First Drive Of The 2024 Kona EV Prototype

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Hyundai gave its common Kona a facelift for 2024, and we have been a few of the first folks exterior the corporate to take one of many absolutely electrical prototypes for a spin. We sometimes drive early manufacturing builds, so 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 seemingly locked in at this level.


Hyundai introduced us out to countryside surrounding Baltimore, Maryland, to wheel round on the corporate’s new common 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 consistent with what different vehicles within the phase are doing and retains the Kona aggressive in its phase.

The outside options daring new “horizon lamps” LED mild bars throughout the entrance and rear of the automobile. These give the vehicles what is sort of a futuristic stormtrooper vibe. It actually is a putting 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 mild bar throughout the rear is flanked by a basis of Hyundai’s signature pixelated LEDs. Picture credit score: Kyle Area, CleanTechnica

Beneath the horizon lamp on the entrance and rear of the automobile, the Kona EV sports activities Hyundai’s pixelated horizon lamp as nearly a shadow of the daring line that sits increased up on the car. 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 equipment which we’re desperate to see in individual.

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

Popping the hood of the brand new 2024 Kona EV reveals what appears to be like 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 mentioned it will help AC energy output at as much as 15 amps at 125 volts.

Picture credit score: Kyle Area, CleanTechnica

It is a neat little gem that we have been advised Hyundai plans to promote as an adjunct and is only one extra of the small advantages of constructing vehicles to help vehicle-to-grid. Extra essential than a single AC outlet in a pinch, these automobiles will seemingly help vehicle-to-X, that means it is going to push energy out to no matter your life calls for, whether or not 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 Area, CleanTechnica

Stepping contained in the 2024 Kona EV, the inside felt spacious and relaxed. This was executed by optimizing the inside area with people on the middle of the design, including extra quantity to the inside, and by including noise dampening. Hyundai decreased 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.

In addition they opened up area within the middle console by transferring the shifter as much as the steering column. The brand new stalk shifter nevertheless, will not be as intuitive, as its not operated by pushing it up or down bodily, however by twisting the tip knob as if adjusting a windshield wiper or comparable perform in a conventional automobile.

It’s a blocky rectangular mechanism and takes a 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 mentioned that, count on this to be a one of many issues that individuals should be taught when driving this automobile for the primary time, which appears like an step backwards away from an intuitive person expertise.

Picture credit score: Kyle Area, 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, nevertheless, the UI nonetheless retains a few of the clunkiness related to legacy automotive OEM software program installations within the infotainment area.

We have been educated 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 may very well be or ought to be. For instance, discovering saved factors of curiosity on the map required a little bit of a serving to hand to search out. Getting conversant in the ins and outs of the system will occur over time, however homeowners must make investments a while to get used to, fairly than having or not 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 car are each lovely and straightforward to make use of.

Picture credit score: Kyle Area, CleanTechnica

Hyundai’s Head of Inside Design Kevin Kang mentioned on the occasion that Hyundai aspired to strike a greater steadiness between the bodily and the digital worlds than some EV producers who appear reluctant to place buttons of their automobiles. Hyundai approached this with intention, placing in sufficient buttons to get the job executed for important 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 straightforward 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 Area, CleanTechnica

Under the local weather controls lives a big drive mode choice dial. It’s an odd addition, as most customers seemingly gained’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 reside under the seat heater buttons.

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

Whereas the battle between the absolutely digital world and the absolutely bodily world with buttons continues, it nonetheless appears like Hyundai has room to trim out a little bit of the fats within the bodily button world with what appears 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 selection. Picture credit score: Kyle Area, CleanTechnica

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


Having pushed the interior 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 appears 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 the wheel wells when slowing, accelerating rapidly, or taking laborious turns.

Picture credit score: Kyle Area, CleanTechnica

Contained in the Kona EV, you’ve bought 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 group talked about they’d been working to optimize the steadiness of energy output within the automobile for its dimension, even lowering the general torque numbers on the brand new motor in comparison with the earlier 12 months. We requested Hyundai about this they usually shared that balancing the torque output with the pedal motion is a little bit of a problem. It undoubtedly appears like there’s a possibility to strike a extra efficiency oriented steadiness, particularly if you kick it into the Sport driving mode.

Flying by the curvy nation roads, the battery offers 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 count on from an inside combustion SUV. Physique sway from entrance to again feels prefer it might nonetheless use some tuning, with fast acceleration inflicting a noticeable raise within the nostril. Speedy braking equally causes the nostril to dip greater than we might count on in a battery-electric car.

Picture credit score: Kyle Area, 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 exterior Baltimore within the Kona EV, and we are able to’t wait to see what they do within the absolutely polished manufacturing model later this 12 months.

Slamming the brakes after fast straight line acceleration and on corners was sturdy, they usually 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 numerous welcome upgrades, together with further inside area, improved shows, much less cabin noise, and a extra appropriately tuned motor. These make the Kona EV top-of-the-line values within the area and provides potential homeowners quite a few tangible causes to go for it as an alternative of the competitors

Mixed with an already spectacular set of options at a really cheap worth level, we are able to’t wait to see what the 2024 Kona EV appears to be like like in its full manufacturing getup.

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


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