First Drive Of The 2024 Kona EV Prototype

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Hyundai gave its widespread Kona a facelift for 2024, and we had been among the first folks outdoors the corporate to take one of many absolutely electrical prototypes for a spin. We usually drive early manufacturing builds, in order that they nonetheless may tweak just a few issues earlier than its locked in for manufacturing later this 12 months, however the main options are doubtless locked in at this level.


Hyundai introduced us out to countryside surrounding Baltimore, Maryland, to wheel round on the corporate’s new widespread CUV. The brand new 2024 Kona EV is available in a brand new refined bundle with a barely longer wheelbase and totally different exterior look than its predecessor. This transfer is correct according to what different automobiles within the section are doing and retains the Kona aggressive in its section.

The outside options daring new “horizon lamps” LED gentle bars throughout the entrance and rear of the automobile. These give the automobiles what is nearly a futuristic stormtrooper vibe. It actually is a placing characteristic and I couldn’t assist however take discover of Hyundai’s vans sporting the horizon lamp accent on a go to to Seoul earlier this 12 months.

A daring gentle bar throughout the rear is flanked by a basis of Hyundai’s signature pixelated LEDs. Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

Beneath the horizon lamp on the entrance and rear of the automobile, the Kona EV sports activities Hyundai’s pixelated horizon lamp as virtually a shadow of the daring line that sits greater up on the automobile. It’s a complicated mixture that provides the Kona a bit extra subtlety than its edgier sibling, the IONIQ 5.

Paired with its large physique fashion fender flares, the brand new Kona EV feels edgier and extra futuristic than its predecessor. The fender flares are available each a extra subdued, painted trim and a contrasting gray package which we’re desirous to see in particular person.

The massive rear hatch space has a secret sub trunk compartment the place you possibly can conceal your valuables. Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

Popping the hood of the brand new 2024 Kona EV reveals what seems to be just like the plastic cowl on many combustion engines however is definitely the sealed cowl for a small entrance storage space. By default, a 110 volt wall charger for the automobile lives there. Our preview unit additionally had an adapter for the J1772 to AC plug in it. The sticker on the unit stated it could assist AC energy output at as much as 15 amps at 125 volts.

Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

This can be a neat little gem that we had been instructed Hyundai plans to promote as an adjunct and is only one extra of the small advantages of constructing automobiles to assist vehicle-to-grid. Extra necessary than a single AC outlet in a pinch, these autos will doubtless assist vehicle-to-X, which means it would push energy out to no matter your life calls for, whether or not it’s your own home, your tenting setup, your laptop computer in a pinch, or one thing else.

Hyundai’s J1772 to NEMA 5-15 AC outlet adapter is a helpful add on. Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

Stepping contained in the 2024 Kona EV, the inside felt spacious and relaxed. This was finished by optimizing the inside house with people on the middle of the design, including extra quantity to the inside, and by including noise dampening. Hyundai lowered the thickness of the entrance seats by 30% and added a noticeable curve to the again of the seat, giving rear passengers extra leg room with no compromise up entrance.

Additionally they opened up house within the middle console by shifting the shifter as much as the steering column. The brand new stalk shifter nonetheless, shouldn’t be as intuitive, as its not operated by pushing it up or down bodily, however by twisting the top knob as if adjusting a windshield wiper or related perform in a standard automobile.

It’s a blocky rectangular mechanism and takes a little bit little bit of getting used to, however is one thing I’m positive homeowners may have no downside getting used to after just a few drives. Having stated that, anticipate this to be a one of many issues that individuals have to be taught when driving this automobile for the primary time, which seems like an step backwards away from an intuitive consumer expertise.

Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

Up entrance, the brand new twin 12.3-inch excessive definition shows are attractive and the improved processors and {hardware} powering them has made them responsive and straightforward to make use of. On the software program aspect of issues, nonetheless, the UI nonetheless retains among the clunkiness related to legacy automotive OEM software program installations within the infotainment house.

We had been skilled to make use of touchscreens by our smartphones and whereas they’re getting higher and higher with each revision, Hyundai’s in-car system nonetheless isn’t as intuitive because it might be or must be. For instance, discovering saved factors of curiosity on the map required a little bit of a serving to hand to search out. Getting aware of the ins and outs of the system will occur over time, however homeowners should make investments a while to get used to, slightly than having it’s an intuitive expertise from day one.

The trade-off is minimal, as a result of when you do get used to it, the gauge cluster fashion show behind the steering wheel and the infotainment fashion show if the middle of the automobile are each stunning and straightforward to make use of.

Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

Hyundai’s Head of Inside Design Kevin Kang stated on the occasion that Hyundai aspired to strike a greater stability between the bodily and the digital worlds than some EV producers who appear reluctant to place buttons of their autos. Hyundai approached this with intention, placing in sufficient buttons to get the job finished for crucial duties, however with an equal quantity of energy in non-critical areas on the touchscreens.

This philosophy performs out within the automobile with the local weather management being simple to learn and regulate from the bodily local weather dashboard positioned within the middle console just under the middle show. It’s augmented with a handful of buttons simply above it for the infotainment system, which function shortcuts for the digital show.

Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

Beneath the local weather controls lives a big drive mode choice dial. It’s an odd addition, as most customers doubtless received’t use this after the primary week. On both aspect of the drive mode dial are seat heater choice buttons, that are a pleasant contact, as these are issues many drivers will use frequently and one thing you additionally need the passenger to have the ability to management independently with out having to ask for permission to make use of the middle show or to coach them on its use. The seats are additionally ventilated and the controls for that stay under the seat heater buttons.

In between, all of these are the heated steering wheel choice, which is definitely one thing that’s useful to have on a fast button in colder climbs, whereas the auto maintain parking digital camera and parking distance buttons don’t essentially fall into that class. The parking choice particularly, should you like issues that ought to simply mechanically come up on the show when the automobile detects parking traces or strikes into auto park mode.

Whereas the battle between the absolutely digital world and the absolutely bodily world with buttons continues, it nonetheless seems like Hyundai has room to trim out a little bit of the fats within the bodily button world with what seems like dozens of buttons and controls to be taught within the automobile on the steering wheel and past.

The entrance location of the EV charging port is a good choice. Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

Overhead, a moonroof lives dormant behind a material fashion cowl. The mixture gives the additional headroom supplied by shifting to a full glass roof with the utterly shaded driving expertise of a standard roof when it’s not wanted.  When the solar does come out, nonetheless, it’s a easy contact of a button to open each the fabric masking and the window itself for a bit of additional recent air and a while within the solar.


Having pushed the inner combustion model of the 2024 Hyundai Kona earlier within the day, switching into the EV was like floating in a dream. The brand new 2024 Kona EV does include a bit of additional noise dampening and whereas it’s noticeable within the combustion construct, it makes the EV seems like a luxurious automobile as compared.

The powertrain makes no perceivable noise, with the one exterior noise coming from the tires, which is available in by way of the wheel wells when slowing, accelerating shortly, or taking onerous turns.

Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

Contained in the Kona EV, you’ve obtained the choice of 4 driving modes, selecting between eco, regular, sport, and snow. We switched between all of them and located little or no to distinguish between them. In all modes, the acceleration is sufficient to push your head again however there may be additionally a noticeable lag within the pedal response throughout the board.

Hyundai’s staff talked about that they had been working to optimize the stability of energy output within the automobile for its dimension, even decreasing the general torque numbers on the brand new motor in comparison with the earlier 12 months. We requested Hyundai about this and so they shared that balancing the torque output with the pedal motion is a little bit of a problem. It undoubtedly seems like there’s a possibility to strike a extra efficiency oriented stability, particularly while you kick it into the Sport driving mode.

Flying by way of the curvy nation roads, the battery provides the automobile a strong really feel and helps all 4 wheels keep planted on the bottom, with much less side-to-side physique roll than you’d anticipate from an inner combustion SUV. Physique sway from entrance to again feels prefer it might nonetheless use some tuning, with speedy acceleration inflicting a noticeable elevate within the nostril. Fast braking equally causes the nostril to dip greater than we might anticipate in a battery-electric automobile.

Picture credit score: Kyle Subject, CleanTechnica

That isn’t to say the Kona EV isn’t enjoyable to drive, as a result of it undoubtedly is. Its low profile holds quick to the street due to the battery, with its electrical motor kicking in with sufficient energy and torque to maintain your pulse pounding. It was a blast ripping across the nation roads outdoors Baltimore within the Kona EV, and we will’t wait to see what they do within the absolutely polished manufacturing model later this 12 months.

Slamming the brakes after speedy straight line acceleration and on corners was sturdy, and so they kicked in with an additional little bit of fervor to supply all of the stopping energy we would have liked. It’s a compact automobile with tons of performance.


The brand new mannequin 12 months 2024 Kona EV brings with it a variety of welcome upgrades, together with further inside house, improved shows, much less cabin noise, and a extra appropriately tuned motor. These make the Kona EV among the best values within the house and provides potential homeowners quite a few tangible causes to go for it as a substitute of the competitors

Mixed with an already spectacular set of options at a really affordable value level, we will’t wait to see what the 2024 Kona EV seems to be like in its full manufacturing getup.

Disclaimer: Hyundai paid for the creator’s journey and lodging to attend this driving occasion.


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