Hyundai’s revamped Kona EV offers more space and a longer range

The original Kona EV was appealing if you wanted a compact electric crossover, but it lost some of its appeal when the longer-range (and frankly more stylish) Ioniq 5 arrived on the scene. However, Hyundai just gave you a reason to reconsider its ‘entry’ model. After months of early looks, the automaker has revealed a sleeker second-generation Kona built with an electric powerplant in mind. It does, however, promise some meaningful improvements to performance and interior design.

The higher capacity 65.4 kWh battery option now provides an estimated range of 304 miles using the WLTP test cycle. We wouldn’t be surprised if the EPA-estimated number is more conservative, but it still suggests a longer range than the 258 miles of the current model. You now get battery preconditioning to improve charge times and cold weather, and vehicle-to-load support lets you power devices both inside and outside the car. There’s also new support for “i-Pedal” single-pedal driving. Just don’t expect the fastest charging. The Kona doesn’t have the 800V architecture of the Ioniq 5 or Kia EV6, so it will take 41 minutes to charge from 10 percent to 80 percent.

No matter what engine system is inside your vehicle, you can expect a larger “living room” with more storage (17 cubic feet in the trunk), a trunk in the front, and plenty of technology in the cabin. An optional heads-up display isn’t available in North America, unfortunately, but you’ll find two 12.3-inch displays, wireless software updates, and NFC-based digital car key support. The driver aids are also reportedly more powerful than in other mini SUVs in this class, such as an attention monitor (to make sure you don’t doze off), a blind spot monitor and forward collision avoidance and safer highway driving assistants.

Hyundai hasn’t detailed U.S. pricing, though it says the Kona will still be available in combustion-only and hybrid versions in addition to the EV. It should reach American customers in the third quarter of the year. If history is any indication, the Kona should cost less than the Ioniq 5. That could make it attractive if you want to go electric, but can’t justify the premium for the brand’s most advanced offering.

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