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2020 Hyundai Kona Electric Remains A Solid Alternative To Tesla’s Model 3

  • The Hyundai Kona Electric receives few changes for the new model year.
  • Connectivity features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Sirius XM. 
  • Total system horsepower is over 200 while total range exceeds 250 miles. 

The Hyundai Kona Electric remains my favorite all-electric vehicle. For the 2020 model year, Hyundai is kind enough to update it with new features. However, not much has changed from the original formula, and that’s fine by me. After all, why mess up a good thing? We featured the Kona Electric in our virtual showdown against the Tesla Model 3 a couple of months back, and it had a lot going for it despite the Tesla being more athletic, faster – and in the eyes of many – cooler than the humble Kona.

Hyundai Kona Electric: What’s New For 2020?

In order to keep the Kona EV fresh in the eyes and hearts of potential buyers, Hyundai is offering a larger infotainment and navigation screen. You now have 10.25-inches of real estate versus the outgoing model’s paltry eight-inch screen, but base models still get a standard seven-inch touchscreen. And that’s essentially it. No, I’m not kidding.

The only change in the interior is a larger floating display along with softer materials in the center console, particularly the HVAC control system. Despite these minor changes, you still get a bevy of standard tech features befitting of a modern electric car. This includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 4G LTE connectivity, and SiriusXM.

You also get a seven-inch LCD gauge cluster, a power driver’s seat, proximity key, and heated leather seats. If you want to feel like you’re in a fighter jet, the available eight-inch heads-up display will fulfill your whims. Pressing a button on the steering wheel activates the display as it rises from the dashboard. Pressing the button again retracts the display into the dashboard for a cleaner look.

New Battery Warmer System

According to Hyundai, this system helps minimize battery-power losses during cold weather. Additionally, it helps cut charging times during the winter. This new feature is standard only on Limited and higher trims.

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Hyundai uses proprietary hot-stamping methods and structural adhesives to reduce weight and maximize torsional rigidity. A “multi-load path structure” helps dispense crash energy away from occupants. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

Power & Performance: Same Basic Formula For 2020

When we pitted the Hyundai Kona EV against the Tesla Model 3 for our virtual showdown, we liked how Hyundai is peddling its first all-electric crossover at a lower price point. The Kona is essentially a five-seat crossover, so it has a lot going for it considering American buyers have a penchant for higher-riding SUVs. In fact, the Kona Electric offers 19.2 cubic feet of rear cargo volume – the same as the normal Kona.

We also like how Hyundai retained the same basic recipe for efficient propulsion. The Kona EV still receives a single 150 kW permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor. It produces 210 horsepower and 291 lb-ft. of torque, all of which are fed to the front wheels. This is enough for a zero to 60 mph time of 7.6 seconds.

Of course, those speed numbers are mincemeat compared to the Tesla Model 3. The Standard Range Plus has a single electric motor. But instead of driving the front wheels, the base Model 3 is rear-wheel drive. It scoots to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and achieves a range of 240 miles.

And this is where we separate apples from oranges.

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2020 Hyundai Kona Electric under the hood. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

What Is The Total Range of The 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric?

You see, the Tesla Model 3 is superior to all EVs in terms of performance; there’s no doubt about it. Yet, if you consider base prices, the Model 3 lags behind in overall range, which is something to consider if you’re spending close to $39,000 (before incentives) for a new electric vehicle.

The Hyundai Kona Electric may be down in power and agility, but it makes up for it in range. It still has a high-voltage, 64 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack. This is good enough for an estimated 258 miles of range.

Although the Model 3 comes with DC fast-charging and a standard 32-amp onboard charger, the Kona EV also comes with a Level-III quick charge port to replenish the batteries from zero to 80 percent at 100 kW. Moreover, the Kona also comes with a 7.2 kW Level-II charger, good enough to fully juice up the batteries in around nine hours.

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The Kona Electric utilizes a standard Level-II on-board charging system, capable of a 7.2 kW rate of charge. Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

Standard Remote Connectivity

Using the MYHyundai with Blue Link app, owners can access real-time data and monitor vehicle settings using a compatible smartphone or tablet. You can start the car, lock the doors, or search for directions remotely so everything is ready when you enter the Kona EV. The Blue Link app lets you manage the charging schedule, which is handy. For instance, you can program the app to only charge your Kona EV during off-peak hours. This unique feature also displays the current battery level, charging status, and offers vehicle diagnostics on your smartphone.

The 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric also comes standard with forward collision-avoidance assist. However, additional features like lane-keeping assist, high-beam assist, and driver attention warning are optional. No, you don’t get Autopilot or any semblance of autonomous driving in the Kona EV. Then again, this also means fewer things are bound to go wrong in the long run.

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Photo: Hyundai Motor America.

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric: Pricing & Availability

Sadly, the Hyundai Kona EV might still not make it to most U.S. states. According to Hyundai, first deliveries are expected to start early next year in California and other ZEV-focused states in the western and northeastern regions of the U.S. market. And while Hyundai remains mum on pricing and other relevant info, we suspect the 2020 model to remain at under $30,000 after tax credits.

Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine. 

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric Gallery

Photos & Source: Hyundai Motor America.

  1. I also would love to know if the 2020 Kona EVs will arrive in the Northeast before year end. I’ve been waiting for a couple of months already for the arrival, and the dealers/Hyundai pussy-foot around the issue. One wonders if a bunch of the EVs were sunk with that Hyundai car carrier ship off Georgia in September…..

  2. My local dealer in SoCal received several 2020 Kona Electrics during the first week in November 2019.

  3. Reviews and reviewers are less than honest in how they present information on electric cars.
    First, the Kona electric is a LOT quicker 0-60 than almost EIGHT SECONDS! I’ve engaged in countless “stop-light races” with ICE cars that never had a chance and the “race” wasn’t even close! Granted if the person “testing” the Kona is a buffoon with a lead foot and nothing between the ears, stomping on the go pedal in Sport mode is an EXCELLENT way to spin the front tires into a cloud of smoke while the other car is pulling away! However, with understanding of the Kona’s behavior characteristics and judicious application of power, the Kona easily accelerates 0-60 in UNDER 6 seconds which is validated by heads-up, full-power acceleration against ICE cars which have an agonizing “lag time” from pushing the gas until they start moving, then labor to accelerate with more lag due to gear shifts – something Kona electric does not need. From pedal-press to whatever speed, it’s instant movement with acceleration so strong it pushes the seat into your shoulders! I would love to see someone put a set of super-sticky tires on a Kona electric along with a method of stiffening the rear suspension to counter severe tail squat under acceleration. I believe the Kona could easily be very close to 5 second 0-50 times. But of course, that’s not what the Kona is really about and a POOR comparison point!
    How about we compare factory warranty support…an area where Hyundai cleans EVERYBODY’S clock! The battery warranty on the Kona electric is “lifetime” which in Hyundai’s lexicon means exactly what it says. Tesla sure doesn’t have the “stones” to publish such a warranty!
    And then comes the lie about “price after tax credit”. There needs to be a law against making such obviously false claims. The PRICE of a Kona or Tesla, or any other car is precisely what you PAY for it when you sign the contract! If the out-the-door price is $48,000 dollars, then guess what….you PAY $48,000 DOLLARS! The “tax credit” only comes into play when you file your yearly tax return. The $7,500 tax credit off-sets your gross earnings, or “reduces them” by the stated amount. Your final taxes are assessed base on this credit, along with any other tax credits like say, your kids, or your house, or your non-working spousal unit! None of this applies to the purchase cost of your new electric car – not from ANYONE. Reviewers: PLEASE STOP LYING about what tax credits are, and how they are applied!

      1. You are grossly misinformed about how tax credits work. I suggest you visit a CPA to do your tax return as a tax CREDIT does not offset your gross earnings, it actually REDUCES your tax liability. Holy misinformation batman.

  4. We bought the 2019 Kona electric in March and love it! My husband installed a charger that allows him to keep the car charged up and he drives the car back and forth to work almost every day. When I don’t feel like going to a gas station to wait in line for the privilege of paying almost $4 a gallon for gas, I’ll take the Kona to run errands and it’s a lot of fun to drive because it’s very sporty and seems like I’m always out-running cameros and mustangs at the stop lights!
    I love the styling and the all leather seats and the amazing quiet when driving around! My husband figured out a way to turn VESS off (or on) so now the car is whisper quiet at parking lot speeds!
    I hope Hyundai will eventually decided to produce an all electric the size of the Santa Fe or even Palisade!

  5. And while Hyundai remains mum on pricing and other relevant info, we suspect the 2020 model to remain at under $30,000 after tax credits.

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  6. Fat chance on a price anything near 30k for Kona EV (mid-level trim) even after Fed and state rebates factored in. Just left a Colorado dealership who ADDED 5k to the advertised MSRP, because they pay the stated MSRP to have privilege of selling it…that’s how they pay for cost of having it on the lot (and of course profit). Really…a hair over 52k before rebates…yes, you read it correctly.

    They also could not tell me fine print on the battery warranty beyond “hey, original owner gets lifetime battery which is most costly component on the car…” When asked if degradation beyond a certain percentage was covered…response = uh don’t know.

    Result of my visit was to thank them for their time and walk away. Hope my wife doesn’t actually want to drop that ridiculous price on an EV, though both of us really want to do our part environmentally.

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