By on January 29, 2019

Hyundai’s Kona Electric is gradually seeping into select dealerships across the United States, requiring the company to (finally) make a definitive statement about its price. While our time spent with the model was brief, it left a positive initial impression. Clearly targeting the likes of Chevrolet’s Bolt and Tesla’s Model 3, the Kona EV did a fine job standing its ground and injecting a fun persona into alternative-energy vehicles.

While good, we held off on declaring it a modern masterpiece until we knew how much Hyundai planned to sell it for. Too expensive and people will tune out because, despite its unique charms, it’s technically still a subcompact crossover from a budget-friendly automaker — slick electric powertrain notwithstanding. Too cheap and the company is basically throwing money out the window, as the model is unlikely to be manufactured in high volumes and the brand can fall back on the federal government’s EV tax credits to absorb some of the cost. 

In the end, Hyundai decided to split the difference. The Kona Electric starts at $37,495 (after destination) for the base SEL trim — matching the Chevy Bolt’s MSRP near enough not to seriously influence any purchasing decisions.

That nets you the Kona’s electric motor, which produces 201 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque, and the 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery from which it feeds. Estimated range is excellent at 258 miles, and standard features abound. The Kona Electric comes with keyless entry, push-button start, heated front seats, LED taillights, and a 7.0-inch center screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Hyundai also incorporated forward collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, blind-spot collision with alerts, and rear cross-traffic collision warning at no additional expense.

Stepping up into the Limited model nets you a $42,195 price tag and more equipment — including LED headlamps with high-beam assist, leather seats, a sunroof, a power adjustable front seat, wireless device charging, and an upgraded rearview mirror with HomeLink.

However, for $45,695, you can have the Ultimate trim and some pretty nice equipment. The touch screen is upsized to 8.0 inches and incorporates an Infinity Premium audio system and navigation. Front seats are now ventilated, and Hyundai chucked in a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, and a head-up display for the driver. The Ultimate also benefits from a more robust safety suite that adds pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, and more parking assistance.

While we would have liked to see Hyundai bake in a little more standard equipment in a car that costs $37,495 before the federal tax credit, we know EVs don’t play by the same rules as their internal combustion counterparts. You can’t compare the base Kona Electric with a well-equipped Ford Fusion Hybrid because almost no one cross-shops the pair. The fact that they can cross prices is largely irrelevant to interested parties.

If you want a trendy EV, you have to pay more. But, when compared to its rivals, the Kona still stands out as a pretty good value — offering decent equipment, superior range, and a little character to boot. For EV shoppers who aren’t made of money, this would absolutely be one to consider.

The 2019 Kona Electric is only available in California right now, though Hyundai said it will start sending product to “ZEV-focused states in the western and northeastern regions of the U.S. market” later this year.

[Images: Hyundai]

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45 Comments on “2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Pricing Very Obviously Targets the Chevy Bolt...”


  • avatar
    brettucks

    Is this really still ‘push button start’? I think ‘turn on switch’ would better describe it?

  • avatar
    redgolf

    I will give them credit on the nice looking interior with armrest, but here’s my take on these electrics – they are still way too expensive! I could buy 2 Buick Encores ( ice of course) for less than the price of the Limited edition alone ! another thing volume always goes out to Cali, I guess that’s where the money talks and being able to drive in the HOV lane is a big plus. here in middle Tn. Bolts are not in any dealerships to even look at let alone compare. I’ve always hated that lazy looking H emblem, I’m not knocking the Korean’s build quality by no means that’s where the Encore is manufactured and I drive one (lease) I say give me an electric for a few thousand more than an ice and I’m in!

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      The prices will come down once the automakers start running out of the federal tax credit. They are taking this opportunity to make as much as they can (or lose as little as they can) until the credits run out. Then they’ll have to price them right.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    $18,255 more than a base gas Kona. That will buy a lot of fuel and maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      But what about the children?!

      • 0 avatar
        Cactuar

        The children’s college fund will have much more cash in it if you buy the ICE Kona. The kids will be alright!

      • 0 avatar
        theBrandler

        What about them? Mine are fine.

      • 0 avatar
        JoDa

        I doubt $18,255 would buy you even one child.

      • 0 avatar
        Hogey74

        (clutching pearl necklace) Will no one think of the children!

        Lol I’m watching these V1.0 machines with interest but zero intention of buying. They make no sense financially and if I wanted to sponsor the tech, Tesla are the only people IMO who deserve my dollars.

        An Aussie car journo ran the numbers on this very car and it’s pretty clear: if you want to do something useful for the environment today, buy the ICE version and spend the difference on a good solar array and storage battery at home. Even better though, since batteries are at about the same point of being too expensive, spend that money on a bigger solar setup on your business and run the AC off it whenever the sun is shining. Every building in use during the day should be doing this by now anyway – it’s silly not to.

    • 0 avatar
      theBrandler

      Yeah seriously. In concept, electrics are great. In reality, they are overpriced and inconvenient.

    • 0 avatar
      JoDa

      …And a car that will actually function properly in -40 temps.

      We need a lot of global warming in order for EVs to function properly…Ain’t that a kick in the enviro’s heads?

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Except the base Electric is the SEL, and the EV is quicker than the 1.6T, nevermind the SEL’s anemic 2.0 (and smoother, and quieter…). Call the real difference more like $15k. At $550/year in energy savings (as per EPA), yes, you’re probably not breaking even without a tax credit, but don’t just swing for an inaccurate comparison.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Those charger podiums should include a vacuum and hoses because ample time to do a fine job.

  • avatar
    aja8888

    Nice car, too much money. The kids are fine. I’ll keep my 2002 BMW, thank you.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Does the ICE-Kona come with painted bits at a higher trim level? The vehicle looks decent without the hideous black-rubber bits around the front and rear lights and wheel arches.

  • avatar
    JoDa

    “Estimated range is excellent at 258 miles”

    Or perhaps 25.8 miles in -40 weather…And don’t even try to charge that battery below 32F.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      False claims, but funny.

      • 0 avatar
        JoDa

        What mileage does yours get at -40?
        How long does it take to charge the battery at the temp?

        You got any numbers to go with that meaningless “false Claims”?

        • 0 avatar
          vvk

          EVs keep the battery warm, so no issues. Yes, occasionally there are hiccups with battery getting too cold to fast charge but most EV owners almost never fast charge, so it is not an issue at all.

        • 0 avatar
          Lynchenstein

          My 2018 Kia EV gets around 190 km (~110 miles) in the summer and around 160 km (~100 miles) in the winter at temps around 5C (which is around 40F or so). With the free 240v home charger that came with it, I can charge from almost empty in about 5 hours at home. Fast chargers (level 3) can top it up in about 30 minutes from around 20% in my experience. This is in the summer as I don’t really do road trips in the winter, so can’t help you there.

    • 0 avatar
      forward_look

      Better than a gasser that won’t start at -25.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      My old Miata with 180k on it cranked up at -35 at Fort Drum on multiple days and it didn’t even live in a garage. And my used 5,000 dollar 2013 leaf with 48k showed 60 miles at 20 degrees this morning. You’ll be fine either way.

  • avatar
    jatz

    I once saw a beautiful ’57 Ford 2-door in that exact shade of gray primer. No clearcoat, of course.

  • avatar
    dwford

    In a flash of brilliance, I just solved the problem of renters having access to charging stations: in order to accept section 8 housing vouchers, landlords much have an EV charger for each apartment they want to accept section 8 on.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Ummm, yeah…because section 8 recipients are buying EVs. Also, as a taxpayer I’d rather not invent a new even subsidy.

    • 0 avatar
      mechimike

      This is pretty funny. An clearly written by someone who has never been a landlord.

      Most LL would go out of their way to NOT accept section 8.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        I actually am a landlord, and wisely set my rent above what section 8 will pay. The section 8 people who apply for my rental always ask for a discount down to what section 8 will pay, which is $100 less than I charge. They won’t even contribute $100/month to their housing, so no, I’m not interested in renting to them.

        My comment was a joke, obviously.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    That center console is really effed up. How about putting it level with the seats.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    The display perched on the dash looks like a cheap afterthought.

  • avatar
    JoDa

    Why don’t all you EV owners in Canada/US mid-west tell us how well your wonderful EV performed this morning. I think many would be curious.

    For all ICE users, I hope you have 0W oil in your crankcase.

  • avatar
    JoDa

    It might be wise for EV owners to pick up a 2 year off-lease Corolla LE “winter beater” for $12K so to protect your EV’s $15K lithium battery pack. With an adequate started battery and 0W oil in the engine, it will ALWAYS work in -40 temps. You will also have the added benefit of 3 minute charge times in temp range of -40 -> 140F.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      Gasoline freezes at -45. You will be so much more comfortable in an EV, with immediate heat, cabin pre-heated via the phone app and having your “tank” always full in the morning. I hate filling up my ICE car in warm weather, how much more terrible is it at -40′?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      JoDa:

      Not true. Even older Nissan Leafs are equipped with battery heaters. It’s not a problem. You can preheat the car even if it’s in an attached garage.

      Also, there are EVs operating on the surface of the moon and mars. It’s a lot colder there. Try running your combustion car at -173.

      Plenty of well-known issues with ICEs in cold temps. Lots of stories about CVT transmissions and shifting issues in the cold. 0 weight flows normally at -22, so I’m guessing you’re adding quite a few metal particles to your oil at -40 before it warms up.

      “you will also have the added benefit of 3 minute charge times in temp range of -40 -> 140F.”

      With an EV I’m always fully fueled when I get into the car. ICE’s take a lot longer than 3 minutes to charge. You have to drive to the gas station, get in line sometimes, then hope the pump is working. You also have to hope the guy parked at the pump in front of you doesn’t decide to buy scratch tickets. Then, you have to stand outside and freeze in -40 temps while you pump the gas. Then it starts clicking off and you have to slow down the pumping rate. Then, once you’re finished, you have to get back in and deal with getting out of the gas station. And that’s if you’re lucky enough not to get car-jacked or robbed late at night while you are outside of your car. Google “carjacking gas station” sometime.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        I had to put gas in the Civic yesterday when it was snowing. First I waited in line, then got to the pump and had to go inside to prepay and waited in line again, then went out to pump gas….in the snow, then went in to get change and waited in line AGAIN. Spent over 20 minutes just stopping to refuel. A colleague with a Leaf just smiles when the rest of us talk about “stopping for gas”. And he drives year-round with no problems.

        MCS, you nailed it re dodgy gas stations. I had a consulting contract in a crappy D.C. suburb where I often worked very late. The gas stations looked like fortresses so I always made sure I got to work with plenty of gas.

        Then a gig in L.A., two weeks on, two off and had to fill up before returning the rental at LAX. The preferred station had tough don’t-mess-with-me security guards to protect the customers, all under lights that would do justice to a major league stadium. About 4 blocks from the rental place and I rolled through every red light in between to avoid the “street people” waiting to vandalize the car.

        I won’t go into the gig in Camden NJ….

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          “then got to the pump and had to go inside to prepay”

          Or you could get a card of some sort and shop at a gas station that has updated their pumps since the 1990’s.

          • 0 avatar
            EGSE

            That place has the lowest prices around, it was on the way home and the owners are friends. They charge several cents extra for a credit/debit purchase. Your point is well-taken but…mea culpa…I was overcome with cheapness yesterday.

  • avatar
    darex

    I find the Nexo to be more compelling, but even more impractical in the real world.

  • avatar
    arthurk45

    Nowhere near as atractive as the Bolt. The Bolt i losing its tax credits – down to $3750 and then halved again June 1 and then gone Dec 31.The Kia and Hyundai have their full $7500 tax credit. They are selling first to state’s that extract ZEV credits.


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