For starters the new Kona looks far more appealing with a dynamic SUV style look making it distinctive. And while its very different to the both the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6, it's obviously still part of the Hyundai family. This is all part of the master plan as Lee wants his cars to each have an individual style rather than going down the Russian Doll route that some other brands take. And yes, we’re looking at you Tesla.
But while the exterior, with its big daylight running light that stretches the width of the front and the pixelated lights that are unique to the electric version, has moved the game on, the interior is where the design team have really worked their magic.
Hyundai Kona EV interior and practicality
This is where you begin to understand what Lee means when he talks about a ‘scale up’. The Kona car is longer than its predecessor, although only by 150mm, but because the Kona range has now been designed first and foremost as an electric car, it feels far more spacious inside that that modest increase would suggest.
But while the extra space is welcome, what really hits you is how beautifully designed the interior now looks and feels. It’s a calm uncluttered place to be and now feels more refined than rivals like the VW ID.3, MG4 and Nissan Leaf.
The first thing that grabs your attention inside are the twin 12.3-inch displays, reflecting the screens found in the larger more expensive cars in Hyundai’s range. It looks slick and modern - and in our brief time with the Kona seemed intuitive to use - helping give the interior a premium feel that you wouldn’t normally get with a car in this class.
Another great feature is the way all the driver controls, including the gear selector, are now focused around the steering wheel, just where the driver needs them to be. This leaves space for physical buttons which operate the infotainment system and climate control. We’re big fans of physical buttons for some functions, as it means you don’t need to fiddle around in a touch screen menu whilst you’re driving when you want to change the cabin temperature or the radio station.
Also well positioned on the steering wheel are paddles to adjust the regenerative braking, which has also been up scaled. In a first the Kona is now equipped with a feature called i-PEDAL, which enables a driving mode allowing you to accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator pedal. Working alongside it is a smart regenerative braking system that automatically adjusts the amount of regenerative braking based on information from the flow of traffic, and in another first a head-up display has all the info you need for you drive right in your eyeline.
Reflecting how much thought has gone into this new interior the design team have dropped in some cool details throughout the cabin, like the morse code spelling out the letter ‘H’ in the centre of the steering wheel, replacing the traditional Hyundai badge.
But practicality hasn’t been glossed over in favour of gimmicks; the comfortable seat can be altered to fit drivers small or large and there are plenty of storage areas - from the spacious centre console with a lift out compartment, to pop out cupholders, a small shelf above a good-sized glove box and door bins that will easily hold a large bottle of water. There’s also a wireless charging pad, cleverly tilted so your phone won’t fall out, along with plenty of charging ports, essential for any family car.
Heading into the back you’ll find a nice flat floor and spacious bench seat with good headroom and improved legroom, mainly thanks to the extra length, but also because the front seats have been slimmed down by a third. You don’t notice that when you’re sitting in them, as they’re very comfortable but you benefit from the reduced profile in from the back seat.
In keeping with the Kona’s ambitions of being a family car, you find power points in the back, along with a very useful 3-pin socket. The rear door cubbies are a little on the small size, but you do get storage nets on the back of the front seats.
Round at the back and the boot is also bigger, there’s no official word on its size yet, but its more usable than the current model and comes with a clever feature that allows you to store the parcel shelf up against the back seats when you need to take it out. It’s a small thing, but again we think this is another smart idea that reflects the care and attention given to its design. Up front there’s also a small frunk, ideal for storing your charging cables and in a handy position given that the charging port – which is now illuminated and heated – is also at the front of the car.
Hyundai Kona EV 2023 Technology
The Kona is set to come with an in-built dashcam and options you’d normally associate with larger cars, like full surround-view cameras, a digital rear view mirror and Hyundai’s Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) function that supports both internal and external charging of electrical devices and home appliances. It will also receive over-the-air updates so the latest software update will be made straight to your car in the same way as your phone or laptop, allowing owners to save on cost by avoiding trips to service centres.
Hyundai Kona EV 2023 Range, Battery and Charging
We expect to see two models from launch, long range with a 65.4 kWh battery and a 160 kW motors giving a claimed official WLTP range of 306 miles, along with a standard range 48.4 kWh model with a 114 kW motor with a claimed range of 212 miles. Like it’s stablemate the Kia Niro, the Kona is likely to have a slower peak charging rate than the old one, but by flattening out the charge curve it should charge at a higher average rate, meaning 10-80% of charge should drop from about 47 minutes to nearer 40.
Electric cars from Hyundai are generally extremely efficient and as its range is protected by a battery pre-conditioning system, we’re hopeful this will be the case with the Kona.
Hyundai Kona EV 2023 Verdict
Overall, it feels like the Kona has had a major upgrade, in terms of space, style, and quality and that its interior can now stake claim to being the best in its class. If you’re keen to find out how the new Kona drives, then subscribe to our YouTube channel and you’ll get a notification when our first drive video arrives – or you can subscribe to our newsletter to get updates about all the latest electric car news.
As with all Hyundai’s, the Kona comes with a five year warranty something only the Kia Niro electric and MG’s range can beat. It's a really strong package.