The original Kona EV was appealing if you wanted a compact electric crossover, but it lost some of its appeal when the longer-ranged (and frankly more stylish) Ioniq 5 arrived on the scene. However, Hyundai just gave you a reason to consider its 'entry' model once more. After months of early peeks, the automaker has unveiled a sleeker second-generation Kona built with an electric powerplant in mind. That, in turn, promises some meaningful improvements to the performance and interior design.
The higher capacity 65.4kWh battery option now provides an estimated 304 miles of range using the WLTP testing cycle. We wouldn't be surprised if the EPA-estimated figure is more conservative, but that still hints a longer range than the 258 miles of the current model. You now get battery preconditioning to improve charging times and cold weather range, and vehicle-to-load support lets you power devices both inside and outside of the car. There's also new support for "i-Pedal" one-pedal driving. Just don't expect the speediest 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.
Regardless of what motor system is inside your vehicle, you can expect a larger "living space" with more storage (17 cubic feet in the trunk), a front trunk and plenty of in-cabin tech. An optional heads-up display sadly isn't available in North America, but you will find dual 12.3-inch screens, over-the-air software updates and NFC-based digital car key support. The driver aids are also supposedly 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 assistants for forward collision avoidance and safer highway driving.
Hyundai hasn't detailed US pricing, although it says the Kona will still be available in combustion-only and hybrid versions in addition to the EV. It should reach US 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 appealing if you want to go electric but can't justify the premium for the brand's most advanced offerings.