Hyundai Kona EV — A solid entry-level all-electric vehicle

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(March 20, 2022) Buyers looking for their first electric vehicle should put the 2022 Hyundai Kona on their short list. It checked all the boxes for us after a week and 200 miles behind the wheel. It has stylish proportions, it's easy and fun to drive, its gauges and switchgear work exactly like a standard gas engine vehicle, and perhaps at the top of the list — it gets 258 miles on a single charge.


The Kona EV has great bones with the original gas engine version named North American SUV of the year in 2019, beating out some highly regarded competition. And the Kona has lost nothing in translation into an all-electric vehicle.

Like the 2022 Kona N Line we drove a few months ago, the Kona EV comes with some impressive horsepower. The N Line is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine that makes 195 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. It's 0-to-60 number is around six seconds. So it is with the Kona EV that comes with an electric motor good for 201 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque getting its charge from a 64.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack under the car. It keeps its driver amused with a 0-to-60 second time of 6.4 seconds as measured by Car and Driver.

The Kona EV was introduced in 2019 and has maintained the same battery size and range through the years. What's new for 2022 is a restyled exterior that includes a sleeker front fascia design replacing the dimpled grille. it's a sleek, aerodynamic shape with a prominent horizontal character line immediately below the badging and daytime running lights. There's also new wheel designs and a tweaked interior. All Kona EVs now come standard with a 10.3-inch digital gauge display.

For 2022, Hyundai has consolidated trim levels eliminating the top Ultimate trim leaving only the base SEL and the new top-trim Limited. The Limited adds such things as adaptive cruise control, a Harmon Kardon premium audio system, a 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system, power sunroof and heated and cooled front seats. The Limited carries a bottom line of $43,685 including a $1,185 destination charge.

If that is a bridge too far, we recommend opting for the SEL with a starting price of $35,245. You will get a slightly smaller infotainment screen measuring about eight inches and have to settle for cloth seats, but you get the same drivetrain and most of the features owners demand these days. Add the Convenience Package for $3,500 and you can get some desirable things such as a sunroof, wireless smartphone charging pad, 8-way-power driver's seat, heated front seats, and a battery warmer system. That will bring the bottom line to $38,745 including destination.

The Kona EV is eligible for the government's $7,500 tax rebate bringing the bottom line to $31,245. Some states also have an additional EV credit.

One thing the Kona EV does not have is all-wheel drive. People in areas subject to more severe winter weather seeking an AWD electric will need to look elsewhere.

We found the Kona EV a hoot to drive with its small stance and tossable demeanor. It's suitable for energetic merging into fast-moving Interstate highway on ramps or passing a slower moving vehicle on a two-lane road. There's no drama here as the Kona EV works its 201 horsepower magic. It also cruises smoothly at steady highway speeds and feels substantial and planted thanks to the heavy battery mounted in the floor and its resulting low center of gravity.

The Kona EV can be charged up overnight at with Level 2 home charger or a simple 240 outlet in the garage. No need to get the blood pressure up over $4-a-gallon gas prices.

Up-market features standard on the Kona include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, individual tire-pressure monitoring, tilt-telescoping steering wheel, power mirrors, automatic full-LED headlamps and cruise control. And there are actual knobs to control the climate-control system and audio adjustments.

Standard safety includes automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, and blindspot monitoring with cross-traffic alert. If you want adaptive cruise control you will have to purchase the Limited trim.

The well-shaped seats provide plenty of support. But we found legroom a little tighter than we like for rear-seat passengers, and cargo room is less than some others in the segment measured at 19.2 cubic feet behind the seats and 45.8 cubic feet with seatbacks folded. But with a level cargo floor, there is plenty of space for hauling travel gear or a big stop at Costco

Hyundai's 10-year/100,00-mile drivetrain warranty coverage is legendary, and now it's even better because of the recent addition of a three-year/36,000-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance plan. The Kona Electric has no oil or spark plugs to change, so the complimentary scheduled maintenance includes tire rotation, cabin air-filter changes, and a variety of different system inspections.

Our Limited test vehicle carried a bottom line of $43,840, the only option $155 carped floor mats.
If you are new to EV adoption, the Kona EV is about as close to driving an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle as anything now on sale. We think you will be pleased with all driving aspects of this Hyundai.

The hard part of the shopping process is finding the Kona EV that you want. Once you've locked in on a vehicle, says people are currently paying about $1,500 over sticker price.

2022 Hyundai Kona EV


Base price: $35,245; as driven, $43,840
Engine: electric
Battery: 64.0-kWh lithium-ion
Horsepower: 201
Transmission: 1-speed direct drive
Toque: 290 pound-feet
Drive: front wheel
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 102.4 inches
Length: 164.6 inches
Curb weight: 3,836 pounds
Turning circle: 34.8 feet
Luggage capacity: 19.2 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 45.8 cubic feet
EPA rating: 132MPGe city, 108 highway, 120 combined
Range: 258 miles
0-60: 6.4 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Kia Niro EV

The Good
• Excellent handling, fun to drive
• Competitive range
• 10-year warranty

The Bad
• Snug rear seating

The Ugly
• AWD not available