We’ve already driven the Standard Range model, which offers a WLTP range of up to 234 miles, so our attention here is on the Long Range car. It can do an impressive 319 miles on a single charge, which is a useful step ahead of the 285-mile Niro EV, and the 261-mile BYD Atto 3.
Both variants of the new Kona Electric can charge at up to 102kW. That should allow for a 10-80% charge of the bigger battery in around 40 minutes. It’s faster than the Kia Niro, the old Kona and the BYD Atto 3, but rather sluggish compared to a Cupra Born or Smart #1.
On a route which included a mix of both urban and rural driving – our Long Range test car managed 4.0mpkWh. Considering its rivals can achieve similar returns, that figure puts the Kona EV well into the electric crossover battleground.
Off the mark you get the instant response you expect from an EV, and on the move it has plenty of gusto for a family car. It’s by no means quick, but the acceleration is there should you call upon it.
One bugbear is the steering. The nose is easy to point down a round and it feels predictable, but there isn’t much feedback through the wheel. And despite the weight of the batteries sitting low-down in the Kona EV’s chassis, there’s a fair amount of body lean, even around mid-speed bends.
Nevertheless, there’s plenty of grip, and it flows well enough down a rural road. The Kona is pliant on smoother surfaces, and while there’s an underlying firmness, it copes with bumps and potholes fairly well. There is the odd fidget here and there at higher speeds.
Prices for the new Kona Electric start at £34,995 for the Standard Range car, which comes only in the entry-level Advance trim. The Kona Long Range costs only £3600 more, at £38,595. That’s only slightly dearer than the Kia Niro EV, which has a shorter range and lacks the Kona’s standard-fit heat pump. The BYD Atto 3 is cheaper, too, at £37,695, but its range and driving experience are not as mature as the Kona’s.
The Long Range Model will likely be the choice of many prospective Kona Electric buyers. While it might not move the game on, it significantly improves on its predecessor and will be hard for EV buyers to overlook – and not just because of its larger size.