F3: Fast, Fun And Featured
Hyundai recently announced the facelifted 2021 Kona EV. This mid-sized electric SUV from Hyundai is one of the most seen EVs on the Nepali roads. Kona EV has been much loved by Nepali consumers since it first launched in 2019.
Although previously I got a chance to try out another EV from Hyundai, the Ioniq, I never had the opportunity to test drive the Kona. I loved the Ioniq and was pretty certain that the new 2021 Kona would deliver on my expectations. Let’s see whether it did and what are the upgrades that the new Kona gets.
From the outside the new Kona retains a similar shape as its predecessor. The major change you see is in the front of the car. The facelifted Kona gets a sharp angular nose, giving it a more aggressive look. The redesigned LED DRLs and headlamps add to the aggressive look of the vehicle.
The new Kona is given a flush front by removing the grille-like design from the 2019 model. The charging port is also placed on the fascia of the electric SUV. Like its predecessor the new Kona obtains the air vents on the lower part which have been slightly tweaked.
It is the side which looks the most similar with its predecessor. The thick black cladding on the wheel arches and door panels are removed on the new model. However, the car gets a thin lining of cladding on the very bottom of the car. Other than that, the design of the alloy wheels is now changed but personally I liked the alloy design of the older model as it looks quite unique and futuristic.
On the rear, the major difference are the tail lamps. To match the front, the rear also gets angular and sharp making the car look more aggressive and modern. Moreover, Hyundai has also ditched the plastic cladding surrounding the tail lamp which suits the clean design elements of the car. The rear bumper has also been slightly redesigned.
Interior and Features
As soon as you get inside the cabin, you are welcomed by an all-new 10.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster which displays various information to the driver such as trip meter, average speed, range and more. The colour theme on the instrument cluster changes as you select different driving modes: Normal is indicated as white and blue, Eco as green, and Sport as red. Besides that, the cabin looks very similar to the model it replaces. On the centre of the dash you get an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The controls for the infotainment are now placed under the screen on the new Kona. Other minor changes include the redesigned AC vents. The smartly laid out cabin of the car feels quite upmarket. Additional features include wireless phone charging and automatic climate control.
Talking about the seats, the car has black leather seats and the front seats can be adjusted electronically. The seats are comfortable and provide a good amount of support to the back and thighs. Both seats in the front can be heated and cooled as well so you don’t have to worry about cold winter days and scorching heat. Getting into the back is very easy, thanks to its wide-opening doors. The rear seats felt very comfortable to sit in with good thigh support and decent legroom and headroom.
Performance and Safety
The 2021 Kona comes with the same 39.2 kWh battery pack. The company claims that the car can run up to 305 km on a single charge. The electric motor generates a maximum power of 134hp and 395 Nm of torque. The car has a top speed of 155 kmph. As it’s an electric vehicle, you will not hear any engine sound, making the driving experience smooth and seamless. As soon as you lift your foot off the brake pedal, the car starts moving which makes driving easier for beginners though it will take some time to get used to it. The best thing about an electric motor is the instant torque as soon as you put your foot down. You get to choose from three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. Eco gives the most driving range and Sport for spirited driving while Normal balances power and range.
Kona offers three levels of regenerative braking system which come into play as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator pedal. This smart feature allows the motor to spin in the opposite direction and generates electricity that goes back into the battery to recharge itself, adding more range to the car. The regenerative system also helps the car to slow down, so you don’t have to press the brakes often while going downhill. The brakes on the Kona felt responsive and capable of bringing the car to a halt quickly after a high-speed run. The Auto Hold feature on the car holds the car on the slope automatically so that you don’t have to hold your foot down on the brake pedal.
The car feels very steady even at high speeds though you will feel a slight body roll going around corners. Driving in the city felt easy due to the responsive steering wheel. The suspension setup is neither too soft nor hard and the car soaked up small bumps with ease.
On the safety front, the Kona is equipped with Forward Collision-avoidance Assist (FCA), Blind-spot Collision Warning (BCW), Rear-Cross Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), High beam assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (ISLW) and more.
The new Kona definitely lived up to my expectations. Although not much has been changed on the new Kona, the car still offers a whole lot of features at a price of Rs 59,96,000. The electric SUV is comfortable and fun to drive. Kona can be a great options if you are looking for a reliable and well equipped eco-friendly family SUV.