you need a run to the rubbish dump.

SE models come with plenty of standard equipment, including 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, air-con, cruise control and rear parking sensors with rear camera. Stepping up to Premium gets you automatic wipers, rear privacy glass, LED rear lights, front and rear parking sensors and an upgraded Krell sound system, while Premium SE models get leather seats all-round with electric front seats, a head-up display, LED headlights and a heated steering wheel.

Every Hyundai Kona Electric gets automatic emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, lane keep assist and tyre pressure monitoring, but Premium and Premium SE models get blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and lane follow assist to that list.