On the Road: The new Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate
On the Road: The new Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate

Ian Lamming follows the letter of the law in the latest EV from Hyundai

THERE comes a point where we could be forgiven for thinking we live in a police state rather than a democracy and this is one of those points.

Five speed cameras on the school run? Really? That’s tantamount to bullying, surely, particularly when you consider this is not a town or city full of Big Brother paraphernalia but a long rural run across counties.

Five vans left to trap unsuspecting motorists and criminalise their commutes, not to mention generate a great wad of cash for the treasury.

Thank goodness I’m in the new Hyundai Kona Electric – let me explain. Now I’m not an overt lawbreaker by any account but do appreciate that motorists have a lot to think about, are sometimes distracted and can inadvertently stray over the legal limits, albeit for a short period of time, I’m certain.

But we are much less likely to do this in the Kona than other motors because the second you go over the limit the car bings and bongs like a bingy bongy thing. There really are no excuses for speeding and the great thing about this battery powered SUV is that if you lift off the throttle the regenerative braking scrubs off speed in a flash.

Kona EV is incredibly controllable as it doesn’t freewheel as such or gather speed even on a steep descent thanks to the regen-braking. A couple of paddles on the steering wheel can reduce or increase this effect right up to the point where it will actually come to a halt when set on maximum.

You can pretty much forget the brake pedal when using the ‘i-Pedal’ and very soon the driver becomes adept at operating the regen-braking and throttle together.

The other thing about EV’s of course is that you tend to drive them with a light right foot because you want to maximise the range. It is a battle of your psyche because on the one hand the Kona has absolutely stunning performance but on the other you want to get as far as you can on one charge. I tend to favour using the huge torque when performing overtakes but otherwise trundle along to eke out the miles.

Range is pretty good too with 100 per cent battery equating to a very useful 275 miles. When you come to top up the battery it is rapid enough on a supermarket unit but is just as happy taking electricity from a three pin plug in a mains socket, overnight, even without a home charger. Ancillaries, such as the aircon/heater, make very little difference to the range so there’s no need to overheat in the summer or freeze in the winter.

Kona EV also scores highly in the handling department. The extra weight and low weight distribution of the batteries make the Hyundai feel absolutely planted to the road. Steering and suspension are also high quality so the Kona really is an enjoyable drive.

Kona is ultra-modern in design. Gone have the traditional ‘two eyes, one mouth’ aesthetic with the lights dropping to the corners and the nose dominated by a full-width LED strip-light.

The tail is similarly contemporary with taillights at the corners and a red LED strip travelling across the rear.

Innovations stretch to the interior where it is centred around a large touchscreen TFT dashboard. Virtual clocks merge into the touchscreen infotainment centre but, thankfully, primary functions are on old fashioned buttons and there are even a couple of knobs.

Kona’s interior is spacious, well-equipped, easy to live with and very comfortable. It’s bigger than the previous model being 145mm longer, with a wheelbase which is 60mm greater. It is also 25mm wider and 20mm taller.

The list of standard technology includes the dual 12.3-inch panoramic display screens which are backed by full over-the-air updates and something called a Connected Car Navigation Cockpit. There is a standard navigation and infotainment system comprising Bluetooth, DAB radio, LIVE services, MapCare, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, linked to steering wheel controls and front and rear USB C charging points. There’s also a Bose premium sound system with seven speakers, which sounds great.

With all these abilities and such a high specification the Hyundai Kona Electric is definitely a law unto itself.

Fact File

Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate + Lux Pack

Engine: 65kWh electric motor

Power: 218PS

0-62mph: 7.8secs

Top speed: 107mph

Range: 319 miles

Transmission: CVT

CO2 g/km: 0

Price: £44,540.00