The 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric subcompact SUV is available in the U.S., offering a good combination of looks, features, and space. However, in this article I’m not taking you through the battery range, motor output, or any of which you can get on the Hyundai USA website.
Here are the 10 features, which to me, really sets the new Kona Electric apart. Reporting from the Los Angeles Auto Show 2023, how many of these did you already know about?
Car companies convert their gas-powered vehicle designs to EVs with stereotypical plastic covers for the grille and wheels. With the 2024 Kona EV, the company says that it designed the EV model first, giving precedence to the zero-emission variant, rather than making its design an add-on or a hasty adaptation.
Hyundai hasn’t shifted the Kona EV to the ‘exclusive’ E-GMP platform of the Ioniq 5, which I feel could have given designer more freedom with the proportions, but from the time I spent with the car at the Los Angles Auto Show, I think it looks fresh and quite cool!
Headlamps extending to the wheel arches
The headlamps and rear lamps wrap around the edges to meet the wheel arches which I think makes the 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric stand out from its Japanese competitors, and other crossover models within the Hyundai Motor Group line-up. The execution is spot on, if you ask me, endowing the vehicle with a rugged and futuristic impression.
High quality fit & finish
The manufacturing quality of the 2024 Kona EV is perhaps the best in its segment. The panel gaps, panel alignment and the paint quality are commendable for its price class.
Hyundai Digital Key 2 (NFC)
Hyundai Digital Key 2 is a smartphone-based car key. Like a key fob, it allows you to lock, unlock and start the 2024 Kona EV with a smartphone app, while placing the device in close proximity to the vehicle. It is compatible with a few Google, Apple and Samsung devices.
The key can be shared with up to 3 people through Apple Wallet and Google Wallet, and the primary user is like the admin, who controls the usage at all times. If you ask me, the biggest benefit of the Digital Key is that you’ll never misplace your keys again. You never have to worry about your keys slipping out of your pocket when out jogging or trekking to catch the sunset.
Morse code on the steering wheel
At first, I was puzzled by the four dots on the center of the steering wheel. It wasn’t until I spoke with a Hyundai expert that I learned they represent the Morse code for the letter “H.” Interestingly, this detail is exclusive to the steering wheel, and I couldn’t find it on other parts of the car. This feature is sure to spark conversations among amateur radio enthusiasts, as well as in army and navy forums!
Ventilated front seats
It’s not on every subcompact SUV today that you would find ventilated seats, but the Kona EV has them. I don’t think this is just a feature for the heck of it, put in there to distinguish it from the competition. No, I think Hyundai is listening to customers. On sultry days, especially like in Jacksonville, Houston or Orlando during peak summer, these seats certainly make a difference to those who don’t mind sacrificing a few miles of range for this feature.
And on the topic of seating, the front seats of the 2024 Hyundai Kona EV are 30 percent slimmer compared to last year’s model which has improved rear legroom. Despite the minimized shape, I didn’t feel one bit uncomfortable in them!
Shift by-wire gear selector
The new Kona Electric features a unique by-wire gear selector which is mounted on the steering column. I could see the positive effect of moving the selector out to the steering column – it enables the cabin to save space and offer a multi-use console between the seats which is practical. When I first sat in the car, I was looking around for the controls, which is perhaps the only downside to this design.
Speaker on the instrument cluster
I’ve seen some unconventional placement for car speakers including the front headrests, roof, and even the boot. But embedding one into the instrument cluster? That’s a first. The driver-facing speaker is not just for show, as the Bose audio system with its 8 speakers, has a reputation for streaming crisp quality.
It’s the little things for me, and I think this small touch makes a difference. While the car is stationary, I wouldn’t have to reach for the phone to see notifications as the stand helps store the phone upright in the console, in clear view.
Smart cargo shelf storage
I really like the way the cargo shelf has been designed on the 2024 Kona Electric. The cargo shelf can be stored in the rear seatback to improve convenience when bigger items need to go in the back. When cargo floor tray is opened and cargo shelf is stored in seatback, taller items or even bigger boxes can be stored, making the boot more practical.
This article contains contributions from a reader.