Why I would choose a Kona EV over a Model 3 again, four years later

I purchased a Hyundai Kona electric as soon as it became available in Australia. After years of driving and commuting in electric vehicles, I was excited to finally have an EV that could match the capabilities of an ICE vehicle. Now, four years later, I wanted to provide a long-term driving review of the Kona electric, especially since many second-hand models are now available in the market.

The Hyundai Kona electric is a small crossover SUV that is only available in front-wheel drive for the electric version. It was first introduced globally in late 2018 and arrived in Australia in March 2019. Since its initial release, there have been a few minor updates, including a widened touchscreen and improved driving range in the 2020 model, and exterior changes and the addition of a “Standard Range” version in 2021. Additionally, an all-new Kona electric model is set to be released later this year, featuring a larger size and a more EV-optimized platform.

In terms of driving experience, the Kona electric has exceeded my expectations. I have taken it on long trips across different states in Australia, and it has proven itself capable of replacing an ICE vehicle for long-distance driving. However, the Kona electric does not have a tow rating, which has been a drawback for me. Despite assurances from Hyundai that a tow rating would be available in the future, they eventually ruled it out, forcing me to keep an ICE vehicle for towing purposes.

The interior of the Kona electric is comfortable and ergonomic, with a mix of physical buttons and a touchscreen. The materials used in the interior are not premium, but they are suitable for a mid-level car. As for driving range, the European WLTP test gave a range of 449km for the 2019 model, which I have found to be accurate for city driving. On the highway, the US EPA range of 415km aligns well with my experience.

In terms of charging, the Kona electric uses the CCS2 charging plug, which is standard in Australia. It can be charged at most public AC charge points and DC chargers, except for Tesla Superchargers. While its maximum charge rates may be considered lower compared to newer EVs, I have not found them to be limiting for my day-to-day driving. AC charging at 7.4kW is sufficient for home charging, and DC charging rates are adequate for long-distance travel.

Maintenance for the Kona electric is relatively straightforward, with a service interval of 15,000 km or 12 months. The cost for a service is $165, which includes a safety check, software updates, and roadside assistance renewal. Unlike ICE vehicles, the Kona electric does not have escalating service costs over the years, and there are no regular replacements of costly parts like timing belts and water pumps.

However, the Kona electric does have some downsides. As an electric version built on an ICE platform, it has wasted space in the engine bay and central transmission hump, resulting in a small boot volume and a large center console. Additionally, it lacks a tow rating, which has been a major drawback for me.

Given the current EV options available, including the Tesla Model 3 and upcoming models like the MG4 and VW ID.3, I would still choose the Kona electric for its performance, range, and price. The MG4 and VW ID.3 offer some appealing features, but they do not provide a significant improvement over the Kona electric. The Leaf is showing its age and has limitations in range and charging. While the Tesla Model 3 is a strong competitor, the Kona electric still offers a compelling option at a lower price point.

In the future, the all-new Kona electric and the MG4 could be potential contenders for me, depending on their specifications and prices. However, what I truly desire is a smaller, long-range EV with fast AC charging and towing capabilities, which is not currently available in the Australian market.

Overall, I am satisfied with my Hyundai Kona electric and would recommend it to anyone looking for a reliable and capable electric vehicle.
Why I would choose a Kona EV over a Model 3 again, four years later

The electric vehicle (EV) industry has come a long way in recent years, with numerous manufacturers offering compelling options to consumers. One of the most prominent contenders in the market is Tesla, known for its sleek and innovative Model 3. However, after having experienced both the Model 3 and the Hyundai Kona Electric, I find myself favoring the latter for a variety of reasons. Even after four years, the Kona EV’s attributes continue to make it a superior choice, in my opinion.

Firstly, let’s talk about range. One of the most significant concerns with EVs is their limited range, but the Hyundai Kona Electric tackles this issue impressively. With a range of up to 258 miles on a single charge, it provides a sense of freedom and confidence to drivers, eliminating range anxiety. On the other hand, the Model 3, while commendable, falls slightly short with a range of around 250 miles. While the difference may not be substantial, it can still make a difference in terms of peace of mind during long-distance travels.

Another aspect that sets the Kona EV apart is its affordability. Tesla is notorious for its higher price tag, particularly with the Model 3, which is considered more of a premium offering. In contrast, the Kona EV offers similar performance, ample range, and advanced safety features at a considerably lower price point. This makes EV technology more accessible to a broader range of individuals, encouraging adoption and ultimately contributing to a greener future.

Furthermore, the driving experience of the Kona EV is refined and comfortable. Its suspension setup skillfully absorbs road imperfections, resulting in a smooth and enjoyable ride. The cabin space is well-utilized, providing ample legroom and headroom for both the driver and passengers. Coupling this with a quiet and vibration-free electric drivetrain, the Kona EV ensures a serene and tranquil traveling experience that surpasses that of its competitors, including the Model 3.

Practicality is also worth mentioning when comparing the Kona EV and the Model 3. While Tesla vehicles are renowned for their innovative and futuristic interiors, some practical considerations have been neglected. The Kona EV, on the other hand, excels in terms of cargo space. With 19.2 cubic feet of cargo area, it easily outperforms the Model 3, which provides only 15 cubic feet. This additional space in the Kona EV makes it suitable for daily errands, family outings, or even longer journeys that require more luggage or equipment.

Lastly, let’s not overlook Hyundai’s commitment to safety. The Kona EV boasts an array of advanced safety features, including forward collision avoidance assist, blind-spot collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic collision warning. Combined with its sturdy build quality, the Kona EV prioritizes the well-being and security of its occupants. Tesla vehicles, including the Model 3, provide similar safety features, but the Hyundai Kona Electric’s comprehensive approach to safety is truly impressive.

In conclusion, even after four years since its launch, the Hyundai Kona Electric continues to be a superior choice for those seeking an electric vehicle. Its impressive range, affordability, refined driving experience, practicality, and commitment to safety make it a compelling alternative to the Tesla Model 3. As the EV market continues to evolve and more models enter the fray, it is crucial to consider all available options thoroughly. The Kona EV, with its array of appealing qualities, proves that it is indeed a worthy contender in the ever-expanding world of electric vehicles.