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William Maley

Geneva 2018: Hyundai Kona Electric is Somehow More Funky: Comments

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When Hyundai unveiled the Kona subcompact crossover last year, they said an electric variant would be following. Today, the Korean automaker has unveiled the Kona EV before its official debut next week at the Geneva Motor Show.

Styling for the large part is the same as the regular Kona. The only real difference is up front where the grille is closed off and features a little door hiding the charging point. Other design changes include a two-tone roof and 17-inch alloy wheels. For the interior, Hyundai has added a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and a push-button gear selector. 

Hyundai will be offering two versions of the Kona EV. The standard model uses a 133 horsepower electric motor and 39.2-kWh battery pack that will give a max range of 186 miles on the new Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). A Long-range version packs 201 horsepower from its electric motor and 64-kWh battery pack. Max range is said to be 292 miles on the WLTP cycle.

Recharging is said to take around 6 hours and 10 minutes for the standard model and 9 hours and 40 minutes for the long-range model. Hyundai doesn't say if this is when the model is plugged into a 240V charger or not. When plugged into a 100-kW DC fast charger, it will take 54 minutes for both models to get an 80 percent charge.

No word on Hyundai is planning to launch the Kona EV in Europe. We expect Hyundai to make some announcement on the Kona EV for the U.S. at the New York Auto Show later in the month.

Source: Hyundai
Press Release is on Page 2


Highlights of All-New Hyundai Kona Electric

  • With the launch of the All-New Kona Electric, Hyundai Motor is offering the first fully-electric subcompact SUV on the European market.
  • The All-New Kona Electric is a car of no compromise, combining Hyundai’s progressive SUV style and a zero-emission electric powertrain.
  • The new model in Hyundai’s eco line-up is available with two different powertrain versions, offering an outstanding range of up to 470 kilometres.
  • The first fully-electric subcompact SUV features a unique exterior design with closed grille and a dedicated centre console in the interior for intuitive operation of the shift-by-wire module.
  • The All-New Kona Electric carries the same expressive design and 'go-anywhere' attitude of the regular Kona.
  • Thanks to its roominess, the All-New Kona Electric is a versatile car, making it suitable for everyday use.
  • The new seven-inch supervision cluster provides relevant driving information, additionally the combiner head-up display projects it directly to the driver’s line of sight.
  • The All-New Kona Electric offers a wide range of active Hyundai SmartSense safety features.

27 February 2018 - With the All-New Kona Electric, Hyundai Motor is offering the first fully-electric subcompact SUV on the European market combining the two hottest automotive trends - eco-mobility and SUV style.

"Hyundai Motor is already leading in future mobility solutions. By launching our All-New Kona Electric, we are pushing our ambitious eco car strategy forward. It's a car of no compromise - combining an SUV body type with electric-mobility. It represents Hyundai's progressive character. With Hyundai Motor, the future is now!"

Andreas-Christoph Hofmann
Vice President Marketing and Product at Hyundai Motor Europe

Established SUV brand with a progressive mind set
The All-New Kona Electric is the latest addition to the successful family reinforcing the company’s leadership in the eco-car segment. It merges the strengths of SUV with the power of electric powertrains. Hyundai is the first automotive brand in Europe to make a fully-electric subcompact SUV available to everyone. By already offering the broadest range of powertrains, Hyundai is at the forefront of eco-mobility. The company marketed the first mass-produced fuel-cell vehicle, the ix35 Fuel Cell, and recently introduced its successor, the All-New NEXO. Additionally, the IONIQ is the first car available with three different electric powertrains in one body type. Winning several prestigious accolades from media and industry organisations, the IONIQ is one of the most awarded eco-cars in Europe. The success story of Hyundai’s SUV range began 17 years ago with the launch of the Santa Fe. Since 2001 Hyundai has sold more than 1.5 million units of Santa Fe, Grand Santa Fe, Tucson and All-New Kona in Europe. They all carry the dynamic, progressive style of Hyundai and make it an established brand in this still-growing segment.

A car of no compromise
The All-New Kona Electric enables customers to combine the two fastest growing automotive trends – electrification and SUV style. It carries the same expressive design and 'go-anywhere' attitude of the regular Kona. The fully-electric version reflects the individual lifestyle of modern customers who, benefit from great fun-to-drive and the low environmental impact of a fully-electric car. The completely new platform of the Kona enables a space-saving integration of the battery packs without compromising the roominess.

The power of All-New Kona Electric: You define it.
The All-New Kona Electric features two different powertrain versions, offering customers one of the most powerful electric motors. The long-range battery version provides driving range of up to 470 kilometres*, delivering a maximum output of 204 PS (150 kW). With a battery capacity of 39,2 kWh, the basic version drives up to 300km* on a single charge with the motor delivering 135PS (99 kW). With 395 Nm of immediate torque and an acceleration of 7.6 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, the All-New Kona Electric provides a real fun-to-drive experience.

Progressive design
The All-New Kona Electric adopts the expressive-looking and powerful front from the regular Kona. The key design differentiator is the closed grille which gives a clean and stylish appearance, while also enhancing aerodynamics. Another characteristic element of the front design is the Composite Light enhancing the visual impact, with the LED Daytime Running Lights positioned on top of the LED headlights. The Kona Electric’s two-tone roof and the choice of seven distinctive exterior colours underline the personal style of its driver.

Electric drive feeling
A special feature of the All-New Kona Electric is the shift-by-wire operation module which enables an intuitive operation of the electric powertrain. The adjustable regenerative braking system allows the driver to adjust the intensity of the regenerative braking by using the paddle shifts behind the steering wheel. The system recuperates additional energy when possible. Drivers also benefit from the large seven-inch supervision cluster, which displays key information about the car’s driving performance and, in addition, the combiner head-up display shows relevant driving information directly to the driver’s line of sight.

Connected and caring
The All-New Kona Electric offers a wide range of connectivity features, such as the infotainment system which integrates navigation, media and connectivity features, e.g. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Wireless Charging. The new eco-model in Hyundai’s line-up is equipped with the company’s latest active safety and driving assistance technologies, called SmartSense: Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Collision Warning including Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Intelligent Speed Limit Warning and Lane Following Assist.


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Very Cool :metal: 

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I really like how these look actually, and I like that they offer 2 different battery pack levels, although it would be nice to get the 200 hp motor on the smaller battery pack if you didn't need long range because you just went to work and back in it.

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41 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

I really like how these look actually, and I like that they offer 2 different battery pack levels, although it would be nice to get the 200 hp motor on the smaller battery pack if you didn't need long range because you just went to work and back in it.

My gut tells me the bigger battery is needed due to the HP as heavy foot will eat up the charge.

Wish the BOLT had a bigger battery pack option. LG makes one, Chevy should for the 2019 BOLT offer the bigger battery pack option and update the interior I think. Course this could happen with the BOLT version 2.0 that comes out then I believe.

I also wish they would take the Metallic Green from the trucks and offer it on the BOLT. That is an awesome color that I think people would love to have.

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Even if the 200 hp motor eats up the smaller battery and you get 140 miles of range vs 180 miles, some people wouldn't care.  This whole range concept is kind of odd since no one goes to buy a Camry and asks how many miles can I drive it before it needs gas.

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31 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

Even if the 200 hp motor eats up the smaller battery and you get 140 miles of range vs 180 miles, some people wouldn't care.  This whole range concept is kind of odd since no one goes to buy a Camry and asks how many miles can I drive it before it needs gas.

True, but I have to questions the stated miles on the kWh battery pack for this auto. 186 miles on a battery pack that is 1/3 smaller than the BOLT is overestimated.  Math for that size battery means 159 miles, not 186 and I do have to question in what real world it is based on for these new testing specs.

In regards to the gas mileage statement, you are correct, people do not think to ask as they are used to finding a gas station everywhere and until chargers are everywhere, Mileage does matter.

End result is that I agree, you should be able to get either motor with either batter I think. Yet with that stated, my gut tells me that Hyundai has overstated the miles on the smaller battery pack as well as the bigger battery pack.

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Could be that the big motor just won't mesh well with the smaller battery and in most cases, people that buy the upgraded engine on a car, buy the ungraded interior trim too, so probably most people that want the 200 hp will want the big battery and the leather interior, etc.  

I can charge a car in my garage, so range I don't care about.  I'd like an EV if I had the money to get a good one.  

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Ew.  Side note:  we got our first two Konas in today, both SEL trim level, one gray, one red.  The SEL wheels and interior are completely bland and forgettable.  The Kona is like a fraternal twin of the Mazda CX-3 in size and overall impression.  I am underwhelmed with the SEL version.

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      Single electric motor providing 215 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, front-wheel drive Dual electric motors producing a total output of 389 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive Both powertrains will come standard with a 63.0-kWh battery pack, while a larger 87.0-kWh pack is optional. Nissan claims that the single electric motor paired with 87-kWh pack will achieve a max range of 300 miles - and that is based on the EPA cycle. No information was provided on recharge times.
      The Ariya will also come with Nissan's next-generation of ProPilot driver-assistance system called ProPilot 2.0. It will allow for hands-free driving in certain circumstances and can change lanes.
      Japan will be the first market to get the Ariya sometime in mid-2021. The U.S. won't see it until the end of 2021.
      Source: Nissan
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Nissan’s product transformation continues with Ariya, a 100 percent electric crossover for a new era
      The next step of Nissan’s transformation is here with an all-new EV that delivers driving excitement, confidence, comfort and connectivity; set to go on sale in U.S. in 2021 with a $40,000 starting price NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan today introduced the all-new Nissan Ariya, an electric crossover SUV that lets customers travel up to approximately 300 miles per charge (preliminary Nissan estimate for long-range 2WD model) while enjoying greater driving excitement, confidence, comfort, and connectivity.
      Its debut marks a key milestone in the Nissan NEXT transformation initiative, a four-year plan building on Nissan's reputation for innovation, craftsmanship, customer-focus and quality, alongside an ongoing cultural transformation. As the company's first all-electric crossover SUV, the Ariya embodies the company's vision to enrich people's lives.
      Representing the pinnacle of Nissan's technologies and design, the 100% electric Nissan Ariya debuted during a digital event in Yokohama. Ariya promises powerful acceleration and smooth, quiet operation and advanced driver assistance and connectivity technology– wrapped in a sophisticated yet simple exterior design with a spacious, lounge-like interior.
      CEO Makoto Uchida and Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta unveiled the Ariya to a global audience during a livestreamed event at the new Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, Japan.
      "The Ariya, a key model in Nissan's plan to roll out 10 new models in 20 months, demonstrates our commitment to meeting customer demand for crossovers with the most advanced electrified, automated and connected technologies," Gupta said. "The company expects sales of its EVs and e-POWER electrified models to be more than 1 million units a year by the end of fiscal 2023. The Ariya will play a significant role in attaining that goal."
      Nissan also aims to introduce advanced driver assistance technologies in more than 20 models in 20 markets, and to have sold more than 1.5 million vehicles equipped with these systems in that same period.
      The all-new Nissan Ariya is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in mid-2021, followed by the U.S. and Canada later in the year. U.S. pricing will start around $40,000.
      Powerful performance for a wide range of needs
      Nissan was the first automaker to introduce a mass market electric vehicle with the Nissan LEAF in 2010, which has resulted in nearly 500,000 sales to date. Building on Nissan's strength as an EV pioneer, the Ariya takes the powerful performance and capabilities of zero-emission vehicles to the heart of the electric vehicle market.
      The car's all-electric drivetrain combines excellent power delivery, charging capabilities and range. Customers can choose from multiple configurations to meet their individual needs. These include two-wheel-drive and new "e-4ORCE" all-wheel drive versions, as well as two different battery sizes. The e-4ORCE all-wheel control system balances the powerful performance with a smooth, comfortable ride and all-weather capability. The system's twin electric motors provide balanced, assured handling with sports car-level power.
      Advanced design and technology for stress-free driving
      Ariya is also the most advanced embodiment of Nissan Intelligent Mobility in a car to date.
      Drivers will feel more confident and less stressed thanks to the available, next-generation ProPILOT Assist 2.0 advanced driver assistance system that uses driver attention monitoring to enable hands-off single-lane highway operation. Ariya will also offer e-Pedal, which allows the driver to start, accelerate and decelerate using only the accelerator pedal.
      Standard across the Ariya lineup is Nissan Safety Shield® 360, a suite of six advanced active safety and driver-assist technologies. This includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and High Beam Assist. Ariya will also feature Nissan's Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and other technologies aimed at making the drive easier and more enjoyable.
      A human-machine interface lets customers use natural speech to adjust car settings. Over-the-air firmware updates keep the Ariya feeling fresh and exciting. The Ariya also includes Amazon's Alexa to help customers simplify and organize their lives.
      Ariya will also feature wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ standard to help drivers seamlessly integrate their smartphone into their vehicle experience.
      Spacious, flat-floor cabin
      The Ariya's striking looks represent Nissan's new design language, Timeless Japanese Futurism. It is characterized by a distinctive Japanese approach, conveyed in a simple yet powerfully modern way.
      Nissan's designers took advantage of the car's new EV platform, which allows for a flat floor, and its compact climate control components to give the Ariya a very spacious cabin. The lounge-like interior, featuring thin profile Zero Gravity seats, provides a welcoming and comfortable environment for driver and passengers alike.
      "Nissan was a pioneer in the world of mass-market electric vehicles a decade ago with LEAF, setting the standard for affordable, mass-market electric vehicles. We expect nothing less for the new Nissan Ariya," said Gupta. "While the driving exhilaration of its acceleration and torque levels is undeniable, the Ariya offers balanced, customer-centric technology that is perfect for everyday use."
      Nissan Ariya Key Specifications
      Passenger configuration
      2-row, 5-passenger
      Drive configuration
      Front-wheel drive or e-4ORCE all-wheel drive
      Platform
      Newly developed Alliance CMF-EV
      Powertrain
      Single (FWD) / dual (e-4ORCE AWD) electric motor, Externally Excited Synchronous Motor (EESM)
      Battery capacity
      63 kWh / 87 kWh usable (total 65 kWh / 90 kWh)
      Thermal management
      Active battery management system
      Estimated range
      Up to approximately 300 miles (preliminary Nissan estimate)
      Level 2 charging
      Up to 7.2 kW
      DC charging type
      CCS standard up to 130 kW
      Output
      160 kW – 290 kW
      Torque
      221 lb-ft – 443 lb-ft
      Wheelbase
      109.3 in.
      Overall length
      182.9 in.
      Overall width
      74.8 in.
      Overall height
      65.4 in. – 65.7 (depending on roof rack)
      Cargo volume
      16.5 cu ft (FWD)
      14.6 (e-4ORCE)
      Wheel size
      19-inch or 20-inch
      Tire size
      235/55R19 or 255/45R20
      Available interior features
      Lounge-like space created by flat, open floor and slim-profile Zero Gravity seats; large, minimalist instrument panel with integrated capacitive haptic switches; innovative center storage box with fold-out tray, adjustable center console
      Available Advanced Driver Assist (ADAS) Technology
      ProPILOT Assist 2.0 featuring hands-off highway operation with Driver Monitoring System
      Available safety technology
      Nissan Safety Shield® 360 with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking
      Model configurations
      Ariya standard and long range (FWD)
      Ariya standard range e-4ORCE and long range e-4ORCE (AWD)
      * NOTE: All specifications are as of July 2020 and are subject to homologation. Model names, features and specifications may vary by market. Subject to final validation.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The past year is one that Nissan would like to forget. Their former CEO is arrested and then escapes to Lebanon. Shareholders are angry at the new leadership. Sales have been cratering and other issues. But the automaker is trying to get itself out of the hole by launching 10 new models in the next 20 months. The next model has been revealed this week - the 2022 Ariya EV.
      A compact SUV, the Ariya certainly looks futuristic with distinctive sculpting along the side, new "shield"-style front insert, and flowing roofline. Inside, Nissan goes for a minimalist approach with little brightwork and a row of touch-capacitive controls for the climate system that disappear when the vehicle is turned off. Two 12.3-inch screens serve as the instrument cluster and infotainment system.
      There will be two electric powertrains on offer for the Ariya,
      Single electric motor providing 215 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, front-wheel drive Dual electric motors producing a total output of 389 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive Both powertrains will come standard with a 63.0-kWh battery pack, while a larger 87.0-kWh pack is optional. Nissan claims that the single electric motor paired with 87-kWh pack will achieve a max range of 300 miles - and that is based on the EPA cycle. No information was provided on recharge times.
      The Ariya will also come with Nissan's next-generation of ProPilot driver-assistance system called ProPilot 2.0. It will allow for hands-free driving in certain circumstances and can change lanes.
      Japan will be the first market to get the Ariya sometime in mid-2021. The U.S. won't see it until the end of 2021.
      Source: Nissan
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Nissan’s product transformation continues with Ariya, a 100 percent electric crossover for a new era
      The next step of Nissan’s transformation is here with an all-new EV that delivers driving excitement, confidence, comfort and connectivity; set to go on sale in U.S. in 2021 with a $40,000 starting price NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nissan today introduced the all-new Nissan Ariya, an electric crossover SUV that lets customers travel up to approximately 300 miles per charge (preliminary Nissan estimate for long-range 2WD model) while enjoying greater driving excitement, confidence, comfort, and connectivity.
      Its debut marks a key milestone in the Nissan NEXT transformation initiative, a four-year plan building on Nissan's reputation for innovation, craftsmanship, customer-focus and quality, alongside an ongoing cultural transformation. As the company's first all-electric crossover SUV, the Ariya embodies the company's vision to enrich people's lives.
      Representing the pinnacle of Nissan's technologies and design, the 100% electric Nissan Ariya debuted during a digital event in Yokohama. Ariya promises powerful acceleration and smooth, quiet operation and advanced driver assistance and connectivity technology– wrapped in a sophisticated yet simple exterior design with a spacious, lounge-like interior.
      CEO Makoto Uchida and Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta unveiled the Ariya to a global audience during a livestreamed event at the new Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, Japan.
      "The Ariya, a key model in Nissan's plan to roll out 10 new models in 20 months, demonstrates our commitment to meeting customer demand for crossovers with the most advanced electrified, automated and connected technologies," Gupta said. "The company expects sales of its EVs and e-POWER electrified models to be more than 1 million units a year by the end of fiscal 2023. The Ariya will play a significant role in attaining that goal."
      Nissan also aims to introduce advanced driver assistance technologies in more than 20 models in 20 markets, and to have sold more than 1.5 million vehicles equipped with these systems in that same period.
      The all-new Nissan Ariya is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in mid-2021, followed by the U.S. and Canada later in the year. U.S. pricing will start around $40,000.
      Powerful performance for a wide range of needs
      Nissan was the first automaker to introduce a mass market electric vehicle with the Nissan LEAF in 2010, which has resulted in nearly 500,000 sales to date. Building on Nissan's strength as an EV pioneer, the Ariya takes the powerful performance and capabilities of zero-emission vehicles to the heart of the electric vehicle market.
      The car's all-electric drivetrain combines excellent power delivery, charging capabilities and range. Customers can choose from multiple configurations to meet their individual needs. These include two-wheel-drive and new "e-4ORCE" all-wheel drive versions, as well as two different battery sizes. The e-4ORCE all-wheel control system balances the powerful performance with a smooth, comfortable ride and all-weather capability. The system's twin electric motors provide balanced, assured handling with sports car-level power.
      Advanced design and technology for stress-free driving
      Ariya is also the most advanced embodiment of Nissan Intelligent Mobility in a car to date.
      Drivers will feel more confident and less stressed thanks to the available, next-generation ProPILOT Assist 2.0 advanced driver assistance system that uses driver attention monitoring to enable hands-off single-lane highway operation. Ariya will also offer e-Pedal, which allows the driver to start, accelerate and decelerate using only the accelerator pedal.
      Standard across the Ariya lineup is Nissan Safety Shield® 360, a suite of six advanced active safety and driver-assist technologies. This includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Rear Automatic Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and High Beam Assist. Ariya will also feature Nissan's Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and other technologies aimed at making the drive easier and more enjoyable.
      A human-machine interface lets customers use natural speech to adjust car settings. Over-the-air firmware updates keep the Ariya feeling fresh and exciting. The Ariya also includes Amazon's Alexa to help customers simplify and organize their lives.
      Ariya will also feature wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ standard to help drivers seamlessly integrate their smartphone into their vehicle experience.
      Spacious, flat-floor cabin
      The Ariya's striking looks represent Nissan's new design language, Timeless Japanese Futurism. It is characterized by a distinctive Japanese approach, conveyed in a simple yet powerfully modern way.
      Nissan's designers took advantage of the car's new EV platform, which allows for a flat floor, and its compact climate control components to give the Ariya a very spacious cabin. The lounge-like interior, featuring thin profile Zero Gravity seats, provides a welcoming and comfortable environment for driver and passengers alike.
      "Nissan was a pioneer in the world of mass-market electric vehicles a decade ago with LEAF, setting the standard for affordable, mass-market electric vehicles. We expect nothing less for the new Nissan Ariya," said Gupta. "While the driving exhilaration of its acceleration and torque levels is undeniable, the Ariya offers balanced, customer-centric technology that is perfect for everyday use."
      Nissan Ariya Key Specifications
      Passenger configuration
      2-row, 5-passenger
      Drive configuration
      Front-wheel drive or e-4ORCE all-wheel drive
      Platform
      Newly developed Alliance CMF-EV
      Powertrain
      Single (FWD) / dual (e-4ORCE AWD) electric motor, Externally Excited Synchronous Motor (EESM)
      Battery capacity
      63 kWh / 87 kWh usable (total 65 kWh / 90 kWh)
      Thermal management
      Active battery management system
      Estimated range
      Up to approximately 300 miles (preliminary Nissan estimate)
      Level 2 charging
      Up to 7.2 kW
      DC charging type
      CCS standard up to 130 kW
      Output
      160 kW – 290 kW
      Torque
      221 lb-ft – 443 lb-ft
      Wheelbase
      109.3 in.
      Overall length
      182.9 in.
      Overall width
      74.8 in.
      Overall height
      65.4 in. – 65.7 (depending on roof rack)
      Cargo volume
      16.5 cu ft (FWD)
      14.6 (e-4ORCE)
      Wheel size
      19-inch or 20-inch
      Tire size
      235/55R19 or 255/45R20
      Available interior features
      Lounge-like space created by flat, open floor and slim-profile Zero Gravity seats; large, minimalist instrument panel with integrated capacitive haptic switches; innovative center storage box with fold-out tray, adjustable center console
      Available Advanced Driver Assist (ADAS) Technology
      ProPILOT Assist 2.0 featuring hands-off highway operation with Driver Monitoring System
      Available safety technology
      Nissan Safety Shield® 360 with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking
      Model configurations
      Ariya standard and long range (FWD)
      Ariya standard range e-4ORCE and long range e-4ORCE (AWD)
      * NOTE: All specifications are as of July 2020 and are subject to homologation. Model names, features and specifications may vary by market. Subject to final validation.
    • By William Maley
      Nearly two years ago, I drove the then all-new Hyundai Kona crossover at a press event. It was a unique looking vehicle that was entering the growing subcompact crossover class. Out of the three Hyundai vehicles I drove, the Kona impressed me most with its performance and value for money. But if there is something I have learned over eight years with reviewing vehicles, is that I can’t take first impressions as final. It has been a long wait, but I finally got my hands on a 2020 Kona Ultimate AWD. Let’s see if my first impression can still hold up.
      The Outer Limits (of Exterior Design)
      You may be forgiven for thinking that the Kona has just arrived in a UFO from Planet Nine due to its shape. But Hyundai knew they needed to make a splash in what is becoming a very competitive class. Designers took some influence from the Jeep Cherokee with a rounded front end and the front lights being separated into daytime lights and headlights. Another design trait is the slit that sits between the grille and hood cutline. Finishing off the look is body cladding running along the lower edge and a bright green paint color only available on the turbo engine models. It may seem like an odd mashup of ideas, but it works surprisingly well.
      A Conventional Interior
      Some will be disappointed that Hyundai didn’t continue the wacky design for the Kona’s interior. But having an interior that is user friendly will always pull ahead of interesting design. That isn’t to say Hyundai hasn’t added some special touches such as vent surrounds and seat stitching matching the exterior color. Hard plastics are used throughout, but they don’t feel hollow or cheap when you run your hand across.
      There is a fair amount of space for those sitting upfront. Comfort is ok for short trips, but I found myself wanting more thigh support on longer trips. In the back, there is a large amount of headroom for most passengers. Legroom is a different story as tall people will find their knees pressed against the front seats. Cargo space is another area where the Kona is lacking. With the rear seats up, the Kona’s cargo area measures 19.2 cubic feet - about 0.1 cubic feet more than the Toyota C-HR. Fold them down and space increases to 45.8. This trails the likes of the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Kicks, and Honda HR-V.
      The One To Still Be Beaten (Infotainment-wise)
      The Kona Ultimate comes equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen featuring Hyundai’s infotainment system. This system has consistently been one of my favorites as Hyundai nails the basics - simple interface, blazing-fast performance, and having features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. My only complaint is that the design is starting to look dated when compared to other automakers and their updated infotainment. 
      Turbo Power!
      Two powertrains are available in the Kona. SE, SEL, and SEL Plus use the 2.0L four-cylinder offering 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic. Limited and Ultimate come with the turbocharged 1.6L four producing 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front or all-wheel drive is available for either engine.
      Zippy is the word to describe the performance of the turbo engine. The Kona easily accelerates away from a stop and has no issue with passing a slower vehicle. The dual-clutch transmission seems to stumble when leaving a stop, but does get itself together at higher speeds. I also found the transmission is slow to react when your floor the throttle, taking a few milliseconds to downshift.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 1.6T with AWD are 26 City/29 Highway/27 Combined. My average for the week landed around 26.7 mpg, mostly due to cold weather during the week I had the Kona.
      Woah, This Crossover Handles
      If you wanted a subcompact crossover that handled decently, your choices were either the Mazda CX-3 or Toyota C-HR. The Kona enters the ring as the third choice, and possibly the best. On the backroads, the Kona feels quite agile and has almost no body roll. If I was to nitpick, the steering doesn’t have as much feel as you’ll find in the CX-3. But it feels noticeably better than the C-HR. Ride quality is impressive with most bumps being isolated from passengers sitting inside. Not too much wind and road noise come inside.
      Possibly the Best Subcompact Crossover At the Moment
      Hyundai has a very compelling package in the Kona. There is an excellent performance from the turbocharged engine, impressive driving dynamics, easy to use infotainment system, and a long list of standard equipment. There are some drawbacks with the small cargo area and rear legroom topping the list. If you need the space, a Honda HR-V would be my first pick. The dual-clutch transmission still needs a bit more work to iron out the hesitation issues I experienced. 
      That first impression I had still stands and moves the Kona not only being the best in the class at the moment, but also onto a very rarefied list; a vehicle I would considering buying.
      How I Would Configure A Kona: The only reason I see buying the Ultimate is for the adaptive cruise control as most of the other safety equipment such as blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, and forward collision avoidance are available on other models. So if I wanted the Turbo engine, then I would step down to the Limited at $26,100. For those who think that is a tad expensive still should consider the SEL Plus as it comes very well equipped for $23,950. You do sacrifice the turbo engine for the 2.0L four-cylinder which is fine if your planning to drive mostly around town. Add an additional $1,400 for all-wheel drive.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Kona, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Kona
      Trim: Ultimate
      Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC 16-Valve GDI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 175 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/29/27
      Curb Weight: 3,276 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $29,150
      As Tested Price: $ 30,380 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

      View full article
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