2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Pricing Very Obviously Targets the Chevy Bolt

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
2019 hyundai kona electric pricing very obviously targets the chevy bolt

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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2 of 45 comments
  • Darex Darex on Jan 30, 2019

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

  • Arthurk45 Arthurk45 on Jan 31, 2019

    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.

  • Keith Maybe my market's different. but 4.5k whack. Plus mods like his are just donations for the next owner. I'd consider driving it as a fun but practical yet disposable work/airport car if it was priced right. Some VAG's (yep, even Audis) are capable, long lasting reliable cars despite what the haters preach. I can't lie I've done the same as this guy: I had a decently clean 4 Runner V8 with about the same miles- I put it up for sale around the same price as the lower mile examples. I heard crickets chirp until I dropped the price. Folks just don't want NYC cab miles.
  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.